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Months after my husband, Josh, and I got married, we welcomed a new golden retriever into our family. Our little Allie Roo. Allie was one of our first “responsibilities” as a married couple and the first “little one” that was completely and utterly dependent on. . .us.
Josh traveled a lot for work, so she was the perfect companion for me in our new starter home. She went with me EVERYWHERE and our entire family knew how important she was to us. I’m convinced she didn’t know she was a dog; she acted more like a human. What I’ll never forget is the unconditional love she showed us every day of her little furry life. Allie passed away a couple years ago and it was a difficult loss. Josh and I really didn’t have the desire to bring another puppy into our family. There would never be another Allie.
And that’s true – there will never be another Allie, but that doesn’t mean there would never be another dog. The timing just needed to be right. This past February we made the decision that we were ready to welcome another puppy into our home – a puppy to maybe fill that emptiness we’d been feeling for years after Allie’s passing. We found her (an English Cream Golden). . .on the internet. . .all the way in North Carolina. Were we crazy? Yep. We went to get her and drove her all the way back to Wisconsin with only a few stops along the way. Belle (she’s a southern bell, get it?) 🙂 was ours.
When we arrived back home, we quickly learned that we were pretty rusty with the whole puppy training thing. And now, we were raising a puppy along with two small children. We had our hands full. The biggest challenge we had with Belle was potty training, and I’m betting there are other new puppy parents out there who are struggling with it, too. That’s why today I’m sharing some tips on Potty Training Your Puppy, to make things a little bit easier for you if you’re currently in the same boat we were a few months ago.
Designate “puppy-safe areas” within your home
Your new puppy shouldn’t have an all-access pass to your home. You’re just setting her up for failure. Designate a couple of areas within your home that are “puppy-safe.” Meaning, if she does have an accident, it won’t be the end of the world. Use the puppy safe areas when you’re busy doing something around the house and can’t keep a constant eye on your pup. Mudrooms or kitchens are great. Better yet, get your puppy used to a cage or a crate, especially for sleeping. Most dogs won’t eliminate in the area they sleep in. Invest in a crate that’s large enough for her to turn around in, but not so big that she can eliminate in one corner and sleep in the other.
Establish a routine and be consistent
Take your puppy out to go potty right away in the morning. No playing, no talking. Take her right to the door. Start establishing a schedule. Always take her out after meals, after play, after waking up from a nap, etc. You’re going to find yourself outside more than inside at the beginning, but it’s all part of effective training. Puppies normally should be taken out to eliminate every hour or so. If you’re not home during the day, try to get a neighbor or friend to help or look into puppy daycare in the area. Remember: things do get better. 🙂
Pick a command and stick with it
When you take your puppy outside, encourage her to eliminate with a phrase like, “Go potty.” We say, “Potty, potty.” Then, be quiet and let her do her thing. Puppies are distracted by anything and everything. Leaves, bugs, birds, etc. Your voice can also be a distraction, so just stand there quietly while she sniffs around for the perfect spot. When Belle gets distracted I’ll quietly walk around her in a circle to get her attention and then I’ll let her be until she does her business.
Make it easy for her to let you know “it’s time”
One of the challenges with Belle was that she didn’t always show signs that she had to go. No circling, no sniffing, no sitting by the door. We decided to try and “bell train” our little Belle. Fitting, right? While she’s not very elegant about the way she rings it, she does ring it and it works. How did we get her to do this? We set the bell by the door we always use to take her out. Every time we took her out to go potty, we would grab her paw and place it on the bell so it rang. We did this, over, and over, and over. After about two days, she got the hang of it.
The first time she rang it on her own, Josh and I just looked at one another in amazement. We opened the door, she went out and she did her thing. We couldn’t believe it worked. We have two bells. One that stays at home and one for travel, so when we go visiting, she always knows what to do to tell us she needs to go out. Pretty cool, right? Here’s a quick 3-second video of how Belle tells us she has to go.
Catch her in the act
If she has an accident in the house, it’s best to catch her in the act. Firmly tell her, “No,” then remove her to the place you want her to go. Stay calm, no yelling. Your firm warning may be enough to startle her and make her stop, but if it isn’t, physically pick her up and get her outside. Will she pee on you? Maybe, but you’ve just taught her an important lesson.
Leave “presents” as a reminder
If there’s a certain spot you’d like your puppy to eliminate in or you’re just wanting to provide some “inspiration,” leave her feces there from a previous visit outside and she’ll quickly remember why you took her outside when she smells it. Maybe a photo wasn’t necessary for this one, but it’s good to add a little humor into our lives every now and then. No worries, I blurred out the “doodie.”
Praise her, praise her, praise her
When she’s eliminating use your command over and over. “Potty, potty. Good girl! Potty, potty.” Then reward her immediately. I literally keep pieces of treats right in my jacket pocket. . .so do the kids. Or so I’m told by their teachers. 😉 Make this treat a special one. Something she only gets for going potty.
Let me tell you about these NEW treats I found at Walmart. Belle is completely crazy over them. They’re called Nudges® Grillers and Sizzlers. You can find them right in the Pet Care aisle.
- They have NO artificial flavors or fillers (natural ingredients).
- They are “Real food-inspired”
- They come with a real meaty texture, appearance & smell
Heck, don’t take my word for it. Let Belle show you how much she loves them!
Belle has quickly captured our hearts. While she has some similarities to Allie, the two pups are really quite different. And we’re okay with that. We find ourselves giggling at Belle’s antics each and every day, and we’re so glad we finally made the decision to bring another fur baby into our family. She is loved, she is pampered and she deserves only the very best. Good luck to you in your puppy training!
Take a trip to your local Walmart to check out Nudges® Grillers and Sizzlers for yourself. While you’re there, look for Nudges® Jerky Cuts value size (36oz) treats as well!
For more puptastic inspiration, visit #NudgeThemBack, and don’t forget to check out Nudges® website and join their community on Facebook – Visits there always make my day! Which Nudges® treat will you bring home for your fur baby?