How to Make Progress in Puppy Training

How to Make Progress in Puppy Training

January 27, 2017

Our puppy has been with us for a couple weeks now. Some things are going better than others, although at this moment I can’t think of one positive thing. He quickly figured out that I will put his food bowl down once he sits, but then he attacks the food like he has never eaten before. So I’ve been just leaving a full bowl of food down and that way he doesn’t eat so fast. He’s chewing on anything and everything that he can get into his mouth. Already we’ve had to buy a new remote control and my dining room chairs are all gnawed up. My husband just got home from the pet store with a selection of toys for him, so I’m hoping that this will fix that problem. As far as potty training… he’s not getting that at all. We let him out into the fenced back yard and he comes in and almost immediately goes into the family room and pees and or poops on our new carpet. I scold him with the newspaper and yell at him, but it’s not sinking in. This seems hopeless. We need HELP!

Puppy training is a lot of work. It’s like having a toddler in the house. Here are some basics that will help you manage your pup, setting him up for success while he learns the household rules.

  • Remember that crate that you bought at the pet store? You need to use it more. Crates are a great way to housetrain your puppy. Sized correctly, a crate will discourage elimination. If it’s too large, your puppy will eliminate at one end and sleep at the other end. The crate should be one and a half times the length of your pup and tall enough to allow him to stand up. The other thing that the crate will help with is keeping your property safe. I hear from clients all the time that they don’t want to overuse the crate, so they will give their puppy unearned freedom. The puppy ends up making a mistake and then nobody’s happy. Your pup must earn the right to be free in the house. Do not give him too much freedom.
  • Steps to house training. 1) Your puppy is outside with you, so that you can make sure he’s eliminating. Reward success. 2) Your puppy is inside in his crate which discourages elimination. 3) Your puppy is inside and someone is watching his every move so that he does not have the opportunity to make a mistake. Take your puppy out frequently especially after waking up, eating, drinking, playing. Once he’s gone a couple weeks accident-free, then give him a little more freedom. Also do not yell at your puppy for a mistake. This makes you unpredictable and then your puppy is not going to want to eliminate in front of you.
  • Free feeding is not the best way to feed your dog, both from a leadership perspective and for health reasons. If you know when the food goes in it’s easier to predict when it’s going to come out. So feed two to three meals a day. Leave the food down for 20-30 minutes and then pick up what’s left. Also if your puppy is having a lot of urinary mistakes then monitor the water intake. The rule of thumb is one cup for every ten pounds of weight, per day.
  • Puppies and dogs love to chew. The secret is to provide and teach your puppy the appropriate items to chew on. Management is key. Make it easy for your puppy to choose the correct items to put in his mouth by “puppy proofing” your house. Use your crate at times when no one can watch your puppy. This sets him up for success. Make sure that you provide some good items to chew on. Stuffed toys are not chew toys, they’re play toys. Beef marrow bones, antlers, nylabones, a good quality rawhide such as Wholesome Hides Rawhides, or bully sticks are some chew items that your puppy might enjoy. These items also provide mental stimulation and keep your puppy busy.



  1. Alex on August 1, 2022 at 5:28 am

    Great by all means and a very informative blog. I’ve learned something new today, keep up the good work!

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    • Anita Dungey on August 3, 2022 at 12:51 pm

      Thanks! We’ve had both rescues and puppies, each with their own sets of challenges as they adjust to our family – and we adjust to them! It is helpful – especially when things seem “helpless” – to remember the basics of puppy training.

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