If your puppy mistakes his potty training pad for a dog toy, you might discover it torn to pieces. Your pet companion's behavior might be his way of exploring, preventing boredom or asking for more attention. To avoid further destruction, stop him in his tracks and redirect him to appropriate activities.
Tip #1 - Tape the puppy pad to the floor with duct tape so it's harder for your puppy to move it and shred it. Alternatively, use a commercial pad holder or pads with built-in adhesive strips.
Tip #2 - Shake a can of coins or blow a whistle when you catch your puppy shredding a training pad. The noise will startle him and stop him from further destroying the pad. Show him a dog toy to redirect his attention, and praise him when he shows interest in it. Do this each time you catch your furry friend in the act. Over time he'll choose his toys over the pad just to avoid the unpleasant noise.
Tip #3 - Watch your pet companion like a hawk to prevent potty accidents. When he starts sniffing or circling profusely, he might need to go potty. Pick him up, put him on the wee-wee pad and say "go potty." When he does, lavishly reward him with praise and dog treats. Consistently doing this teaches your puppy the purpose of the training pad, and by reinforcing the good behavior with treats and praise, he'll want to repeat it.
Tip #4 - Crate your puppy if you're unable to watch him to keep him from shredding his training pad. Give your puppy a food-stuffed dog toy and place him in a crate that's just large enough for him to stand upright, lie down and turn around. Avoid crating him for long periods -- one hour for each month of age should do. Don't use a crate that's too big, because your pup might make a potty area on one end of the crate and a lounging area on the other end.
Tip #5 - Provide your puppy with daily mental and physical stimulation. This prevents boredom and makes for quality bonding time. Take your pup for walks, play games with him and let him run and tire himself out and burn energy that he might otherwise use to destroy his training pads. Provide chew toys and food-stuffed dog toys for entertainment while indoors and schedule short daily obedience training sessions for mental stimulation.
Warning - Never discipline your puppy after finding a shredded wee-wee pad, because it might worsen the bad behavior. Also, he won't understand why you're angry and has long forgotten about his destructive behavior.
By Kimberly Caines
Animal Humane Society: Destructive Behavior in Dogs
The Humane Society of the United States: Chewing: The Whys and Hows of Stopping a Gnawing Problem
The Humane Society of the United States: Housetraining Puppies
UC Davis Veterinary Medicine: Crate Training Your Puppy
ASPCA: Enriching Your Dog's Life
About the Author
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.