You know the scenario well; you expect to see your puppy having peed on their disposable pee pad since you have practiced it ever so carefully. But instead, you find a mess of either clean or dirty shreds of pee pad everywhere, resembling a chaotic nest of sorts. The floor is wet, you have a mess to clean up, and your puppy looks at you adoringly as if to ask, "What's the big deal? I was just having some fun!" Here are some ways to have this image become a distant memory and get your sweet puppy on an easier potty training path.
Stop a Puppy From Shredding a Pee Pad
Secure the pee pad
Some pee pads come with adhesive strips on the bottom to keep them secured in place. If you have ones that don't, you can tape them down to the floor yourself. Some brands of pee pads have accompanying plastic trays or holders to keep them secure and more difficult to rip apart. Keeping the pad in place is half the battle. Find the option that works best for your pup.
Try using reusable cloth pee pads. They are very absorbent and can't be shredded easily. Once your pup has used it, toss it in the washing machine and use it again and again. There are also litter boxes designed specifically for dogs. Another option is a plastic grate with a litter pan. It is designed to trap the liquid below and keep their paws dry. Synthetic or real grass mats can also be used for indoor potty training. These alternatives produce less waste and are better for the environment, which is a bonus.
If your puppy has an accident or rips apart a pee pad that they went to the bathroom on, don't punish them when you find it. Place out a new fresh pad and offer them a chance to go on this one. According to The Animal Humane Society, "no yelling, no 'bad dog' or other punishment: all that will do is teach her to poop and pee when you are not around (when it's 'safe'). Clean any soiled areas with an enzyme-based cleaner such as Nature's Miracle and follow label instructions carefully." It is important to neutralize the scent of their pee and poop, or else they may go on that spot again.
Your puppy could be bored
Boredom or a lack of mental stimulation could be the culprit. Professional dog trainer Rebecca Setler of The Housebreaking Bible states, "Of course, you should also be sure she's getting plenty of exercise and that she has other fun things to play with and chew on since the pad shredding can be the result of boredom and energy overload!" So make sure to give your puppy access to toys as well as frequent walks or runs.
Don't be bitter
Taste deterrents such as bitter apple sprays or tabasco sauce do not work for pee pads. Setler explains, "one thing you should NOT do to try to fix the problem is using an anti-chewing product like Bitter Apple on the pads. I've had a few clients who decided to try this (without checking with me first!) … of course, they didn't think about the fact that it would not only get the dog to stop chewing the pad, it would make the dog want to stay away from the pad completely." Using products like these will send your puppy mixed messages and make the process more confusing.
Pee pads for dogs
Pee pads aren't just a good fit for puppies; they can be useful for dogs as well. Older, sick, or disabled dogs may benefit from pee pads as well as dogs who live in apartments, are left alone for long periods, or can't go out due to harsh weather conditions.
You can prevent your puppy from shredding their pee pads by following a few tips and have them using it. Your pup can save the ripping and tearing for squeaky toys and stuffed animals.