No dog is perfect, so if yours has the occasional accident, it's OK -- really. The trick is to be understanding, and give him the tools to minimize the mess when he can't hold it in. Absorbent and disposable, puppy pads are an ideal solution for the partially housebroken pooch. Here are some tips on how to use them successfully.
Tip #1 - Keep your dog in a manageable area inside your home, to minimize the risk of not using the pad. Ideally, the place where you teach him to use the pad is the place where the pad will always be, so choose an area where you don't mind leaving one out at all times -- directly in front of the TV may not be your ideal spot.
Tip #2 - Show your dog where the pad is, even picking him up and setting him down on top of it. Allow him to walk on it and feel the texture of the pad under his feet.
Tip #3 - Start feeding your dog on a schedule, so you can predict when he's going to have to do his business. This makes it easier for you to keep an eye on him, instead of forcing you to guess all day long about when he might be ready for action.
Tip #4 - Maintain a watchful eye on your pooch after mealtime. He could be relieving himself within 30 minutes to an hour, and if he starts to do his thing without going to the pad, you'll have to lead him there.
Tip #5 - Take your dog back to the pad when you see the telltale signs of an impending release, like sniffing and circling. If he won't follow you, pick him up and set him down on the pad. His instinct will play a role here, telling him that the pad would be a pretty decent place to do his thing. Even if you just catch him in the act, take him and set him down on the pad. He'll get the idea.
Tip #6 - Lavish your little buddy with praise every time he uses the pad successfully. If he has an accident off of the pad, don't punish him -- that never gets you anywhere with dogs. Instead, blot the accident with the pad and then put it back where it goes. Dogs love to piddle where they can detect their own scent, so thoroughly clean any accident spots and leave the piddle-blotted pad in place. Next time, your dog will be more receptive to the idea.
Tip #7 - Change out the pad after every use, once your dog has the hang of it. When he reliably uses the pad, you should go on leaving it in the same place and feeding him on a consistent schedule, but you no longer have to restrict his access to the rest of your home.
By Tom Ryan
About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.