Back to basics with puppy potty training

May 27, 2020

Hislla’s search for the perfect puppy brought her to Jasper, a bouncy springer spaniel. She shares her experience of raising a puppy in a flat. Guess what happens when you take your eye off the ball with puppy potty training!

My husband and I spent years talking about getting a dog. For my husband, it would be his first experience. We were very focused on which breed to get, as we live in a flat. 

After years of research, we finally decided on a Springer Spaniel. They are smart and very active. The name was already chosen: Jasper. I always wanted to have a dog named Jasper. I saw once a movie with a guy whose name was Jasper. I simply loved the name.

Love at first sight

When we visited the breeder, I approached the litter and all the puppies were sleeping closely, trying to keep each other warm. But Jasper saw me… and he came up to say “hi”. It was mutual love at first sight!

We had to wait about a month to bring Jasper home. In the meantime, we made sure that everything was sorted: crate, blankets, toys, puppy food, bowls, chews (lots of chews!), shampoo…

Before Jasper came into our lives, we had read several books about puppies. However, the subject that I considered the most important to read about was training. 

“Do we really need to train our dog”? “Is it important?” “I mean, he can learn what to and what to not do throughout his growth, like a child can’t he?” 

Well, they can, however, the amount of problems and headaches that would come along without training is definitely not worth it. 

Our responsibility

Training requires time and patience, a lot of patience. But it is rewarding, I swear. On your first day with a puppy, there is a lot of joy and enchantment. Every single thing your puppy does is cute and generates laughs.  The joy fades away as soon as the puppy starts to chew your shoes and furniture, or poop on your favorite rug for the 2,627 time… 

Puppies don’t know what they can or cannot do. It is our responsibility to teach them. If you leave your favorite trainers in your puppy’s sight, sorry, but it is your fault. 

Despite having read books and watched videos about training, my husband and I decided that it would be helpful to have some training classes. Jasper was very agitated and it was driving us crazy. I bought all sorts of toys, I used to spend hours playing with him but nothing seemed to be enough. I was desperate. The trainer helped us to realise what we were doing right and what we were doing wrong. It was wonderful. 

Watching my dog improving his behavior was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a dog owner. But, as I said, it requires a lot of patience. Some days are good, others not that great.  It is part of the process. 

Puppy potty training

One of the most challenging things was potty training. Puppies pee and poop many, many times a day. We live in a flat. There is no garden. So, imagine our situation. 

Basically, we had to take Jasper outside every hour. After eating, after drinking water, after napping (puppies nap a lot), after playing, after this, after that… sounds crazy. It was. It was impossible to take him out every time it was required, but believe me, it is very important to keep trying to do your best. And I will tell you why.

Yep. First toilet training lesson. Chapter one. Let’s start it all over again.

There was a period where me and my husband ‘relaxed’ a bit. We were very busy and tired. It was difficult to keep track of Jasper’s toilet training. That’s until one day when we noticed that Jasper, who was 4 months old, had started to pee in the house. He had given up peeing outside, even after all the effort we had made. 

“Oh my God, what are we going to do now?” Back to the basics. “Where’s the book” “Call the trainer”. Yep. First toilet training lesson. Chapter one. Let’s start it all over again.

Coronavirus lockdown

It was quarantine. My husband was working from home, so it made things a bit easier. We managed to alternate between us the times we had to take Jasper outside. 

We fixed 70 percent of the toilet training problems in the first week. It was amazing. We were so proud of ourselves and proud of Jasper. 

It is important to have in mind that it is not your puppy’s fault. Be patient. The puppy will learn. Do not give up on him. Jasper is now 6 months old and doesn’t pee or poo in the house anymore.

Staying focused

We still have a long way to go as Jasper is still a puppy, and behaves as one. My advice is: 

  • Train your puppy. It saves a lot of time, keeps your sanity, improves your wellbeing. 
  • Make sure that you are prepared to have a puppy in your house. They are cute, lovely, funny, but they also bark, chew, pee and poop, and whine during the night. It requires time and patience. 
  • Read books, talk to trainers and dog owners. Do good research about breeds. I chose a Springer Spaniel because I wanted an active dog, to keep me active also. Do not pick a breed just because they are cute.  Also take into consideration their natural behaviour. 

A trained dog is a happy dog!

What next?

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