Housetraining a puppy often can be frustrating, but it is even more so when you cannot put your life on hold to stay home with your puppy while he gets acquainted with his new environment and the rules of your home. However, it is certainly possible to housetrain your dog while still maintaining a normal working and social life. The key is to set up boundaries, use positive reinforcement and expect accidents from time to time.
Establish a routine for your puppy to the best of your ability, working around your work schedule. Puppies, much like babies, live by routine and do best when they have a schedule for eating and using the bathroom. Part of this schedule should be taking your puppy outside just before you leave for work and as soon as you come home.2
Take your puppy outside every two hours when you are home. By taking your puppy out often, you will decrease the chance of him eliminating where he shouldn't.3
Bring your puppy to the same spot when he uses the bathroom outdoors. This will reinforce the behavior of sniffing out the scent of urine and work as a guide for your puppy of where it can and cannot go to use the bathroom.4
Give your puppy a treat when he uses the bathroom outdoors. This will reinforce the behavior and increase the likelihood that it will continue.5
Set up baby gates in an area of your home where your puppy can stay while you are at work or out of the house.6
Lay out puppy training pads for your puppy in the cordoned off area. Depending on how long you will be gone, your puppy will need to eliminate at some point. By using the training pads, which are scented with an odor that mimics other dogs' urine, you will be reinforcing the correct behaviors the puppy would be using outdoors even while you are away.7
Expect accidents. Housetraining is a long and oftentimes frustrating task, especially when you are unable to dedicate your time to it due to work commitments. Don't fuss at your puppy or rub his nose in his mess, and don't ever spank your puppy for his wrongdoings.8
Take your puppy outside immediately if you catch it in the act of using the bathroom where it shouldn't be. Reward your puppy if it finishes outdoors.
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