House Training Small Dogs Is More Than Potty Training

When you think about house training small dogs, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

For most pet owners, the answer is potty training. While this is certainly an important part of training your small dog, it is only one piece of the whole picture. House training small dogs is about teaching them how to live in harmony with the humans of their pack.

Each household will have minor differences in what is considered acceptable behavior, but the baseline expectations will be the same.

  • No peeing or pooping in the house
  • No incessant barking
  • Eating Dad’s sandwich when he’s not looking is generally not good
  • Chewing on Mum’s new leather purse is really bad
  • Chasing the other pets through the house and breaking grandma’s favorite lamp will not earn any brownie points

And the list goes on, but you get the picture. House training your small dog means instilling proper “inside” behavior, the same as you would teach your kids.

Getting An Early Start

Getting an early start on house training your small dog will yield the best results. Mother dogs start training their puppies from the moment they are born. The training we human parents provide is merely an extension of their mothers.

If you are fortunate enough to start with a puppy raised by a good breeder in conjunction with a balanced mother, much of your work will have already been done for you. That does not mean you can breathe easy and shirk your responsibilities of continuing to build on the foundation started by others.

If you are starting with a juvenile or adult dog, the process of establishing your role as pack leader is a Must. You must set boundaries and earn their trust and respect – it may just take a little longer, that’s all.

Setting Boundaries

There are likely to be areas of the home that are off-limits to your small dog. These may include the dining table or your bed. Limiting your dog’s access to certain areas of the home that you claim as yours will set boundaries and communicate your expectations. This process provides stability and structure for your dog, something that is very important to them and is a key building block for successful house training.

A Den for Your Small Dog

Providing your dog with their very own “space” is critical for their wellbeing. Wild canines seek out small sheltered areas for their dens, a place where they feel safe and secure. A dog bed or dog crate fills this primal need quite nicely. By providing your small dog with a den, you are creating a home base. If they are feeling overwhelmed or tired at any point, they will have a place of safety and security to retreat to.

As a side benefit, if the den is properly sized, it is a great potty-training tool as well, because dogs will not willingly poop in their dens.

Fundamental Training Commands

All training starts with fundamentals. By teaching your small dog the basic commands of “Sit”, “Stay”, “Come” and “Quiet” as a first priority, it will make the house training easier on both of you. These basic command’s function much like their den as they provide security for them.

By firmly ingraining these commands, you will always be able to regain their full attention in a split second. This control has saved many small dogs from severe injury and even death on many occasions.

As stated in the beginning, house training small dogs is about much more than just potty training. You are essentially teaching your pet manners; you are outlining for them the boundaries and limitations of your home and your relationship.

Done properly, this will create a pleasant atmosphere in which your pet will thrive. Pets often act out, chewing on shoes or furniture, whining and barking incessantly or even behaving aggressively when they are fearful or unsure of what to do.

Proper training will instill a feeling of security and go a long ways towards curtailing these and other behaviors. While chewing and barking can also be symptomatic of other issues, the better the training, the easier these issues will be to deal with.

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