20 February 2012

Housetraining puppies and kittens

Kittens are easier to housetrain than puppies. But there are ways to make both these processes easier for yurself - and your new pet.


Kittens are easier to housetrain than puppies. But there are ways to make both these processes easier for yurself - and your new pet. Let's start with the puppies.


Puppies and housetraining

Housetraining your dog can be quite a challenging task. It takes a lot of time, commitment, and most of all, patience.

However, it is very important to realise that your puppy is bound to have several 'toilet-related accidents' in your home. This could go on for weeks, and with smaller breeds, it may take even longer.

One can make it far easier to housetrain one's dog if they follow these tips:

  • Establish a regular schedule for your pet. Take your dog outside on a regular basis. Do this approximately every two hours. Most importantly, remember to always take your dog outside after they have had a nap, had some fun through play, or had their meal.
  • Remember to praise your pet when they have 'done their business' outside. Even give him a treat. This needs to be done immediately after the dog has done its duty, as it is the only way they will know what you want them to do.
  • Identify a private, suitable spot in your garden for your dog to make its mess. Lead your dog to this area on a leash, and take him for a walk after they have made their mess. If by any chance your dog has made a poo in the house, pick it up and drop it off in the area of your garden where you want them to do their business. This will help your pet to notice the area as being its toilet.
  • Keep your dog on a regular eating schedule. This will regulate the bowel and bladder movements of your pet and therefore, you'll know when to keep watch during its time of housetraining.
  • Supervise you pet as much as you possibly can when he is indoors. Look out for signs such as sniffing around the house or circling a specific area. As soon as you see these signs, take your dog outside straight away to their special spot. Praise your dog and reward him with a treat when he does a 'drop-off'.
  • When you need to leave your puppy inside for a long period, give him just enough space to sleep and play, with a separate area for his excrement. Once you notice poo or urine in the area, place it outside in the designated toilet area so your puppy can notice the smell.
  • Do not punish you pet for making its mess indoors. Rather clean it up immediately. Puppies tend to do their business in areas that smell of urine of faeces so it is vital that you clean the soiled area properly.
  • Despite the effective ways of housetraining your dog, your pet can also make a mess indoors if they are perhaps overexcited, frightened, marking their territory, or even separated or anxious. If you notice that your pet is still not house-trained after following these steps, it could also be a medical problem and you should pay a visit to your nearest veterinarian.

 - (Health24, Last updated June 2011)

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Kittens and housetraining

Generally kittens are far easier to housetrain than puppies. Most kittens are already housetrained by their mothers at the age of six weeks.

Naturally, most cats tend to bury their excrement underground, and therefore do their business outside. But for some it is necessary to have a cat properly housetrained, especially when living in an apartment. In the beginning, one should carefully note one's kitten’s toilet habits, as it can be very difficult to change them.

Follow these tips to make the most of housetraining your cat:

  • Find a good spot to place a litter box, preferably in a quiet secluded area where your kitten will not be disturbed by noise or movement. It is also a good idea to leave your kitten in one room, with the litter box as this could help your little feline become acquainted with his toilet.
  • With regards to the type of pellets to be used in your cat’s litterbox, rather opt to using plain, unscented pellets. Many cats do not like scented pellets as they familiarise themselves with their own smell. Once you have found a litter that pleases your kitten, do not change it. The recommended amount of litter is usually clearly indicated on the litter packets. If unsure, ask your vet.
  • Keep your kitten's litter box clean at all times. Scoop out all clumps and wet pellets daily and be sure to replace it with fresh litter. Regularly wash your cat's litter box with soap and water and ensure that you do not use a strong-smelling detergent.
  • Make sure the litter box is always easily accessible for your kitten. For example, it would not be ideal to have a deep litter box for a kitten, as it will struggle to get inside.
  • If you have more than one cat, it is recommended each cat have its own toilet. Cats are very reluctant to share the same litter box, as they see it as being another feline's territory.
  • If your cat uses the garden as a toilet, make sure that it is always accessible. A cat flap or an open window (cats can get through burglar bars) will do the trick. Cats can get very distresses if they are locked inside a house and have no access to their toilet.

Throughout your cat's life, it is likely to maintain the same toilet routine, if you follow the above tips. If however you notice any problems, call your veterinarian as it could be due to a medical problem. On the other hand, it could just be a bad habit that your cat has developed. If this is the case, ask a professional for advice on how to curb the problem.  (Last updated: June 2011)

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