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 "Potty" Training"

Remember that when housebreaking, repetition is necessary. Your puppy will not understand what you want unless you repeatedly show him/her the desired behavior MANY times. If you are consistent and diligent from the beginning your housebreaking and crate training will go quickly and smoothly. Keep in mind also that your puppy does not know what is expected and must be shown the proper place to eliminate, and when.  Your best potty training friend is your crate. When you cannot watch your puppy, use a crate. Think of the crate the same way you think of a playpen for a human child. Even if you are only leaving the room for a "minute," either take the puppy with you or use the crate. After all, you would not leave a toddler in the house alone "for just a minute" would you?

An easy way to avoid accidents in the night for the first couple weeks is by following this routine:

1. Set your alarm for about 3 hrs after your normal bed time. CARRY the pup outside, place him on the ground always in the same area and encourage him to eliminate. PRAISE when he does, and bring him back to the crate.
2. Set your alarm for another 3 hrs. When the alarm goes off repeat part 1.
3. After about a week of the above routine, IF it has been successful (no crate messing) then you can set the alarm for way through your sleep time.

When you arise in the morning, take the pup outside BEFORE you do anything else. Then feed the pup and crate again. Walk the pup one more time before going off to work.

Repeat the feeding, taking outside and crating at lunch time. And again at dinner time. Pups from the ages of 2 to 4 months CANNOT control their elimination for much more than 4 hours, so if you cannot return home at lunch time, try to arrange for someone to do this for you at lunch. When you are home all day take him out every 3-4 hours until you see that he can hold it longer and longer.

Feeding on a regular schedule and taking away all food and drink by 7pm will make your life easier too. Use the SAME door throughout the training period. This may seem daunting but the faster you dig in and get it over with the more peace and success you will have by a couple of weeks.

You can also train the pup to ring a bell at the same time when its potty time. On the handle of the door, tie a bell to a string, dropping it even with the height of the puppy's nose. When you bring the puppy to the door, lure the puppy to touch the bell with either it's nose or paw, (you can use a Small treat) causing the bell to ring. After the puppy rings the bell, give it the treat and say "OUTSIDE" in a happy tone of voice. Reminder: During housebreaking DO NOT allow the pup outside to eliminate alone or loose in the yard. Yes, that means in the rain, snow, whatever: YOU GO OUTSIDE ALSO. Give the puppy plenty of time don't rush. When the puppy urinates or defecates, praise the puppy with "Good " and again, give the puppy a tiny, tiny treat. Go back inside. If the puppy does not "potty" even after staying outside 15 minutes, return back inside, place the puppy back into the crate, wait 15 minutes and start again from the beginning.

If done religiously, this training process should take only about 2 weeks for the puppy to understand the basics. This method will work with any dog, regardless of age. If you adopt a dog from a shelter or a rescue program, follow the same routine. Remember, even though the dog is older or even an adult, he still does not know the rules of YOUR home, and may not have ever BEEN in a house. Be PATIENT and this method WILL work.

Finally get a newspaper, roll it up tightly and secure with a rubber band. Keep it handy. When your puppy has an accident in the house, eats your favorite shoe, or does anything else inappropriate, you take the newspaper and whack YOURSELF in the head very hard, Saying, "BAD MOMMY (or Daddy)", several times. In other words, its your fault! Watch that pup, and please crate train!
Take it slow and PATIENT....and have FUN with your dog!
Rat Terrier....anything else is just a dog.!

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