Dog potty pads are a must-have for many dog owners. Whether you want to invest in one to house train your new puppy, or you want a place for your canine companions to relieve themselves on a condo or apartment balcony without having to go outside (a great way to survive the winter), a dog potty pad can make life a lot easier.
Before you start using them at home, be sure to check out these tips for training your dog to use them, and find out which type of pad will work best for you and your pooch.
Make an Introduction
Let your dog sniff it out and get used to it. If you’re using a grass dog potty pad, it should be fairly intuitive. Dogs instinctively head for the grass to pee. Let them walk around while you repeat the same command you would use when they’re outside.
With new puppies, take them to their spot to pee frequently, i.e., every 2-3 hours. You can keep them on a leash to make sure they don’t wander off.
You should also anticipate when your dog has to go, using timing (right when they get up, or after eating, drinking, or playing) and behavior (such as sniffing the ground or even a specific look). You will soon learn how to read their signs.
Treats & Praise
As with any type of dog training, treats and praise are better than punishment. Always provide some kind of positive response when your puppy does what they’re told, whether it’s a small treat or just a cheerful “good dog.” Dogs thrive on positive responses and they will work much more effectively than punishing “bad behaviors,” especially when these are often just accidents.
Don’t Punish Accidents
If there’s an accident, don’t punish the dog, just take them quickly to the spot where they are supposed to go. Yelling “bad dog” or punishing them when they have an accident teaches them to wait until you’re not around to go – meaning surprises on the floor when you come home from work. Accidents happen; be patient with your new puppy.
Choosing a Dog Potty Pad
When it comes time to select a dog potty pad, you have a lot of options. You can take the budget route with paper towels and newspapers, but these are less reliable and harder to effectively clean up. Then there are store-bought pads. There are disposable options, but these can get expensive over time, not to mention wasteful.
In terms of reusable options, there are dog potty pads made of real grass and those made from plastic. Plastic options are a pain to clean and require some thorough scrubbing in the bathtub. Plastic will also retain urine smells over time. Grass naturally decomposes dog urine and controls odors. Make sure you get a dog potty pad with a water-resistant lining to keep your space immaculate.
The right dog potty pad will make house training easier and it can help dog owners who don’t have the luxury of a backyard.