House Training vs. House Breaking: The Difference For Puppy Training Basics

When teaching puppy potty training to new puppy owners, some professionals use the term house training and some refer to it as house breaking. So which is it? While this can seem to be confusing, it’s really not because both terms refer to the same thing: Teaching your new puppy when and where to go to the bathroom. I prefer using the term house training because it puts a kinder, softer description to the process – and more importantly, nothing gets broken – there is no breakage.

As you start the house training process it’s important to understand what exactly your new puppy needs and doesn’t need. If your puppy could speak, here is his “need list” for you:

• Consistency and repetition
• Patience and understanding
• Food treats and your love and affection
• Your undivided attention during the entire process

And, as aptly as your new puppy communicated his needs, the following would be his list of things he does not want:

• A whack on the butt with a rolled up newspaper or anything else for that matter
• A face full of his pee or poop
• Yelling and screaming

Current trends in puppy training and puppy house training teach positive methods in house training your new puppy leaving the old training methods of verbal and physical punishment behind in the dust where they belong. Be consistent with taking your puppy out for much needed potty breaks throughout the day as needed. Provide him with lots of praise and treats for going in the designated potty area. Your undivided attention to where your puppy is and what he’s doing, while in the house will allow you to catch mistakes before they happen. This, if done consistently, will begin to set him up to succeed!

Another tool to use in house training a puppy is a crate. However, some new puppy owners think this is cruel and that their puppy will think it’s being punished. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Crate training puppies has long been known to be a great way to accelerate the house training process because puppies don’t like to soil in their den. In addition to greatly assisting in the house training process, crating your puppy also helps to protect your stuff from becoming chew toys and it helps to build puppy confidence in being alone.

Puppies often take up a favorite spot under a desk or table where they can feel safe away from the hustle and bustle of a busy household. They will take up refuge there with their back to the wall so they can keep an eye out on all things going on. Dogs have been doing this for years – creating a safe den-like place away from predators. While our little fluffy domesticated puppies don’t have to worry about predators, the instincts are still there. “Denning” is an instinct which lends to make crate training easier if you start when your new puppy first gets home.

Jim’s  Nose to Tail Puppy Training is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him because you know how to teach him.  You empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.  The result – one awesome puppy and one happy family. 

(C) Jim Burwell 2010
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2 replies
  1. Cynthia Thomas
    Cynthia Thomas says:

    Excellent article. Always good to come across positive training information and I definately agree that verbal and physical punishment methods should be “left in the dust where they belong”.

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