On puppy pads and papers: Do you need 'em for housebreaking?

First-time puppy owners often receive all sorts of instructions for training their new pets. Housebreaking is usually a top topic of interest to the new pet owner, who often studies lists of recommended supplies for the task.

The puppy housebreaking list usually includes such items as:

Sorry, we beg to differ. OK. The collar and leash are essential. Training treats can be helpful too. But the rest of the list, we can do without.

Sure, it all depends on your puppy training technique.

But we’ve trained lots of puppies by setting up a predictable routine and paying attention. We’ve fed each of our pups at the same time every day, giving him or her outdoor potty breaks before and after each meal. We’ve given each puppy plenty of scheduled trips outside and let him or her out promptly when he or she has hovered by the door with that “I gotta go” look on his or her face.

And we have praised each pup clearly after each successful (shall we say) performance.

The only other critical components are a sturdy dog crate and a childproofing safety doorway gate or two. By keeping a puppy confined when unsupervised (such as overnight or for short times during the day) and by blocking off areas of the home where potty accidents (and chewing mishaps) could prove disastrous, we narrowed the margin of error.

But seriously, each pup only had a few accidents in the house before getting the picture.

The trickiest part was training the humans to stick to the schedule, giving each pup the chance to do his or her business at the appropriate times.

So we saved a bundle on puppy pads and recycled several bundles of clean, dry newspapers.

On puppy pads and papers: Do you need 'em for housebreaking?
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