Have puppy in the right place at the right time
The most important aspect to keep in mind when we are teaching puppy to mess in appropriate spots, is that we have to give feedback every time puppy relieves itself. We praise and offer a food treat when puppy goes where we would prefer (most likely the grass) and we gently interrupt and take him to the preferred place when he goes where we would prefer not. We need to set puppy up for success and our blood pressure for the normal range, by having him in the preferred spot at the right time.

Praise Praise Praise
Puppies usually urinate within half a minute of waking up and defecate within a couple of minutes of that. The only thing we need to do is have him in the right place at that time. When puppy relieves himself on the grass, we praise him as if he is the only living being ever to have accomplished this. All the praise together with the fact that relieving himself is rewarding in itself makes this a very positive experience for puppy. We can even put a word to the action and just to make it more fun for us teach pup to relieve himself on command - just be sure to use the same word every time. During the night or when you are not around it is best to have pup in a small area where he can sleep and eat. Crate training is the best option for this, as it is unlikely that pup will mess where he eats and sleeps. After being contained for a while we also take pup outside and stay but not play with him until he relieves himself and we do the whole praise as if he is the only living being ever to have peed or pooped on grass routine. You will make things easier for yourself and for puppy if you let puppy go to the preferred spot when he has had a nap, after eating or drinking and every hour in between.

No punishment
Remember that you need to teach your pup how you want him to behave in your household. He has no idea what you prefer - it is your responsibility to help him learn this. In the learning process it is important to refrain from physical punishment, including rubbing puppy's nose in his mess. If anything, puppy will only learn that his humans have issues with urine and faeces and that he should not mess in our presence. We want puppy to be comfortable when there are humans around - whatever they are doing at the time.

Clean properly
If, in spite of all the planning, accidents occur we clean up with material that does not contain ammonia as it will let puppy return to this spot. Cleaning up must be so good that it does not leave any smell of urine or faeces to the puppy. Bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar still work best for this. Having just gone through the process of house training a puppy, I have found that giving him as little as possible opportunity for accidents helped the most. If I do not know where puppy is, he is probably busy doing something that needs to be avoided.


Remember that you need to teach your pup how you want him to behave in your household ;-)

Coppinger, Raymond and Lorna: Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin,
Behavior, and Evolution, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2001
Donaldson, Jean: The Culture Clash, James & Kenneth, California, 1996
Eaton, Barry: "Dominance: Fact or Fiction?" Greenford, Great Britain, 2008
O'Heare, James: Dominance Theory and Dogs, DogPsych Publishing, Canada, 2003