"The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." ~ Samuel Johnson.
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Samuel Johnson, one of England's best-known literary figures, gives some great advice here when it comes to potty training your Lhasa: what you want to do - if you want to be successful with minimal pain and effort - is start training early and be consistent. Experts recommend these following steps:
First: you'll want to catch and correct any physical problems or medical complications that could negatively affect not only potty training but also training in general. Possible physical problems that can negatively affect house training are intestinal upset, intestinal parasites, and urinary tract infections. Ideally, see your vet before you bring your puppy home for the first time.
Second: no matter what training method you use, realize and accept that your puppy will have accidents - plan ahead for them (i.e., appropriate cleaning products, removing expensive rugs, etc.). The reason puppies have accidents is that they have tiny bladders and bowels and undeveloped control. When accidents happen, do NOT punish or reprimand your puppy because an accident will most likely result from lack of time and attention on your part, e.g., not seeing that your puppy has to go.
Third: create a practical schedule and plan you and your puppy can follow, and commit to not letting your puppy feed freely until it is house broken, which (if you start early and you're consistent) should only take about a week or two. Note: during this time, realize that you are its mother and this is your baby, and it is going to be a full time job for that week or two. If possible, take time off from work, i.e., bite the bullet, do it, and then you're done.
Fourth: because the Lhasa Apso is an intelligent dog, "crate training" is one of the most effective ways to potty train an Apso. Basically, "crate training" is predicated on the dog's natural "denning instinct" which means that the dog will naturally not soil the place (it's den) where it eats, sleeps, and plays. Instead, it will go outside of the den to relieve itself. By creating a "den" in the form of a crate (either plastic or wire and large enough for your Lhasa Apso to stand and stretch out) your Apso will learn to wait until they are taken outside before soiling in the crate. Follow these specific steps:
Bring your Apso to the crate, and place a small treat inside the crate. Praise your Apso for going into the crate to get the treat. Keep the door open and let the puppy come out when they are ready. When your Apso goes into the crate, say "Crate" or "Den" to create an association between your praise, the act, and the word. Don't praise them for coming out, however. Keep that neutral.
After your puppy or dog is used to being in the crate for a few minutes, put a chew toy in with your Apso to keep them inside longer. Over repeated trials, slowly and gradually increasing your distance away from the crate with the door closed. Watch for signs that your puppy is ready to come out, and then let it out.
The idea is to feed the puppy in the crate, and then in about 10-15 minutes take the puppy out of the crate and to the designated toilet area. Make sure it's always the same area. Do not play or interact with the puppy during this time. If the puppy isn't ready to go, return it to the crate for an additional five minutes. Keep this up until the puppy goes to the bathroom.
You should only need to do this during its normal feeding time, and only for one to two weeks. A lot of work? Yes. However, once you're done, the habit is set, and you've built a great foundation for further training. Congratulations!
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