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In the evening when we watch TV, my 5 month old puppy goes down to the basement and relieves himself. Doesn't he understand not to mess in the house we live in?
Not just yet. It'll take some time for the puppy to realize it must keep ;the whole house clean. I generally do not trust my puppy out of sight in the house until over 1 yr old. A suggestion would be to block off the room where you and pup are. As added insurance, be sure to shut the basement door.
Many pet owners tend to give their puppy more responsibility than a dog trainer would. This is why house training is difficult for some. Limit it's responsibility until pup's age and behavior indicate it's is ready for more freedom. How old would a child be before you give it unsupervised run of the house?
I read somewhere that the best method when house breaking a puppy is to confine him to a small area when I am gone and when we sleep. I do put him in a laundry room but he cries all night.
You need to crate train your puppy. Keep the dog crate in your bedroom. This gives the puppy 6-9 hours more time with you.Crate training the pup via sleeping in the bedroom helps it bond better, be less needy and demanding of your attention. Pup is also then likely to sleep through the night uninterrupted.
Be sure that the crate is big enough for puppy to stand up turn around and lie down...but not so big as to mess at one end and sleep at the other. Use a divider or cinder block to make the space smaller.
Be sure to put puppy out for a quickie before crating it.Never use the dog crate for punishment. Avoid crating for more than 5 hours at a clip. Arrange for an at home consultation from a local dog trainer if you are having a difficult time crate training your puppy. Check with local animal professionals or dog rescue for a referral.
When does one start puppy training?
Immediately upon acquisition. It is much easier to guide a puppy into acceptable behavior than to correct unacceptable behavior later on. House training is quite easy, all it takes is being a bit proactive.
When I catch my puppy house soiling, should I scold him, tap his bottom or rub his nose in it?
None of the above. Punishing when house training will only work against you. It'll make your puppy distrustful, afraid to relieve himself in your presence outdoors or when hearing your voice. Instead interrupt the pup by picking it up and taking the puppy to the preferred doggy toilet area.