Is housebreaking puppies in the winter significantly more difficult than at any other time of the year? Should the onset of winter make you think twice about bringing home a new puppy? In my opinion, the answer is a solid “no!” The essentials of housebreaking a new puppy remain the same. Our (my wife and I) dogs have been received housebreaking training during the winter and did just fine. In fact, they love the winter, but you, as owner, must take certain precautions due to the nature of the season.
There really is no need for concern where the winter weather is concerned. As mentioned above, the way housebreaking works does not really change. However, it is important to pay attention to the cold climate and understand that you may need to take extra care to be sure that your puppy is not at risk.
First, never turn your puppy outside by itself. That is particularly true for a very young puppy, but regardless, never leave your puppy unaccompanied. Stay outside with your pet until it ready to come inside.
The second main point to keep in mind is that puppies are much more vulnerable to cold weather than adult dogs. Because of this, the timing of when you take your puppy outside is important, and so you want to observe your dog carefully and notice when it looks as if it may need to go outside. This is important as puppies are especially sensitive to frostbite and hypothermia.
Hypothermia is a condition of too little warmth (hypo=not enough or under and thermia=heat). The puppy’s body temperature falls too low to keep it warm. If you see your puppy start to shiver, take it inside immediately and warm it up. A rule of thumb to follow is that if you are cold so is your puppy. Take it inside.
Frostbite is tissue damage to the skin due to cold. You will notice damaged skin turn pale or white. The most vulnerable areas will be the webbing between toes, the ears, and possibly the tail area.
When housebreaking your puppy, follow these basic guidelines, and you won’t go wrong:
(1)Start puppy housebreaking around 8 weeks old. (2)Establish a regular schedule. (3)Take your puppy outside when it looks like it wants to go. (4)Take the puppy outside approximately every two hours. (5)Be sure to take your puppy out not long after you have fed it. (6)Always stay outside with your puppy. (7)When weather is extreme, do not linger outside.
If you do nothing else but follow the pointers above, you and your puppy will survive a cold winter without problem. Even better, once the weather improves, your dog will continue to use its new skills as a housebroken pet.