Eliminate problems before they begin, by removing these temptations. You can always return them when your puppy is mature enough to leave things alone. A friend once told me that the item on which a puppy wants to chew is in direct proportion to the price you paid for it.

 Take along an empty bottle when you go to pick up your puppy and ask the breeder to supply some of the water that the puppy has been accustomed to drinking. Give him this water on your way home and once there, mix it with your water for a few days. If this is not possible, you might want to get some bottled water to give him. This should help keep him from having an upset stomach from the change of water. You also want to either get a sample of the food he is used to eating from the breeder or make sure that you can get that brand. If you want to switch brands, do so gradually, mixing them together for a few days and then taper off the other food.

If your puppy is younger then sixteen weeks, his muscles have not developed enough to allow him much bladder control. Therefore, toilet training will consist of just getting him used to the area where you want him to eliminate. Right now he will move his bowels after each meal and first thing in the morning. He will wet every three or four hours. In the first few months you will spend much of your time, “taking the puppy out” and the rest of the time wishing that you had taken him out.

The first night will be traumatic for your new puppy. He is away from the only family he has known. Many experts differ on how you should treat a puppy his first night with you. Some suggest putting him into his crate with some soft towels and a stuffed toy. Place the crate as far away from your bedroom as possible. Turn off all the lights and confidently say goodnight. Monitor his crying and go to him only if his crying sounds as if he is in distress. Check on him, make sure he isn’t in trouble, speak confidently and again say “good-night”. If you rescue him at this point he will soon learn that crying get results. Avoid rough and tumble play just before bedtime and be sure to allow him time to eliminate after his last feeding. I do not suggest putting water into his sleeping quarters unless you are using the type of water bottle that fastens to the outside of the wire door, otherwise he might turn over the water-dish and have to sleep in a wet bed.

Other experts seem to say it is better to have the pup’s sleeping crate in the room with you so that you can soothe him when he cries. This might be a workable situation and preferable for the pup. If this will work for you, I still advise not rescuing him from his crate. It is amazing how quickly a puppy learns to control his people. One lady was still getting up to take her dog outside several times throughout the night, after he was well over a year old. Then once outside, he wanted to play. He had trained her very well. I suggested that the next time he wakes her up in the middle of the night to take him to his crate and leave him there the rest of the night. She did this for three consecutive nights and he was cured.

Be sure to take him to his “potty place” as soon as you awake in the morning. Do not let his feet touch the floor, but scoop him up from the crate (a puppy will try his best to avoid soiling his sleeping quarters) and take him to the appropriate place to eliminate.

House training is a learning process, which requires patience and consistency. Establish a routine from the first day your puppy arrives. Remember that since a young puppy has very little control of bladder and bowels you must anticipate his needs. Harsh discipline at any stage of housebreaking will be detrimental to the process. I have found crate training is the best method. A size 200 crate (20”W x 27”D x 19”H) is a good size and will be useable all of his life. His crate should become his den and he should be crated unless you are attending to his needs or are playing with him. Never give a puppy unsupervised run of the house until he can be trusted with housebreaking and chewing.

Your new puppy should be taken to the designated “toilet area” upon awakening, after each meal and frequently in between these times. Always take him out every time you take him from his crate and always take him to the same area. I find it useful to use a word that you want him to associate with elimination. I use “potty” but you may want to use another word that would be more acceptable in public. When he eliminates say, “Good, potty, good potty”. Praise, praise, praise and use the new word often. Sometimes dogs are reluctant to eliminate in a strange place when traveling, so if you have taught him a word that he associates with eliminating, you can give him permission to use a different toilet area. Some people use treats as a motivation for training, but I recently spoke with a lady who was using this method with her two new Scottie puppies. It was working beautifully, in fact it took only a couple of weeks for these small puppies to learn that if they go outside and come back in, they get a treat. They would go to the door, run into the yard, then turn around and come back for their treat, completely missing the point. I am sure that by now they are understanding the purpose of the outside trip.

In the case of accidents, (and there will be some), wash the affected area with a solution of soapy water mixed with a little vinegar. Do not use an ammonia based product as it will attract him to that area. Some time after six months of age your puppy should be ready to understand what is expected of him and physically able to comply. If you should witness him making an unwanted deposit, scold him and pick him up, along with the deposit, and take both him and the evidence out to the designated toilet area, place the evidence where he should eliminate, show it to him and praise him, smile and say, “Good potty”, then take them both back into the house place the deposit on the floor, frown and say “Bad boy”. Do this at least twice for each mistake. Remember this is only effective AFTER he is mature enough to understand and comply with what is expected of him. It is never acceptable to “rub his nose in it”, or any other form of harsh discipline. Your Scottie really wants to please you and will get the hang of it as soon as he can.

 If you cannot be with the puppy during the day, I suggest sectioning off a safe area and use newspaper or housebreaking pads. You can not expect a puppy or an adult dog to stay crated all day or to “hold it” that long. This practice may even be very hard on their kidneys and should never be acceptable. If you are not going to have the time to spend with him in appropriate house training, perhaps you should rethink your decision to get a puppy.

 You should schedule a visit to your vet within the first few days of having your puppy home. This will put your mind at ease about his health and get the schedule to complete his shots. You should take along a fresh stool sample to be tested for parasites. Never allow a young puppy to roam in the waiting room at the vets. After all, this is where sick dogs are. Leave the puppy in the car unless it is too hot or cold outside. Go in to register your visit, and retrieve the puppy after you have been given a room assignment. Or at least hold the puppy in your lap and try not to let him come into contact with other dogs until he has had the complete series of vaccinations. Never allow a puppy that has not completed his shots, to have access to any area where stray dogs could have been, such as a public park or roadside rest area. If you must travel with him for a great distance, take along plenty of newspapers and line the trunk of your car with them and allow him to run inside the trunk while you are stopped at a rest area. Hopefully, he will use that opportunity to go potty. If not, it is better to clean up a soiled crate than take the chance of having a very sick puppy on your hands.

 Ideally your puppy has already begun the socialization process with his breeder who has handled and loved him on a daily basis. You may also want to do some simple dominance exercises by holding the puppy up in front of your face and looking him directly in the eyes until he looks away. If he continues to stare at you, he may be challenging your authority. As soon as he looks away hold him close to you, placing your chin over the back of his neck and praise, praise, praise. The dominance-down, or alpha roll, is a good way to teach your puppy that you are in control. Begin with several times a day, as you are playing with your puppy, roll him over and gently pin him on his side. If he struggles, give a deep-throated correction, “No”, almost in a growl. This is not to be administered in an abusive or harsh way, but a gentle reminder as to who is the leader of his pack, and to establish your control over him. As soon as he relaxes, praise him and release him. As he learns to submit to your control you can taper off these exercises and discontinue them altogether by six months., when he is ready for puppy kindergarten classes.

 I believe that teaching a puppy to “sit” and “stay” are the two most helpful commands he can learn. It is never pleasant to go into a home where a dog is uncontrollable and the owners must grab at him every time the door is opened just to keep him from bolting outdoors. This is also a safety command at home. Scotties, generally, can not be trusted unsupervised in an unfenced area. So you want to teach him to sit and stay every time the door is open. This will give you more freedom to carry items in and out without fear your Scottie will run out the door.

 Begin when he is at least ten weeks old and before 16 weeks. He should already be used to a collar and lead. Put these on him and I suggest getting a treat such as small bits of cheese. Get on his level, hold one hand under his neck the other on his rear. Push him into a sitting position, all him giving the command, “sit”. Say it several times. Keep your hand under his neck to hold him in the position but use the other hand to stroke him saying, “Good sit, good sit”, several times, then plop a treat in his mouth. Anytime he raises his rear, say, “NO, sit”. Repeat this up to five times, then rest and you can repeat the process a couple of times a day. After a few days, just put your hand under his neck but don’t push him down, give him the chance to obey the command. If he does not, then gently push him into the sitting position. Repeat the process and give him a chance to obey the command the next day. Keep this up several times a day, even after he has learned it, then practice several times a week after that.

When you feel that he has mastered the “sit” command, go on to “stay”. Put him into the “sit” position with his collar and lead on. You should be standing and he should be sitting by your left foot. Hold the lead in your left hand and then with your right hand open, palm toward the dog, bring it down to almost touch his nose with the palm of your hand and say, “Stay”. As soon as he bolts up. Push him into the sitting position and say, “No, stay”. Don’t use too many words, just these command words. Maintain eye contact and hold the lead. If he gets up you have the lead to keep him near. After he has gotten the idea, keep holding the lead and take a step to your right. Continue to maintain eye contact. Go back to him and praise him by saying, “Good stay, good stay”. Give him a treat and release him with an “O.K.” Repeat this a few times a day. You should soon be able to step away and move to his front to the length of the lead. The next step is to drop the lead and be able to move all the way around him and he should stay in a seated position, maintaining eye contact, even if he has to move his head to do that. Move farther and farther away for greater lengths of time. Then go back to him and praise him and release him when the exercise time is over. The rest of his training should come through an obedience class but these simple commands could be taught early and thoroughly even if no formal classes are taken. Every time you go in or out the door, put him on “sit, stay” and he will soon get the idea that he is not to run out the door just because it is open.

You should also spend time grooming your puppy. I suggest placing him on a table or stool to brush him as this will not be confused with playtime on the floor or in your lap. The height may also lessen his activity as he is learning to be groomed. Rub his feet and toes often, look into his mouth and even brush his teeth. Not only will this give you the chance to observe any changes in feet and mouth, it will get him accustomed to being handled by the vet and the groomer.

While helping your new puppy become a well behaved member of your household remember that puppies should always receive acknowledgment for their actions. Good behavior should be rewarded by treats or by praise. The tone of your voice is more important than what you say. Undesirable behavior should also be corrected immediately. Timing is critical, since dogs associate rewards and correction with the act that is currently taking place. He can not relate to a reinforcement of an activity that has taken place prior to the reaction. Therefore it is never advisable to take a dog back to a deed done in your absence. He will never understand what you want of him. Corrections and praise should be done immediately. Remember your facial expression should match your verbal communication, smiling while you praise, scowl when you reprimand.

Young Scotties tend to be “mouthy” and may be over stimulated by excessive petting. This is somewhat normal, but it should be treated as unacceptable behavior. I personally believe that it is related to the fact that they were bred to rid barn and home of vermin, and they feel this overwhelming need to chase everything that moves, such as feet and hands. This should not be viewed as aggression but should be corrected, by scruff shakes, nose thumps or squirts from a water bottle, never by swats with your hand or newspapers. Young children should be advised of this tendency and told to never jerk their hands away. Young puppies have very sharp teeth and many injuries have been attributed to a “dog bite” when actually the puppy was behaving in a manner that is consistent to breed. Better to monitor child and puppy together until your pup is old enough to know proper behavior. Some find it advisable to yell loudly when puppy bites toes or fingers. The shout will startle him and he will learn that this is hurting you. While he was with his siblings they would cry out when play got too rough. His mother corrects with a scruff shake and a growl when a puppy bites too hard on her. This can be imitated by grabbing the loose skin on the back of his neck and gently shake as you push him to the floor. Again use the deep throated “No”, or a loud yell as you correct him. Never ever pick him up by the scruff of the neck as this can cause injury to any size dog.

When your puppy is about six months old, he will be ready for a puppy kindergarten class. By this time your puppy will be eager for a challenge and the two of you will be ready to take another step in your journey together. You will both feel proud as you progress to adult obedience class. As you gain more patience and expertise, these classes will provide you with tools with which to channel this unique dog’s determined energy and develop his unique Scotty personality. Your classes should be chosen with care, however. Look for trainers who have developed gentle techniques and never accept harsh discipline which might break your Scottie’s spirit. 

You have chosen a very unique puppy to share your home and heart. The Scottie spirit, while mischievous and beguiling, can prove to be a real challenge and he can truly live up to his nickname, “The Diehard”. Your patience and perseverance during his first year of training, will result in a beautiful, well mannered Scottie which is undoubtedly one of the most wonderful of all of God’s creations.
 The day you pick up your puppy has finally arrived. Anticipation, excitement, and maybe even some anxiety builds as the time approaches. But hopefully you have made plans and preparations well in advance and you are ready to welcome this new arrival into your home. Some say it is almost like bringing home a new baby and in many respects this is true.

This decision has been well thought out so by the time the day arrives you will know where your puppy will spend his first few days in your home. You may want to section off part of your kitchen, utility room or bathroom and line the floor with newspapers. Puppy proof this area and, in fact, all of the house where your puppy will be allowed to roam. Get down on all fours and look for exposed wires, low hanging table coverings, and expensive decorations that may be a temptation to a young pup.
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'Braveheart' © Lynn Paterson, used with permission.