Problems house training an adult dog? Is your pooch driving you crazy because he refuses to go outside to potty? Let’s talk about potty training your adolescent or adult dog.
One of the biggest reasons dogs end up in rescue centers is because they’re not housebroken. Pet owners do not always understand the behaviors of their dog or how their own interactions affect the success or failure of their canine friend.
UNDERSTANDING WHY YOUR DOG IS NOT POTTY TRAINED
House training an adult dog is possible if we go back to the basics. First, let’s try to understand why Rover is not potty trained. Did you adopt or rescue Rover as an adult dog? If this is the case, Rover may not yet be acclimated and secure in his new environment. It will be important to limit his territory until he understands where he may eliminate – more on that later.
It’s also possible that Rover has never been potty trained or consistently trained. What’s important here is that we are patient and consistent in our training. Understanding and praise are two key elements in house training an adult dog.
Rover may be potty trained but may eliminate spontaneously or may be a leg-lifter who is marking territory. He may urinate when greeting you or when he experiences fear (i.e. someone has yells at him). Spontaneous urinating is a sign of submissiveness and can be controlled by making your dog feel secure. (Learn more about these two dog potty problems.)
Before we discuss the basics of house training an adult dog, I would like to mention one more possible reason why Rover is struggling with housetraining. He may have a physical problem, especially if he is a senior dog. If Rover has been house broken in the past, you see a change in his elimination patterns, or if you’re consistent in potty training without success, please seek the help of your veterinarian.
THE BASICS: HOUSETRAINING AN ADULT DOG
Have you tried any of these common methods used for housetraining a puppy?
- Paper Training a Dog
- Dog Litter Box
- Grass Box
- Piddle Pads
- Crate Training
Your best choice for house training an adult dog is to use a crate. If you’ve previously paper trained your dog, now is the time to pick up all the papers. Clean the area well with a cleaning agent designed to clean up canine urine and feces.
Leaving the papers down or a previous scent, gives your dog permission to potty inside. Don’t send him mixed signals. House training an adult dog is easy if you keep him focused.
(Hint: Most household cleaners have an ammonia base which has a similar smell as urine to your dog. Opt for the specialized cleansers.)
The basics of potty training a dog are simple.
- Use a Potty Word
- Stay Consistent
You will use a crate as a training aid to confine your dog to his sleeping area and encourage him to eliminate only when you’ve taken him to the predetermined area where it’s ok.
Using a crate will help you anticipate when your dog has to relieve himself and make house training an adult dog much easier.
Only feed your dog twice per day while you are house training him. He needs to relieve himself after eating. Limit snacks to small training tidbits, and remove his water after dinner to keep his bladder from getting too full in the middle of the night.
When your dog is fully potty trained, you may leave food and water down throughout the day. While he’s in training, these steps will help you anticipate when he needs to go out and will help prevent “accidents.”
When it’s time to take your dog to the potty area, take him out of the crate, put a leash on him and immediately walk him outside to his potty area. You must do this on a regular schedule at least four times a day. Take him out first thing in the morning, in the afternoon, right after dinner, and before he goes to bed.
When you take your dog to the potty area, give him a cue word such as “go potty,” especially when he starts to sniff around the area. Then, when he starts relieving himself, praise him! It’s important to praise your dog while you’re observing the behavior.
Make sure you take your dog outside, keep him on a leash, and stay with him. You want to observe the behavior and praise appropriate behavior in a timely manner. This will also help him stay focused on the reason you went outside in the first place.
After Rover is finished, bring him inside and give him freedom outside of the crate to roam around. Keep him within eyesight at all times when he is not in the crate until he is fully potty trained.
If he did not relieve himself, put him back into his crate. You can take him out again in a few minutes and repeat the process.
It’s really that simple! Stay consistent. You’ll be amazed at how soon he’ll catch on.