to Housetrain an Adult Dog
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it is quite easy to housetrain a puppy, things can and do go wrong if
the process is not carried out correctly. Some pet dogs reach adulthood
having not been fully housetrained. Luckily, in most cases, it is a relatively
simple matter to housetrain an adult dog and new habits can be established
fairly quickly. It does require time and patience and a dedicated owner
who is determined to succeed. How long it will take depends on:
the owner keeps to the routine
How quickly the dog learns
How old the dog is
And what experience the dog has had in the past
Reasons for not being clean in the house
There are many other reasons why a dog will go to the toilet in the house
besides not being housetrained. Some of these are:
tension in the household
Anxiety about being left alone
You have been given this leaflet because simple lack of housetraining
is the most likely cause of your dog wetting and/or messing in the house.
of lack of housetraining
Usually just a few areas in the house are used as the toilet.
The dog will return to these sites again and again. These areas are not
usually near the exit/entry points of the rooms used.
may urinate and defecate in the house. Others may urinate in the house
only and defecate outside, while others will defecate in the house but
but not always, the dog will sneak away to go to the toilet, rather than
go in front of humans. However, the dog may go to the toilet at any time,
not just when it is left alone in the house.
Before starting the new routine, carefully clean all areas your dog has
previously soiled using biological washing powder solution or a specially
formulated product from your veterinary surgeon which will remove all
traces of the smell from your house.
an adult dog, it is important that, for a few weeks, he is kept under
constant supervision so that he cannot go to the toilet in the house.
During moments when you cannot supervise him or when you go to sleep,
he needs to be confined so that he cannot get out of the bed where he
sleeps. This will ensure that whenever he goes to the toilet, he has no
alternative but to go in your presence and you can start to teach him
where you want him to go.
dogs will soil their own bed and, if confined to their bed, they are unlikely
to relieve themselves. Although it is unfair to confine them there for
long periods, this does give you a way of preventing them from soiling
the house, thereby perpetuating bad habits, at times when you need to
concentrate on other things.
need to find a suitable way to do this, either by barricading them into
their bed or tying them so they cannot move off their bed (do not use
a check chain and ensure there is no possibility of their injuring themselves
if you do this). Better still, borrow or invest in an indoor kennel or
crate. You may need to get your dog accustomed to being left in this way:
leave him there for short periods of time at first so that he accepts
it without making a noise or trying to break out, especially if you intend
to leave him in this way all night. See the Denver
Dumb Friend's Leage Crate Training article.
first wake up, last thing at night and every two hours during the day,
take your dog outside to the place in your garden that you have chosen
and let him walk up and down or run about and sniff the area (both exercise
and sniffing helps stimulate elimination.) Put any soiled newspaper or
feces in this area so that the smell will tell him where to go next time.
Stay out with him (take a coat or umbrella with you if necessary so you
are not in a hurry to get back in yourself.) Be patient and walk him up
and down for at least 5 minutes. If he starts to relieve himself, praise
quietly until he is finished, then praise him very enthusiastically and
reward him with a game or food treat.
to the garden, supervise your dog continuously when he is in the house.
By keeping him in a view at all times and being aware of what he is doing.
When you are unable to supervise him, confine him to his bed, but do not
leave him there for long periods of time.
If you see
your dog about to relieve himself indoors, say NO loudly and
take him immediately to your chosen place in the garden and praise him.
Although he has done nothing to be praised for, it is essential that he
associate going to that place with reward. You will have caught him in
time so he will still need to go. Wait until he has relaxed and praise
him well if he relieves himself.
Do not punish
your dog for any accidents that you may discover too late.
It may make you feel better but it is most unpleasant for your dog and
worst of all does not teach him anything. These accidents are now your
fault rather than his since you were not supervising him closely enough.
need to continue with the routine for at least two weeks. During this
time, your dog will then learn that he gets praised for going to the toilet
outside and, since he cannot go inside, he will develop the habit of going
outside. Throughout these first two weeks and for a while afterwards,
continue to go out with him to the garden in order to praise him, until
the training is firmly fixed in his mind.
weeks, gradually increase the time between visits to the garden. Your
dog will eventually want to relieve himself at a time other than the one
you select. At this time he will probably become more active or may wander
over to the door. Watch for a change in his behavior and take him out
quickly. Gradually, as you begin to take him out less often, and you begin
to be able to recognize the signs that mean he needs to go, you can relax
your supervision of him while he is in the house.
you will be able to watch for specific signals that indicate that he wants
to go out, such as running to the door or standing beside it whining.
Reinforce these by letting him out and he will soon be asking to go out
whenever he needs to go to the toilet.
Housetraining will happen more easily
if you keep to the same pattern of feeding and exercising each day
do at night
The easiest solution is to position your dogs bed somewhere outside
your bedroom door and confine him to it in the usual way. Leave your bedroom
door open so that if he wakes up and needs to relieve himself in the night,
you will hear him whine or bark. Get up, release him and take him outside,
following all the daytime procedures. Confine him to his bed once more
when you bring him in.
LEAVE HIM CONFINED TO HIS BED ALL NIGHT without being available to
take him out when he really needs to go. Not only would this be unkind
but also if you force him to mess in his bed, he may develop a habit of
doing this and you will have lost the chance of teaching him to be clean.
If he is
likely to bark as soon as you leave him confined to his bed at night,
either allow for this for a few nights (he will eventually learn that
barking is not rewarded and will cease to do it) or teach him to get used
to being confined to his bed more slowly during the day so he can tolerate
it at night.
do when you go out
If you are going for less than two hours, you could leave him confined
to his bed in the usual way. Ensure he has a chance to exercise and relieve
himself before doing so.
If you will
be out for two hours or longer, do not confine him. Leave him in one room
only and cover as many of the floor area as possible with a large sheet
of polythene, laying newspaper on top of this. This will not teach him
to be clean but it will make any messes easier to clean up and prevent
the house becoming soiled. Do not scold or punish if you find that your
dog has gone to the toilet on the floor when you return. It may make you
feel better, but it is unpleasant for your dog and will have no effect
on his future behavior.
knows hes done wrong!
Some owners will say, Oh, but he knows he has done wrong because
if I show him the mess he looks guilty. The dog has simply learned
that if humans are present and there is a mess on the floor, he is likely
to be told off or punished. Your dog is actually showing his submission
to you, hoping that you will obey the law of the pack and stop your aggression.
Unfortunately, a submissive posture can look like a guilty one to us and
we will often mistakenly believe that the dog knows it is doing wrong.
We then conclude that any messes in the house are done on purpose or because
the dog is too lazy to go outside and we are likely to punish more as
go when humans are around
Some dogs will have learned just one thing about housetraining
that it is wrong to go to the toilet in the house in front of their owners.
This is because they would have been scolded or punished if they were
caught in the act of relieving themselves in the house. They may then
have been put out in the garden and left there. Once outside, the puppy,
to whom being alone is very uncomfortable, would have turned its attention
to getting back inside to its owner, rather than concentrating on going
to the toilet.
puppy would have been taught that it is wrong to go in the presence of
humans but it has never learned that it is wrong to go in the house. Consequently,
the only option is to wait until its owners are not looking, or sneak
away into another room when it wants to relieve itself.
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