Most dogs are housebroken when they are puppies, and for good reason, it is much easier to teach them. Training an adult dog can be a challenge! While nothing like impossible, it will require more patience, time, and dedication.
There are several reasons you may find yourself housebreaking an adult dog. It could be the dog is adopted and never learned in the past, or the dog has medical issues.
If the dog is house trained and out of nowhere starts going to the toilet, there could be several explanations for this behavior.
These are either the dog is marking its territory; there is tension in the household; it is anxious about being left alone (or bored), or it is feeling bad due to medical issues. Take the dog to the veterinarian for a check-up to eliminate this possibility. You should also be aware of the process of training your dog will take time, and it all depends on:
- How quickly your dog learns to go outside
- The way you follow the routine you established
- How old your dog is
- The experience your dog has had in the past
Establish a routine
When you wake up, when you are about to sleep, and regularly during the day, take your dog out to the backyard to a spot you have chosen. You can choose several locations to make the dog comfortable to go toilet in different environments. To make the dog aware of the spot you prefer them to toilet put some feces in that spot so that it can sniff. Then let your dog walk up and down around the spot so that it can sniff the area. Walking up and down is also exercising, and it also stimulates the urge to go.
Avoid playing with the dog during this process because the dog will be distracted from what it came to do. If it wants to go back to the house without doing its business, also walk up and down to encourage them to move around and sniff the area. Patience is a virtue that you will need to exercise at this point. Stay outside until your dog does its business.
If, after a while, the dog has not yet done its business, go inside but be sure to be on the lookout for signals that it needs to toilet. While inside after 20 or so minutes, go outside with your dog and redo the above steps once again. As this is a new routine, you may find yourself going outside several times before your dog poops. With time, decrease the number of trips you make with him so that he can do it by himself. Encourage your dog to go toilet with verbal cues such as “go potty” or “go outside.”
During the night
During the evening, most dogs sleep, and therefore won't need to go to the toilet. However, this is not guaranteed for all dogs. The best solution to this problem is to put your dog in a crate and put the crate close to you as you sleep. Dog crates are very convenient because dogs are less likely to soil in the place they sleep.
This way, you will hear the dog if it makes sounds or movement as a signal for an urge to go to the toilet. Get up and take your dog outside and follow the same daytime routine. You may need to set an alarm clock.
Signs to look out for
Constantly be on the lookout for signs that your dog wants to go outside. Any sign should not be ignored. Signs to look out for include: circling, looking fidgety or sniffing the floor.
Meals for a dog in training.
Feed your dog at intervals so that the urge to go outside will also be at intervals. Do not keep a bowl of food always available to feed on any time they please. Limit their water intake in the evening so that they don’t get the urge to pee during the night. To limit their water, intake you can give them ice cubes to lick; this way, they get to take water slowly and at the same time quench their thirst.
Do’s and don’ts when potty training your dog
- Be sure to exercise your dog. Exercising your dog is good for their mental health and physical muscles
- When your dog toilets appropriately, reward him with a small treat to show appreciation for the effort they made. Make the reward a routine because in return, the dog will look forward to the treat, and therefore it will toilet appropriately
- Do not rub its nose in an accident. Do not punish your dog for toileting in the house. Punishment causes stress and will, therefore, slow the learning pace. In the act of soiling, inside take him outside to finish up. You can interrupt him gently, or else the dog will be afraid, and his confidence of toileting in front of you. And your efforts will be on the bin.
- Clean the places your dog has soiled in the house well so that he doesn’t go back to the same location. You can use a pre-wash laundry stain remover to help remove the smell
- When you are unable to be with your dog all the time, ensure that you do not leave him for more than two hours or so. You could leave him in a dog crate or locked in a room that is easy to clean if any accidents occur. In the room, you can place a newspaper so that the dog can use it as a toilet in case it needs to
In conclusion, housebreaking an adult dog can seem to be complex, but with the right procedure it is even easier than you expected; you just need to be persistent. The dog needs rewarding for going where you want it to go, and preventing it from going where you do not need it to go. Remember that dogs are friendly creatures and can learn faster than any other animal.