Housetraining an adult dog is like having a puppy -- you must go back to potty-training basics. Whether your dog suddenly started soiling the house or came from a shelter or kennel and doesn't know any better, it's up to you to teach him right from wrong. Yelling at your pet companion after finding an unpleasant surprise on the floor isn't going to do the trick -- your furry friend might start fearing you, which only makes the house-training process more challenging. Instead, clean up accidents and be patient, persistent and consistent, and before you know it, your dog will be housebroken.
Consult a veterinarian if your dog suddenly starts soiling the house. A medical condition or certain medications your dog is taking might be causing him to have accidents. If your dog is of age, a veterinarian will also be able to determine whether your dog has lost his bowel and bladder control.
Supervise your dog at all times so you can stop him from having an accident. Keep him in the same room you're in or use the umbilical cord method, in which you leash him and attach the end of the leash to your belt. The moment your dog starts sniffing, circling or pacing, it might mean he needs to go potty. Bring him outside to a designated area and tell him "go potty." When he does, exaggerate the praise you give him and reward him with treats so you reinforce the good behavior.
Startle your dog when you catch him in the middle of eliminating in an inappropriate area. Clap your hands, shake a can of coins or blow a whistle to stop your pet companion in his tracks. Immediately take him outside to his potty area and say "go potty." After he finishes, reward him lavishly with hugs and treats. Use this method each time you catch him doing his business.
Clean your dog's accidents with an enzymatic cleanser so you eliminate the odors. You don't want your furry friend to still be able to smell the odors, because this might motivate him go potty in the same spot again. Avoid using cleansers with ammonia to clean accidents, because these also might motivate him to go potty in the same spot again.
Place your dog in a crate or a small room if you can't watch him. Dogs dislike soiling the area they rest in. The confinement space must be just large enough so your dog can lie down, stand upright and turn around. Avoid using a large confinement space, because otherwise your dog might use one end as a potty and the other as a resting area.
Feed and walk your dog at the same times each day. Avoid leaving his food out all day, because this makes elimination less predictable. Always walk your dog before bedtime, after waking in the morning, after playing, after eating and drinking and before and after confinement.
Items You Will Need
- Dog leash
- Dog treats
- Can of coins or whistle
- Enzymatic cleanser
- Dog crate
- The Whole Dog Journal Handbook of Dog and Puppy Care and Training; Nancy Kerns
- ASPCA: House Training Your Adult Dog
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