There are so many lovely dogs in need of a better home that we always request our readers to adopt instead of buying from a breeder. But adopting an older dog also has its share of practical problems. One of the most common ones that we have seen is older shelter dogs, having lived outside, might not be potty trained.
Dogs need consistency and stability to create healthy habits and a good potty routine. Starting with a puppy that doesn’t know any better and is eager to learn is easier than potty training an older dog. Older dogs have bad habits built and are also a bit more resistant to changes. Not to mention, that they are also scared of a new house and new people. You’ll have to work around the bad potty routine in the older dog. It’s going to be difficult but it’s not impossible to potty train an older dog.
Containment or Crating to Potty Train an Older Dog
Dogs don’t normally mess where they sleep. Containing the dog in a smaller space like a crate or kennel can help stop it from pottying indoors overnight or in your absence. When you release the pet from the crate you’ll want to immediately take it outside to relieve itself. Building a regular routine with the older dog is important. This is one of the fastest ways to get your new dog trained. Every time, the dog does this successfully, reward it with a small treat and praise.
Timing and Routine for Potty Training an Older Dog
Smaller dogs will need more potty breaks due to the smaller bladder size. Larger dogs can hold it longer. You’ll want to walk the dog or allow it outdoors immediately after playing or eating. These are times when the activity the pet is doing can prompt the need to relieve itself.
3-4 hours is a good time frame, to begin with. If the dog messes in the house, do not scold but make sure you tell it a firm No – so that it knows that this is not to be repeated. Many people try using small catch phrases like “No Potty” if this happens. After the incident, quickly take your dog our and offer opportunity outdoors.
Here, you can use another form of your catchphrase “Yes Potty”. The dog can and will relate what you want it to do if given the proper commands with a good timing and routine. You want to the dog to expect being let out and the ability to wait for you.
Without knowing the background on the older dog it may be that it was once trained then forgotten. Rewarding the dog with praise and treats when it has done the pottying properly also helps the dog relate the desired action to the command.
Spaying and Neutering Helps Prevent Pottying Indoors
Unneutered males are more likely to mark indoors than a female that isn’t spayed. Spaying and neutering help remove the desire to urinate as an action of marking territory. Neutering your male dog will allow your pet to live with other male dogs and not have an instinct to mark. Not all female dogs are dominant but some that are will mark just the same as an unneutered male dog would. If your older dog is not neutered this may be why it seems not to be potty trained. Make sure you visit your vet to know more about the neutering/spaying options.
Dogs, even older dogs, learn best with a consistent routine. It will pick up on your actions, words and tones you say them in. Training requires patience and time. This is more for you than the dog. Do not lose your temper, the dog is not capable of as much reason as you are.
If one thing isn’t working try to find a different way to achieve the same results. In no time, your older dog will learn to potty outdoors. It’s going to take your smarts and consistency to make that happen. Potty training is a cooperation opportunity for you and your dog. Stick with the task and reap the rewards!