How to Housebreak an Adult Dog

By Maria Posted in pet housebreaking /

The challenge of housebreaking your adult dog can present a unique set of circumstances that can be very different from training a young puppy. You may have adopted an adult dog or perhaps you have moved from a country environment to the city, presenting you with the need to basically teach an old dog new tricks.

You’ll need to start by limiting your dog’s initial freedom to roam the house. It is difficult to tell how your adult dog will act in the new environment, so you’ll need to maintain strict surveillance at all times. You may consider crate training techniques to aid you, but you can also use a small or unused room to keep their space limited so they won’t be inclined to potty behind the couch. Because confinement isn’t the most exciting event, you’ll want to provide as much entertainment as possible. Chew toys or treat puzzle games, along with access to food and water will help your adult dog associate the crate with positive feelings of being safe–a location where they can learn to feel secure.

By confining your dog, you help them resist the urge to potty inside. But, you also need to be able to frequently allow them access to a potty location. Let them out on a regular schedule and take them on walks to help encourage the bonding process. When your dog does potty, be sure that you frequently associate a particular command or word to help them associate the time, place, and your affirmation with potty time. Once you’ve chosen a particular command, don’t change it because doing so can easily confuse them. For those that work long hours, the use of an indoor grass litter box will give your new dog the opportunity to potty while you’re away.

Because new adult dogs are already accustomed to some old habits, you may run into more frequent accidents, which can also be potential signs of underlying medical issues. Be prepared with appropriate cleaning supplies, such as enzyme based cleaners, that will properly remove any scent from flooring, carpeting, or even bedding. This will help eliminate any natural incentive your dog has to return to the same spot again.

Housebreaking an adult dog is a unique challenge for both of you. A new environment for them and a new friend for you will leave you wondering about more than just keeping your house clean- how do we have some fun?

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