Ten Tips For House Training Your Adult Dog
2. Take your dog outside on a consistent and frequent schedule. All dogs should have the opportunity to go out first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and before being confined or left alone. Fully house-trained adult dogs should have the chance to eliminate outside at least four times a day.
3. Know where your dog is at all times. Watch for early signs that she needs to eliminate so that you can anticipate and prevent accidents from happening. These signs might include pacing, whining, circling, sniffing or leaving the room. If you see any of these, take your dog outside as quickly as possible. Not all dogs learn to let their caretakers know that they need to go outside by barking or scratching at the door. Some will just pace a bit and then eliminate inside. If letting you know that she needs to go out seems to be a challenge for your dog, consider installing a dog door.
4. If you can’t watch your dog, you must confine her to a crate, put her in a small room with the door or a baby gate closed, or tie her to you with a leash that’s approximately six feet long. If you confine your dog in a crate or small room, the area needs to be just large enough for her to lie down comfortably. Dogs don’t like to soil where they sleep and rest. If the area is too large, your dog might learn to soil in one corner and rest elsewhere. Gradually, over days or weeks, give your dog more freedom. Right after she eliminates outside, give her some free time in the house (about 15 to 20 minutes to start). If all goes well, gradually increase the amount of time your dog spends out of her confinement area.
5. Accompany your dog outside and reward her whenever she eliminates outdoors with praise and treats, play or a walk. It’s best to take your dog to the same place each time you let her outside because the smell can prompt her to eliminate where she’s eliminated before. Keep in mind that some dogs tend to eliminate right when they go outside, but others need to move around and explore for a bit first.
6. If you catch your dog in the act of urinating inside the house, clap loudly, just enough to startle but not scare your dog. (Avoid yelling or punishing your dog. It’s not necessary, and if you do, she might decide that eliminating in your presence is a bad idea and start to sneak away from you to urinate in other rooms.) If startled, your dog should stop in mid-stream. Immediately and quickly lead or carry her outside. If you take your dog by the collar to run her outside, do so gently and encourage her to come with you the whole way. Allow your dog to finish eliminating outside, and then reward her with happy praise and a treat or two. If you don’t catch your dog in the act but find an accident afterward, do nothing to her. She can’t connect any kind of punishment with something she did hours or even minutes ago. If your dog seems upset or scared by your clapping, just clap a little softer the next time you catch her in the act.
7. Clean accidents with an enzymatic cleanser designed for cleaning pet urine. You can find one at most major pet stores and some grocery stores. This will minimize odors that might attract your dog back to the same spots to eliminate again.
8. If you’re unable to get your dog outside quickly enough, possibly because of mobility problems (yours or your dog’s), or if you live in a high-rise apartment, consider training your dog to eliminate on paper or in a dog litter box.
9. Do not scold your dog for eliminating indoors. Instead, if you catch her in the act, make a noise to startle her and stop her from urinating or defecating. Then immediately show your dog what you want her to do by running with her outside, waiting until she goes, and then immediately rewarding her.
10. If your dog enjoys being outside, don’t bring her inside right after she eliminates or she might learn to “hold it” so that she can stay outside longer. Wait for her to eliminate and then go for a fun walk or briefly play with her before taking her back indoors.