There’s lots of help and suggestions out there for potty training puppies…but what do you do when you bring home a new OLDER dog? Well, it’s pretty similar!
One of the best things you can do, is crate train your dog. Dogs are naturally a “den animal”. This means they enjoy curling up in dark, cozy spaces. Most dogs will easily take to crate training when done correctly. Using a crate will limit your dog’s chances to potty in the house, chew television cords, or get into any other unwanted trouble. Dogs generally will not potty where they sleep, even older dogs. Using a crate (or another very small space) when you can’t keep an eye on your dog will help them learn that they can be inside the house and hold their pees and poos.
Set a Schedule
Dogs thrive on routine. Try to feed your dog at the same time every morning and afternoon, and take them potty directly after. You should also set regular potty times throughout the day. When you first bring a new dog home, do so on a Friday or a long weekend when you will have plenty of time to help them adjust to their new schedule and surroundings.
Most adult dog still need to go outside to relieve themselves 4 to 6 times a day. When you are first starting out, take them potty at least 6 times a day. Be sure to take them to the same “potty station” every time. This will help them learn when and where to go potty.
Make sure the treats and praise come right after he finishes eliminating, and make the praise enthusiastic and the food treat top-notch. You want to make it crystal clear that eliminating outside is a great thing. Don’t wait to get back to the house to give him the treat; he won’t connect the reward with what prompted it.
Startle; Don’t Scare
If you catch your dog potting inside, clap your hands or call their name to startle them into stopping, but don’t SCARE them, or they may start to hide from you! Try to get them outside as quickly as possible, and clean up with a cleaner designed to eliminate pet odors.
You should never punish your dog for pottying inside the house. If you see it after the fact, they will not know why they are getting punished. If you harshly punish them while they are in the act, it is very likely they will begin to be afraid of going potty in front of you…even outside! This can lead to them hiding when they potty inside, and not going potty on leash.
Make sure to take your dog out for fun walks that are separate from potty walks. If every time your dog potties, you end the walk and come inside, they may begin to hold their pee or poo as long as they can so the fun continues.