Many people believe that it is very difficult to potty train an older dog, and this is simply not true. With the proper method, patience, and consistency, you can teach an older dog to relieve itself properly in a very short amount of time. Potty training is an essential building block of pet care, so let’s take a look at how you should house break an older dog.
Your dog’s training should begin as soon as you get home, before you even walk in the house. Immediately take your dog out back, to the place where you prefer it to go to the bathroom. Let the dog sniff around and get acquainted with its new environment. With any luck, your dog will use the bathroom and you are already off to a good start. If you have given it some time and your dog has still not gone, don’t force the issue – your do may not have to go at that time.
Bring your older dog in the house, and let them sniff around a bit. After you feel they have a general idea of their surroundings, bring them into their sleeping area. Try not to excite your dog too much by keeping them with you at all times. This is a very stressful process for your dog (especially since they are older), it is best to give them some time to adjust.
The sleeping area should be smaller and confined to start out with, such as a closet you can seal off (without shutting the door), or even a crate. Make sure that your dog has some bedding. It also helps if they have a toy, blanket, or something familiar to them. Dogs will instinctively not relieve themselves in their sleeping area, and you want to reinforce this. It easy to train your dog to go to the bathroom outside, rather than teaching them not to go in the house.
The first few days, you should bring your dog outside every couple of hours to let them go. Try one simple command such as “Go out!” to help them identify what you want them to do. Every time they go, be sure to praise them immediately, then bring them back in the house. It is especially important to take your dog out when you first wake up, immediately after meals, and right before bed. It will not be long before they begin to understand the idea. Remember, they are trying to please you, so work with them instead of against them.
Accidents are going to happen in the beginning, so make sure you are mentally prepared to deal with them. If your dog does go to the bathroom in the house, immediately bring them outside. There is no need to scold them, because they are not going to understand what you are disciplining for. Positive reinforcement is key. Before your dog comes back in the house, clean the affected area thoroughly, with an odor eliminator. A dog’s sense of smell is far greater than a humans, and if they sense their own excrement, they may be inclined to do it again.