Housebreaking Older Dogs
You have done a wonderful thing and decided to adopt an older dog. In many cases, this means that you get to skip most of the annoying behavior associated with raising a puppy.
Other times, however, the dog may have never been trained properly which means that you will now have to learn about housebreaking older dogs.
Because the history of many older dogs is unknown, you have no way of knowing if the dog was an outside dog or was ever properly trained. For this reason, it is best to just assume the dog’s training needs to start from square one.
Happily, because the dog is older, he will usually have better control than a young puppy. He will likely be able to go for longer periods between walks which will make training a bit easier.
When you first bring the dog home, you should allow him to spend some time in the yard before bringing him into the house. Let him explore and when he eliminates, praise him for doing so.
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The best way of housebreaking older dogs is by helping PREVENT any indoor accidents. This means you should get the dog on a schedule of being let outside at certain times each day.
This should include right before bed, first thing in the morning and after meal times.
Until your dog is trained, you should go outside with him. When he uses the bathroom, give him praise.
If he has accidents in the house and you do not actually catch him in the act, simply clean up the mess when the dog is not watching and do nothing else.
If you do see him going to the bathroom in the house, do not yell or act upset. The dog may not understand that you are upset at WHERE he is doing something rather than WHAT he is doing.
This may cause him to not want to use the bathroom in front of you. It likely will not stop indoor accidents, but instead he will find hidden spots in your home to do his business.
Yelling or punishing the dog will not have the desired effect. Instead, if you catch him in the act, simply let the dog outside and clean it up.
If possible, take some time to stay at home with your dog while you work on training him. This is not necessary and, of course, impossible for some. If you can be at home, it can make housebreaking older dogs a faster process.
Some pet owners have taught their dog to alert them that they need to go outside. Simply hang a bell over the door knob.
Anytime you are about to let your dog out ring the bell first. Also, show your dog that the bell is over the doorknob. The dog will soon associate the bell ringing with being let outside. Many dogs will jingle the bells anytime they want to go out.
Housebreaking older dogs is not much different than housebreaking a puppy. While an older dog may have some bad habits that he picked up at his former home, he will also usually be able to pick up on things a bit quicker than a puppy.
Just exercise patience and soon your older dog will be a wonderful, housebroken addition to your family.
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