How Do I Toilet Train An Adult Dog?

Posted on Posted in Tips & Advice

If you’ve had your pooch since puppy-hood, it’s likely that you took steps to train them at an early age. But if you’re adopting an older dog, bringing them into a new environment with new routines may mean that they need additional house training.

If your dog has been showing uncharacteristic toilet behaviours, such as soiling indoors, you may want to check with your vet that there are no underlying medical problems or behavioural issues. If this is the case, your vet will be able to guide you on specific actions to take.

If you have ruled out these options and believe your adult dog simply needs some training, read on:

1. Consistency is key

Routine is very important to a dog’s life – it helps shape their behaviour patterns. Ensure your dog’s feeding times are the same every day, and take away and food they leave in-between meals, so there is less food to ‘fuel the tank.’  During toilet training, it’s also good practice to take your dog to the same spot to eliminate, as smelling their own scent can encourage them to go.

2. Reward good behaviour

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When your dog does their business in the desired area, make sure you’re ready to reward them with praise or treats. Positive reinforcement is the key to any successful dog training, and nothing says positive reinforcement like treats. Our tube treats are perfect for training. Use your dog’s favourite flavour to encourage them, or try the Brain & Train range – with brain boosting ginkgo biloba and Coconut oil.

3. Break bad behaviour

When you catch your pooch in the act of going to the toilet inside the house, it can be tempting to shout – but this will only scare them, and likely make them hide from you when they need to go to the toilet. Instead, it can help to startle them. Try making a loud noise, like a clap – then take them outside and let them finish. Again, reward with praise / treats.  This only works at the time of the misbehaviour – as your pooch needs to associate the startle with the correction.

4. Listen to your dog

Most dogs will give clear signs when they need to go to the toilet, for instance scratching at the door, but some don’t. To prevent accidents and help with training, get to know your dog’s signs, and look out for them. Poochie Bells are a great tool for toilet training – giving your pooch a direct way to tell you they need to go. Simply hang the bells inside your house and close to the door – where they are easily accessible for your dog. Each time you take your dog to the toilet, ring the bells, and vocalise a command such as “toilet time”. With patience and consistency, your pooch will learn to ring the bell when they need to go to the toilet.

5. Eliminate the scent

No matter how consistent and vigilant you are, there are bound to be some accidents. Due to scent, dogs tend to continue going to the toilet in the same places, and you’ll need to deeply clean any soiled areas to discourage this behaviour.

These tips will get you well on the way to house training your adult dog, but if they continue going to the toilet indoors, you may want to visit your vet or a canine behavioural expert for help.