Potty Training an Older Dog

When you adopt an older dog, they may or may not come housetrained. If it is the latter, it can prove some cleaning challenges for the family! It is important to potty train your pet; to minimise frustration with the owners which the dog can pick up and become stressed. It takes a bit of patience and knowledge to housebreak an older dog, but it’s worth it in the end.

Create a Schedule
Just as with training puppies, you have to establish an unwavering routine from the moment you bring them home.

  • Adult and senior dogs generally have to go to the bathroom an hour or two after eating.
  • Stick to specific feeding and bathroom times. Cell phone alarms can be a great way to remind you of your new pet’s schedule.

Consistency and Praise
Again, just like potty training with young dogs, teaching requires reliability not only in routine, but in praise.

  • Lead your dog to the same spot in the garden or bathroom every time you go outside and use the same phrase, “Go potty!” This helps your pet to link the words with an action.
  • Positive reinforcement is also a major part of this training. Whenever your dog successfully goes to the bathroom, praise them with kind words, a treat, or playtime.
  • If your pet does have an accident in the house, do not punish – this causes the animal to associate going to the bathroom with negative things. Make sure you thoroughly clean the soiled area; the smell will attract your dog, causing them to falsely recognize the space as an acceptable potty area and repeat the accident.

Watch Your Dog
In the mornings and evenings, watch for signs your pet has to go to the bathroom. If you’re not home all day, consider crate training your dog. If you have to run errands, confine the animal to a small area with a baby gate, and leave newspapers or “potty pads” down. Removing your dog’s access to their water dish two hours before bedtime can also prevent night-time accidents.

Potty training an older dog requires lots of patience, time, and attention. It can be easily accomplished, and once it’s done, it’s definitely worth it! Try not to punish your pet, as this can do more harm than good. Reward good behaviour and stick to a schedule, and you’ll have your dog trained in no time!

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This article is intended for general information purposes only and is subject to change without notice. It should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this article is made available on an “as is” basis, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, including as to accuracy, completeness or otherwise at the time of initial publication or thereafter. To the extent permitted by law, Aon disclaims any responsibility or liability to any person or organization for any loss or damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content whatsoever. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any way or by any means, including photocopying or recording, without the written permission of the copyright holder, application for which should be addressed to the copyright holder.

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