Potty Training an Older Dog
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    Potty Training an Older Dog

    We have 2 dogs (Labs) who just turned 3. Unfortunately, they have gotten in the habit of treating the living room as their own personal toilet. They only do this at night when we're in bed or sometimes when we're not at home. How can we break them of this habit?

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    Senior Member Bill's Avatar
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    You train older dogs the same way you treat puppies. You watch them ALL the time they are in the house and not in their crate. Keep them crated unless you are asleep or not at home. ALL other times you watch them and the instant that start to squat, you interrupt them and take them outside. You go out with them and when they do their business, praise and treat them. Never scold them or fuss in any way if they go inside. The only reason they are going inside is because they haven't yet been taught that it's wrong. If they do get away with it and you don't notice until its too late, its not their fault, its your fault for not watching closely enough.

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    Thanks for the advice, Bill. I'll have to try this and see if it works. I know it will probably take all the attention and patience I've GOT to break them of doing their business inside the house. But I need to do it.

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    Senior Member Bill's Avatar
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    It's not really that difficult, Chris. Just don't let them out of your sight while you are home. If you can't watch them they should be in their crates. This is critical. They should never have the opportunity to use bathroom in the house. Their crates should be just large enought for them to stand up in and turn around. You don't want a huge crate. They won't do anything in their crate if its small.
    Bill

    http://www.skylarzack.com/rawfeeding.htm

    Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring-it was peace. - Milan Kundera

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    That's a great idea, Bill. Both of them are members of our family, so it would break my heart to keep the crated all the time. Fortunately, they never do it in front of us. It's always during the night when we're in bed or during the day when we're at work.

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    Hi Bill,

    I was about to post a similar issue. I am looking after a friend's 8month old Miniature Dachshund for 6 months. He has a Wizdog-like toilet which he uses.... occasionally! The owner didn't have a yard as they lived in a high rise therefore this indoor toilet was the only thing they used. He seems to know what it is, and when I first brought him to my house, he seemed to know to use it. I have a 2 bedroom house with a living room and a yard. I have never owned a dog before.

    I've had him a week now, and over the last few days he seems to be going to the toilet anywhere he wants, except my bedroom. Sometimes in the dog toilet, sometimes NEXT to the dog toilet, in the living room etc etc. I initially scolded him when I caught him going in the wrong place, but then read online that's not a good idea. I now praise him if he's gone in the right place, but that is a RARE occurrence. I work 9-5 so am out the house all day. When I come home he tends to have gone to the toilet twice. I feed him before and after work and he has a water bottle day and night. If I teach him to go in the yard, that might cause problems when his owner takes him back, so I want him to use the Dog Toilet WITHOUT FAIL! Well, within reason anyway.

    "Keep them crated unless you are asleep or not at home."

    You mean keep them in a cage most of the time?! Is that when I can't watch him you mean?

    Anyway, if you can add any advice that you'v already given it would be really appreciated. Thanks so much.

    Steve.

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    Senior Member Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sutiive View Post
    I initially scolded him when I caught him going in the wrong place, but then read online that's not a good idea. I now praise him if he's gone in the right place, but that is a RARE occurrence.
    What you have inadvertantly taught him is not to potty in front of you. He is afraid of what you will do. Now you have learned about that so possibly that will straighten itself out. Whatever he does, you must praise or interrupt him (whichever is appropriate) while he is in the act. 10 seconds later is too late. He has no idea what he did to get whatever reaction he got from you.

    You have to watch him continuously. Learn to recognize behaviors that indicate he is looking for a place to potty. IMMEDIATELY take him to his potty place. When he does good, praise him profusely and give him a treat IMMEDIATELY when he finishes. When he does wrong, say or do nothing. It will only reinforce the idea that he is not to pottiy in front of you.

    You cannot give him the opportunity to fail. Anytime you are not home or asleep, he should be in a crate. Any other time he should be out but you should be watching him. Some people tether the dog to them to keep them from sneaking away and to remind you to keep your eyes on him. It shouldn't take him long to figure things out.

    "Keep them crated unless you are asleep or not at home."
    OOOOooooopppppsssss ... I typed that all wrong. Keep them crated WHEN you are asleep or not at home. So sorry.
    Bill

    http://www.skylarzack.com/rawfeeding.htm

    Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring-it was peace. - Milan Kundera

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    Thanks a million

    Bill, this is really great advice. Thank you so much. What you said about making him not want to potty in front of me makes perfect sense. It just seemed natural to tell him off, but once I read online not too, I immediately stopped. I hope I haven't make him permanently bladder shy!

    He has a free reign of the house at the moment but I will take your advice and crate him. I searched crate online though and they were all very small cages. Is it really OK to have him in a cage 8 hours a day and all night? I have a fence type think, can I pen him in to a smaller area at night? Something like that? If I am understanding correctly, the idea is to have in small enough confines that he will not potty there and wait until he has more space to do it, when I am around to stop him and take him somewhere appropriate or praise him when done in the right place.

    I'd like to try a small pen first and see how that works out, unless I am misinterpreting this crate word. This is what a google seatch yields - http://www.trenigens.com.au/images/crate.jpg Is it really OK for him to be in here 8 hours a day and 8 hours a night? I guess it's just a temporary measure until he learns when and where to go right? Ah, so many questions haha.

    Once again this advice is invaluable to a novice dog owner. Very much appreciated!

    Steve.

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    I'm a new pet owner and also struggling with potty training. Also, I have a toddler in the house which makes it even more difficult to manage both (dog and baby) at the same time!

    I guess I'd have to be more patient when it comes to toilet training for dogs. My dog is also a bit old already, he's 2 yrs old and not quite a good potty training was given by my sister who used to own him. I agree, the dogs should be crated when you cannot watch over them if toilet training is still in process.

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    When we first got Lucy she had been shut up in a shed with other dogs for long periods of time, and she was badly neglected so her toilet training had been far from perfect. From the very first day I took her outside often so that she could 'go' and I gave her lots of praise when she did as I wanted. We has one or two accidents, but she got the idea very quickly. It was certainly worth the time and effort in those first days.



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