5 Key Points For Housebreaking An Older Dog

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By Andrea

How To Potty Train An Adult Dog

A housebroken dog is a dog that can remain in the house for up to 8 hours without having an accident.

If your dog goes to the bathroom in your home more than once every few months, then you need to re-focus on housebreaking that dog.

If you have an older dog that is still having accidents, there are steps you can take to stop these bad habits and housebreak your dog.

Here are 5 important points to consider when housebreaking an older dog…

#1 – How long will it take to housebreak an older dog?

Some claim that you can housebreak a dog in 7 days.  But for an older dog that was not housebroken at an early age, it will take decidedly longer.  It can take as long as several weeks to housebreak an adult dog.

According to the Sacramento SPCA, re-housetraining an adult dog will take a few weeks.

For the first few weeks after you bring him home, you should assume your new dog isn’t house-trained and start from scratch. If he was house-trained in his previous home, the re-training process should progress quickly.

#2 – What steps should I take to housebreak an older dog?

To housetrain an older dog, you need to:

  • Establish a “potty break” routine and stick to it.  This begins with the time you get up each morning and the ends with the last trip outside for the night. Especially at first, this may not perfectly coincide with your own personal schedule.
  • Constantly supervise you dog for “signs” when he has to go outside. To succeed at housebreaking, everything that looks like a “sign” should be taken seriously (especially at first) — even if that means you’re taking your dog outside 20 times a day!
  • Confine your dog (like in a crate or a bathroom) when you cannot supervise him. Dogs are less likely to eliminate in the places where they sleep.
  • Clean any soiled areas inside the house very well to remove the smell and prevent repeat accidents. Dogs continue to go where they’ve gone before.

#3 – Can I housebreak my dog if I have a busy schedule?

If you have a very busy schedule — to the point when you are not able to housebreak a dog — you probably shouldn’t have a dog.

Everyone goes through busy times in their lives where they need to work extra hours or travel, and that is understandable.  However, if your schedule is always hectic, then you will have a very hard time getting your dog housebroken without help from a dog walker, friend, or family member.

Here are some special tips on dog training for busy people.

#4 – How do I teach my dog to go quickly and in the same spot?

A dog can be taught to go to the bathroom on cue.

Taking him to the same spot each time will make “going on cue” easier.

Be sure to use the same word (like “potty” or “go outside”) each and every time, in order to help it sink in faster. Plus, you can then use this word on-the-spot to encourage your dog that you mean business and he needs to go right now.

Here’s how to teach your dog to go on cue.

#5 – What can I do to prevent a relapse in housebreaking?

One thing’s for sure: if you are not consistent with your dog, he will go back to his old habits right away.

You must continue the housebreaking schedule way past the point of success and continue with the schedule — for the benefit of the dog and of your home.

And remember, just because your dog is housebroken does not mean that he can hold it for an unreasonable amount of time.

In addition to regular bathroom breaks throughout the day, dogs also need a long walk every day to burn off excess energy. Why? Because pent up energy can also cause a dog to eliminate in the house out of nervousness and boredom.

More Tips For Housetraining An Older Dog