I just adopted an adult dog. He’s not house trained. How can I prevent accidents in the house?
Most adult dogs are as easy as puppies to housetrain—sometimes even easier and faster! They respond to the same methods as puppies. Crate training is a great tool and constant supervision is necessary. When you’re out of the room, the dog should be in its crate. This eliminates the opportunity for the dog to sneak off to another room to do its business while you’re not looking. If you’re doing chores around the house, tie a leash around your waist and attach your dog. This will occupy your dog’s mind and, as a side benefit, help teach it how to walk properly on a leash.
Anytime you let your dog out of its crate, you should immediately take it outside. Don’t stay inside yourself—it’s important that you make sure your dog does its toileting outside. Without supervision, your dog may well save the puddle for inside. When your dog toilets where it’s supposed to, be generous with the praise. Throw a big party! Offer a favourite treat, a belly scratch and definitely verbal acknowledgement of a job well done. Praise and positive reinforcement are extremely effective tools in dog training.
If your dog does not go to the toilet outside, put it straight back into its crate. Take him outside again in 10 minutes and repeat this process until he goes to the bathroom. It may seem unfair or cruel, but your dog needs this consistency to learn.
If you catch your dog going to the washroom inside, yelling or “rubbing his nose in it” will not help. Simply interrupt the process and take the dog outside immediately. If you discover the pile or puddle after the fact, punishment won’t help—your dog won’t understand why you’re angry. But if you’re keeping him in his crate or under your supervision during this training period, accidents should be minimal.
No matter what your dog’s age, housebreaking is possible—it just may take some patience and effort on your part. Consistency is the key to success!