With more and more people choosing to adopt a rescued dog rather than a new puppy, you may find yourself with a wonderful older dog, who is in need of housebreaking.
House training an older dog can be both more challenging and simpler than house training a puppy.
Depending on the dog in question, house training could be just a matter of his relearning good habits he once had or it could mean acquiring training he had never received at all.
While house training an older dog is not without challenges, it is well worth your time to accomplish the goal.
Start with the basics
Starting with the basics is the first step in house training an older dog. As soon as you bring your new pet home take him to the area you want him to eliminate in. Stay there with him for, however, long it takes him to explore the area and go to the bathroom. Once he has praised him for the good job he did.
This will start to give him the message that this is the place where he is to eliminate his waste.
Put Your New Pet on a Schedule
Older dogs have bigger bladders and so do not have to urinate as often as puppies do. This makes it possible to actually train your new pet to a schedule. While this may take a little time and effort, it makes it easier in the long run. When using a schedule in-house training an older dog, take him out first thing in the morning, ½ an hour after he has eaten, after play and just before bed. Make sure you go out with him and that he eliminates each time he is taken out. He will soon learn that he is to use this time to go to the bathroom in the proper place.
Supervise and Use a Crate
While your dog is adjusting to a schedule, you will need to supervise him closely. Some accidents will occur and when they do you should handle these calmly. If you catch the dog in the act, reprimand him with a sharp “No” and immediately take him outside. If the accident happens when you are not watching, simply clean up the mess and do not punish or scold the dog as he will not know what he did wrong.
Using a crate when house training an older dog will help prevent accidents when you cannot supervise as closely as you should. Dogs do not like to soil an area where they lay, so providing a crate that allows room for your dog to lay down in comfortably and turn around when desired, but is not too big will help him control his body functions until it is time to go outside.
With a little time, a little patience and by using a schedule that you stick with, house training an old dog will not be as difficult as you think.