Potty Training An Adult Dog – Avoiding 2 Common Mistakes

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by jtclough on March 26, 2010

Potty training or house training an adult dog can be frustrating simply because the bad habit has probably been around for awhile.  Following the rules of basic puppy potty training apply, however it may take a bit more diligence in making sure there is not a medical problem that is causing an older dog to go to the bathroom inside.

Once medical problems are ruled out by your vet, rest assured an old dog can learn new tricks and potty training falls in this category.  The actual potty training steps are the same thing you would do when teaching a trick.  It’s all about repetition and showing your dog the same picture over and over and over again.

Two Common House Training Mistakes

The first conclusion one comes to when having trouble with a dog eliminating outside instead of in the house is we didn’t get the dog outside in time.  This can in fact be the problem but many times there is a very common mistake made that most people aren’t even aware of.

Your dog’s nose is a big part of the decision making process in most things done in a day.  This includes where the dog bathroom is located.

If your dog has made a mistake in the house and it hasn’t been removed properly, your dog still smells it.  Even if you can’t see it or smell it, your dog does… the smell part anyway.  Seeing is not one of a dog’s best attributes.

Urine contains an enzyme that is difficult to remove.  Soaking it up until all the wetness is gone won’t do it.  There are many cleaners that are sold as urine removers but don’t work in the long run because the product is only covering up the original urine odor.

The concept that covers up the smell works for some people but dogs have a whole different level of smell described as “the chicken soup theory”.  It goes like this; if you walked into a home and got a whiff of chicken soup cooking, a smell most people can identify with… the first thought that comes to mind is… mmmm chicken soup.  It’s all together in one smell.

A dog on the other hand, if they could talk would say, ummmm, I smell chicken, celery, salt, carrots, onions, and a host of other things that were added to the cooking pot.  Dogs smell each item individually, and they smell more acutely than humans.

Use an Enzyme Remover To Clean Urine Mistakes

Not all stain and urine removers are the same.  Make sure the product you are using has an enzyme remover specific to removing urine.  Perfumes and sanitizer only cover up the urine enzyme.

Rule number one in puppy or adult dog potty and house training; clean and remove the urine enzyme.

How You Feed Your Dog Can Affect House Training

The second common mistake made in potty training is what time and the how much are you are feeding your dog?

Dogs should be fed twice a day.  Free feeding is a sure way to find your dog needing “to go” at random times during the day and night.

Many dogs who tend to not let their food be a big deal are free fed.  Quite the opposite attitude of a Lab who cannot wait to get all the food down in the bowl as quickly as possible, a dog who doesn’t eat all the food usually ends up with an owner who will leave the bowl out to make sure the dog got enough food.

Leaving dog food out to be eaten whenever your dog likes is a disaster when it comes to house training.  Feed your dog a quality dog food twice a day around the same time.  You’ll be able to find a routine out of somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes later your dog will need to go outside to get the job done in the right location.

But what if my dog doesn’t eat all the food?  Should I leave it out?

No.  Pick it up after 15 minutes.

Then put the food back out at dinner time.  Same routine.  If it isn’t all eaten in 15 minutes, pick it up.  It may take a few days but your dog will learn when to eat and eliminate which will be perfect for house training and even better for your dog’s overall health.

©Jt Clough and K9 Coach, Inc. 2010

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