Toilet training an older dog 

We get a lot of calls from people who are having difficulty toilet training their dog, so here is our guide to helping with toilet training:

An older dog who was previously toilet trained

If you have an older dog who was previously toilet trained but is now having accidents it might be because of medical issues. It could be a simple bladder infection, so before you begin any training, a trip to your local vet for a checkup is recommended.

Another reason that an already house trained dog is having accidents is more than likely due to stress. A big change to your dog’s life, such as moving house, change in work schedule, the introduction of a second dog can cause your dog a lot of stress. If this is the case try to give your dog as much structure as possible.

 Set your dog up to succeed 

1) Restrict access to certain areas of the house, if your dog’s living area is too big then toilet training is going to be that much harder. Instead, close doors, make use of baby gates. Once your dog is toilet trained you can give them more freedom.

2) Have your dog on a lead in the house, long lines are great, this way you can closely watch for signs that your dog needs the toilet.

3) Every time the pup is let out of the crate, lead it outside to the toilet. Once your dog has completed it’s business ensure lots of praise is given. Do this enough times and eventually, your pup will begin to associate each time it comes out of the crate as its time to go to the toilet.

Body language

A dog will tell you through their body language that they need to go to the toilet. Look for the following: restless behavouir, sniffing the door/walls/ground, going around in circles. 

If you notice that your dog is doing any of the following, put them on a lead and take them to the area where you want them to go to the toilet.

Key points in the day

Most dogs will go to the toilet at certain times throughout the day: first thing in the morning, last thing at night, after they get excited, 45minutes after they have eaten. 

Get your dog into the habitat of going to the toilet during this time, be consistent, the quicker you can get your dog into a routine the quicker you’re dog will be toilet trained.

4) Accidents

Toileting mishaps are an inevitable part of toilet training and punishing your pup for doing so, will not support the goal you are trying to achieve. As much frustration as a wet carpet patch may cause, punishing your pup will only be detrimental in the long term.

If you do catch your dog going relieving themselves inside, try to interrupt the behaviour. Then take your Dog outside at once, and once completed, reward them with praise.

Top tip: When encountering an accident, don’t clean up in front of your dog. Many see your attempts to quickly salvage the situation as a form of attention and may, therefore, continue the behaviour.

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