Toilet training your puppy or adult dog can be one of the most challenging and potentially frustrating times you’ll experience as a pet owner. Yet, by following some simple steps, you can have the situation under control in no time.
First thing is first. It is important that you restrict access to areas of the house so that your dog can always be supervised while indoors. Then, get to know when your dog is likely to need to go to the toilet. As a general rule this will often be when he wakes up, after meals and after play times but each dog is different so it is important to be observant to his behaviour patterns.
As with all dog training, it is far more effective to set your dog up to succeed rather than to wait for him to fail and then try to fix the problem afterwards. For a dog to understand that toileting inside the house is the incorrect behaviour it first needs to understand that going to the toilet outside is what you want him to do. You will achieve nothing by scolding your dog for having an accident in the house if he doesn’t actually understand that he was meant to go outside.
When you think your dog is likely to need to relieve himself, put him on a lead, grab a handful of treats and head outside to the ‘toilet’ spot. Once your dog has toileted in that spot the scent will help encourage the behaviour to be repeated next time you go there. Be patient, especially with a puppy, and when your dog actually goes to the toilet reward him with the treats. It is a good idea to put your dog or puppy on a lead when you go outside as this will restrict where he can go and stop him from being distracted when he sees his favourite toy on the grass.
Accidents inside the house are inevitable during the toilet training process. If you catch your dog just as he is about to go to the toilet, quickly intervene and take him outside. If it’s a pup, pick him up and carry him outside to his toileting area. If you are able to get him to finish going to the toilet outside then praise and reward.
If you are too late and the accident has already happened then there is nothing you will effectively achieve by telling the dog off. Just make sure that you clean up with a “urine remover” which removes the urine enzymes and neutralises odour and this will prevent the dog from being drawn back to the scent and the scene of the crime. Then, tell yourself off for not paying enough attention so it doesn’t happen again!
Remember to be patient. Often, just when you think you have finally got the message across to your dog, he will slip up and have another accident. Be consistent with what you ask for and make the effort to be on your toes so that your dog is as successful as possible while he’s learning. The time taken at the beginning will make for quicker learning and a lifetime of enjoyment with your dog sharing your home with you.