House Training an Older Dog

There’s plenty of advice available for house training puppies but what can you do if you have an older dog that is slipping into bad habits in the home? There are a few reasons why grown dogs can begin messing in the house, which include:

  • Old age
  • Territory marking
  • Past experience (dogs that were previously kept outdoors may never have received house training when younger)
  • The lack of opportunities to relieve themselves outdoors
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Tension

If you have an older dog who is unable to stick to the usual routine it’s important to go and speak to the vet to check there are no underlying issues. However, even healthy dogs can revert to bad habits and there are a few things you’ll need to do to stop the situation.

Two Week Action Plan

  1. House training an older dog won’t happen overnight. You’ll need to spend at least two weeks teaching and enforcing the rules. Begin by giving the home a good clean where the dog has been going to the toilet. The aim is to remove the smells (that only the dog can smell) and for that you’ll need to use washing powder mixed in warm water or a convenient spray solution.
  2. Commit to taking your dog out for a walk or in the garden first thing in the morning, last thing at night and every hour in-between. Wait for the dog to eliminate and give some gentle praise each time he is successful and he uses the right area.
  3. Supervise your dog in the home and keep an eye on him at all times. If you cannot supervise your dog try to give them a restricted area in your home. Use an indoor kennel or bed but provide water and place newspapers or dry tech doggie pads on the floor. If you restrict the space you won’t have to worry about discovering lots of wet patches or mess when you return home. However, be aware that this will not help with the actual house training process.
  4. After two weeks begin stretching out the time that you take the dog outside for a bathroom break. If you notice your dog sniffing at the floor, pacing or scratching to go out take it as a sign that he needs to go outside and react accordingly.
  5. Remember not to punish your dog if you discover a puddle or mess on the floor. Just commit to the house training and always ensure the dog is with you so you can keep an eye out for the signs.
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