House Training Your Adult Pet

A major concern people have when adopting adult pets is housetraining. Some people take the phrase, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” a little too seriously. Realistically, housetraining an older pet is only a little harder than training a puppy. A puppy is a blank slate and you can train the behavior you want right from the start. Older pets have an established personality and may have been taught poor habits from a previous owner. That being said, an older pet can still be trained to behave properly in the house. Create a Routine One of the first steps to retraining an older pet is to create a solid routine. Dogs do really well with routines and will adjust quickly to the schedule you set. Establish specific times throughout the day for feedings, potty breaks, walks, and any other daily activities. A regular routine also has the added benefit of making your older pet feel safe and secure. If you’ve adopted an older dog, a routine will help it adjust faster to its new home. Schedule Plenty of Breaks When you make your dog’s schedule make sure you add in plenty of potty breaks. One of the biggest barriers to proper house training is not giving your pet enough opportunities to go outside. If you leave your dog locked up all day, it’s going to need to go potty at some point. If you can’t be home to take it out, then hire a dog walker to come by in the afternoon to give your dog a bathroom break. Avoid Punishment Dogs want to please you, especially older dogs. They love praise so use positive reinforcement to encourage the behavior you’re trying to teach. Punishment often backfires because animals can’t understand exactly what you want. They don’t understand why they’re being punished, so their behavior won’t change. Instead of sticking your dog’s nose in a mess or yelling, keep your cool and praise the positive moments instead. For example, when your dog successfully goes to the bathroom outside reward with praise and a favorite treat. This will show your pet the behavior you like. Use the Right Cleaning Products Accidents are inevitable during the training process so make sure you clean spots properly. If an area still smells like pee, then your dog is more likely to eliminate in the same area again. Select a cleaning product that contains enzymes that will break down the urine and remove the smell. Be Patient House training a pet of any age takes time and patience. It will take several months of consistent training to start seeing results from your pet. Your dog is trying to learn a new habit and may also be breaking some bad habits. For example, many rescues have a hard time peeing on grass because they’ve only ever been on concrete. In this instance, your dog is trying to adjust to the grass, a new routine, and going outside when told. All of this information is new and confusing for your pet, so remember to stay calm and remain patient.