Q:

What are some tips for house training an older dog?

A:

Quick Answer

House training an older dog is similar to house training puppies. The dog should be supervised whenever it is loose in the house and taken outside on a regular basis, then praised for relieving itself outside.

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Full Answer

Adult or senior dogs are more likely to have health issues, such as incontinence, which makes them more likely to urinate indoors. Owners of older dogs should have a veterinarian examine their dogs if house training seems particularly difficult. Even seemingly unrelated conditions, such as arthritis, may make house training difficult if the dog associates going outside with pain.

If the dog is intact, the owner may want to have it neutered or spayed. Intact dogs tend to mark their territory by urinating on it, which can be a difficult habit to break. Thoroughly cleaning soiled surfaces with an enzymatic cleaner can also help, since dogs use smell to determine appropriate places to eliminate.

If the dog only urinates indoors at certain times and seems mostly housebroken otherwise, the owner should pay close attention to any possible environmental triggers. Some dogs urinate or defecate out of fear, such as during thunderstorms or due to excitement. Managing the underlying cause can prevent the problem.

House training should be a positive experience. Owners should avoid punishing their dogs for urinating or defecating indoors, because that may cause the dog to be afraid of eliminating when the owner is present.

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