House training older dogs is somewhat different than training puppies, but that does not necessarily mean it is more difficult. Training an older dog can actually be easier in some respects. It depends on the dog and the circumstances.
It’s true that most dogs are house trained as puppies. But it’s becoming more and more common to find yourself the proud owner of an older dog who has either forgotten his house training or has never been properly potty trained at all. With more people choosing to adopt older dogs from shelters and dog rescues there has been a growing number of people questioning how to go about house training older dogs.
The ease or difficulty in training an older dog varies case by case. In cases where a dog has been abused or neglected you are going to have to earn your new pets trust before any actual training can take place. Until your new dog learns to trust you, any type of training will be difficult to achieve. This is where patience is essential.
However, once your dog has earned your trust, house training your dog often turns out to be a simple process.
The first thing you should do when you bring your new dog home is introduce him to a place in the yard where you want him to eliminate. Take him straight there before entering the house and stay with him no matter how long it takes while he goes. Although it will take repeated trips to this spot before your dog understands this is the place where he is supposed to do his business he at least knows that it is acceptable to eliminate outside.
It is an especially good idea to use a crate when house training older dogs. One of the best ways to teach a dog not to eliminate in the house is by not allowing him to do so until he learns where he is suppose to go. Since dogs don't like to go to the bathroom where they sleep and sit, there will be less chance of an accident when you use a crate, provided you don't leave your dog in the crate for long periods of time.
Since older dogs are able to control when they eliminate better than puppies and for longer periods, training an older dog is somewhat easier than training a puppy since you can train an older dog to go on a schedule. Begin taking him out at specific times such as first thing in the morning, a few minutes after he eats, mid afternoon and just before bed.
Go with the dog and stay outside with him until he actually eliminates. It won't take long for him to understand that he is to go potty out of doors and that you will reward him for doing so.
There will be times when your dog may have accidents in the house. This is just part of the training process. When house training older dogs, or any dog for that matter, never yell or punish the dog when this occurs. This will only confuse and frighten your dog as he will not know what he has done wrong. Instead, remove him from the room and clean up the mess. Then continue to reward him when he eliminates outside where he is supposed to.
Be consistent so your dog understands exactly what you expect without sending him mixed messages.
There are so many rewards in store for you when adopting an older dog. Don’t let worrying about potty training keep you from enjoying this wonderful experience.