2001-Sat Dec 10 15:17:02 MST 2016
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
The first step in turning an adult dog into a reliable house pet is to embrace a key concept: There's no such thing as a "partially" house-trained dog. He either is or he isn't.
Why is realizing this important? Because if you have a dog who is "sometimes" reliable, you have a dog who doesn't understand what's required of him, probably because no one taught him properly in the first place. Punishing your pet isn't fair, and it isn't the answer: You have to go back to square one and teach him properly. No shortcuts here.
Before you start training, though, you must be sure that what you have is really a behavior problem and not a physical problem. This is especially true with a dog who has been reliable in the past. You won't be able to train your pet if he's struggling with an illness. So check with your veterinarian first for a complete checkup.
If you've ruled out medical problems, house-training an adult dog uses the same principles as house-training a puppy, except you have to be even more diligent because you need to do some untraining, too. And a lot of cleaning: You must thoroughly clean any soiled area with enzymatic cleaner (available through pet-supply outlets) to eliminate the smell that invites repeat business.
You'll need to teach your dog what's right before you can correct him for what's wrong. To do this, spend a couple of weeks ensuring that he has nothing but successes by never giving him the opportunity to make a mistake.
If you've been consistent, your dog likely will get a good idea of what's expected of him within a couple of weeks, and you can start to give him a little freedom. Don't let him have the run of the house yet. Keep his area small and let him earn the house, room by room, as he proves his understanding of the house rules.
Accidents happen. If you catch him in the act, tell him "no," take him outside, and give him the chance to set things right. Give your "go" command, and praise him if he does. Clean up the mess inside promptly and thoroughly, so he won't feel inclined to refresh his smell there. Don't punish him for any messes you find.
If you aren't catching him, you're not keeping close enough tabs on him. Go back to the crate and leash, and start over.
If you continue to have problems, ask your veterinarian for a referral to a veterinary behaviorist. One-on-one assistance can pinpoint the problems in your training regimen and get you both on the right track.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
We combed through 505,270 kitten
names to determine the hottest male
and female monikers of the year.
We scoured our database of 1.1 million
dogs to find out which male and female
monikers reigned supreme this past…
Christmas trees, fatty foods and other
seasonal items may bring cheer to your
home, but they'll cause harm to your…
Dr. Sarah Wooten takes a closer look at
this curious sleeping habit and what it has
to do with canines’ ancestry.
The Kromfohrlander is said to be
descended from a mixed-breed dog
who was a mascot for American troops.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.