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Re-Toilet Training Your Dog

 by jaime on 13 Aug 2014 |
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You may think that once your puppy is toilet trained, for the rest of their life you'll never have to contend with accidents occuring inside your home.

Think again.

It's not uncommon for adult dogs to begin soiling inside the home for seemingly no apparent reason. However, there is generally always a medical or behavioural reason and as a doggy parent, it's up to you to investigate and find out why.

Where in the house your dog innappropriately uses the toilet can give you an insight to a possible cause, but first and foremost, you should take your dog to the vet to rule out any medical causes.

Medical reasons for indoor soiling include:
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Change in diet
  • Incontinence caused by an unknown medical problem.
  • Reaction to a particular medication.
  • Age-related incontinence/cognitive dysfunction.
If your vet rules out any medical causes for this sudden onset of indoor toilet use, then it may indeed be caused by a behavioural problem.

Behavioural reasons for indoor soiling include:
  • Lack of house training
  • Incomplete house training
  • Breakdown in house training
  • A surface preference
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of going outside
  • Dislike of cold or rainy conditions
  • Urine marking
  • Separation anxiety
  • Submissive/excitement urination
Treating indoor elimination, totally depends on what the cause is. Only once you know the root cause will you be able to successfully stop the troubled toilet times. However there are some general tips you can adopt to help the situation.

General useful tips
  • Have a consistent feeding schedule and don't leave food out between meals.
  • Take your dog outside frequently, particularly first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Adult dogs should be taken outside at least four times a day.
  • Be aware of where your dog is at all times.
  • When you take your dog outside to go to the toilet, stay with them and reward them each time they eliminate outside so positive associations can be made.

Don'ts for toilet training
  • Never punish your dog for going to the toilet in inappropriate places or rub their noses in it.
  • If you see your dog going to the toilet, make noises to stop them and take them outside straightaway. Once they have used the toilet outside, praise them and reward them for doing so.
  • Never physically punish your dog.
  • Avoid cleaning up using ammonia. Urine also contains ammonia so it may only encourage your dog to urinate there again. Instead, use a cleaning product specifically for pets.
  • Never punish your dog without attempting to train them to correct their behaviour.
  • Accept that if your don't catch your dog in the act of going to the toilet there is nothing you can do. Punishing them after they have already done it, is not going to improve their chances or correcting their behaviour.

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