Housebreaking a dog, especially an adult dog, is not as difficult or intimidating as it may seem. You would probably assume that an adult dog would already have been housebroken, but if it has been adopted from a shelter and had not been house trained before, the burden is on you.
House breaking an adult dog requires a lot of patience and heaps of praise whenever the dog learns where it’s okay to go and where it’s not. For the first few weeks after bringing your adult dog home, assume that it isn’t house trained and start housetraining it as if you were teaching a new puppy.
Dogs usually want to go outside to do their duty when you wake in the morning and again before you go to bed at night. Walk your dog before you leave for work in the morning and again at night after you get home. Try to keep mealtimes consistent and this will help your dog understand when it needs to head for the door.
The use of treats and lots of praise motivates dogs while they’re being trained. In the early stages of the training, your dog will be listening to the sounds and words you use, as well as any movement of your hands or arms. Lavish praise upon your dog whenever it goes to the bathroom outside or whatever location you’ve chosen. Try to praise your dog when it is going to the bathroom so it begins to associate your praise with an action.
Positive training with appreciation and love always works much better than punishments and vocal disapproval.
If your dog has already dirtied your house, you’ll need to watch it at all times in order to understand the cues it gives when it needs to eliminate. The dog may start circling or sniffing loudly if it needs to go outside, so if you see these signs, immediately head for the door. Watchful supervision will accelerate your adult dog’s training and reduce further problems of household soiling.
If you are going out or are too busy to deal with your dog, it’s a good idea to confine it to a small area with enough room to sit, stretch out and turn around in. You can use a sufficiently large dog crate or childproof gates to section off a room the dog will be comfortable in. The lack of space will discourage most dogs from making a mess of their immediate area.
Housebreaking a dog is never easy, but once you see the results of your efforts it can be very satisfying. An adult dog can learn quickly and once it has bonded with you, it will prove to be an ideal companion.