Many people rescue their pets and in many cases those pets are older and may never have any kind of toilet training, or maybe puppy toilet training never went well for you and you are now faced with an older dog and wondering should you give up?
Older dogs may take a little longer than a puppy but with little patience, repetition and consistency you can easily toilet train a dog of any age.
You would toilet train an older dog in the same way you would train a puppy or young dog. So, with that you have two main options, crate training or using newspaper/training pads. If you are dealing with an older entire male dog, that is to say a dog that ‘’lifts’’ his leg, crate training may be a better option and unless you are planning on breeding, it would be best to neuter your male to discourage marking.
The idea behind the crate is encouragement through natural behavior, a crate should never be used as a punishment. The crate essentially becomes the dogs bed and safe haven (especially good for timid rescue dogs) allow the dog to use the crate freely while you are home but when you are leaving the house or going to bed pop them in and shut the door (it is best to reward them when you do this, refer to a full guide on crate training before implementing this training method).
The idea is that a dog will naturally not want to soil his bed and therefore will ‘’hold on’’ until you let them out, so as soon as you open the door bring them straight outside and offer a command like ‘’go wee’’ and when they do, reward them. This works very well for older dogs as older dogs can go longer without toileting, however, a puppy needs to be let out more frequently, if they are left too long they will soil their bed and if a dog learns it can soil its bed your training will become much more difficult.
With that, it is also worth noting that if a dog has previously been housed in a dog kennel environment where they soiled in the same general area as their bed, crate training may not work or may be more difficult. It is important that if you decide to crate train your dog that you research how to do it correctly before you begin, or you could do more harm than good.
Crates are available here: Dog Crates
Or there is the standard method of using paper/or pads to train your dog this is harder in the beginning but over time the dog will understand. This method works better for puppies as they urinate frequently and show obvious signs that they are about to urinate, so you can pre-empt them and teach them to go on the paper, gradually you move the paper outside and you continuously reward them for soiling in the correct place and ignore soiling in the wrong place.
Older dogs can learn this way, but it may take more patience on your part and will work better for female dogs than entire males for the same reasons mentioned previously. Dogs crave our attention, be it good or bad (in most cases), so they very quickly learn that they get a reward and praise for one thing but ignored for another.
If cleaning up an area that you do not want your pet to urinate on make sure you use an ammonia free product (so not bleach) ammonia will attract an animal to mark or repeat urinate in an area, with that in mind you can get aids to spray on paper to encourage urinating on that spot, equally you can get a ‘’pee post’’ a scented post to put in your garden so the dog soils the same chosen area keeping your garden free from yellow patches. With either training method please do some research before you begin, to get the results you want you have to be consistent and patient, all dogs can learn at any stage once you know that.
Training Pads are available here: Dog Training Pads