Can an adult dog be re toilet trained

Can an adult dog be re(toilet)-trained?

When you adopt an adult dog from an animal shelter, you may find that it had been house trained by its previous owners. When these dogs come to the shelter they may not have opportunities to exhibit this training and may even get into the habit of soiling their kennels.This results in the weakening of their previously learned house training. To add to this they may find odours and scents from pets who were in the home earlier, and this induces them to go in for their own urine marking. You must always appreciate that both the dog and you have to yet learn the other's routines and signals. The dog may have been house trained in the home it was in earlier, but you may not recognize the request made to go to the "bathroom" or out, and this leads to the dog doing the business inside the home.

It is best, if for the first few weeks after the dog is brought into the new home, that it be assumed there has been no house training and you start the process of re-training the adult dog from the beginning. Progress should be quick, if the dog has been house trained earlier. Take steps to prevent any accidents and remind the dog where the elimination has to be done, and you are likely to find the progress is smooth.

Establish routine

  • Make sure you take the dog out every day at the same times. It can be when the dog awakens, then when you come back from your day's work, and then once more before you go to sleep in the night.
  • The dog should be praised every time it eliminates outside. Give him a treat if possible, and see that this treat is given as soon as it finishes its job, and not wait till you return home. This is important as then the dog will associate the elimination outside with the treat, and know that is what is required to be done.
  • The location that you designate as the dog's bathroom must not be too far away from your front door. When you take your dog out, take it directly to the bathroom spot. If you want to play with the dog or take it for a walk, do this after the elimination is completed. In case there is an accident in the home and you have to clean up, leave the towels or rags used for the cleaning at the designated bathroom spot. This will have the spot smelling an urine odour the dog recognises and marked as a place for the elimination.
  • When the dog is eliminating, use any phrase associated with the elimination, so that the dog forms the association and this can help it to eliminate.
  • A dog needs to be on a proper schedule for feeds once or twice in a day, as this makes its elimination habits regular.

Supervise constantly

A dog must never be given an opportunity to soil any place in the home, when you are re-training an adult dog. That means, the dog needs to be supervised, all the time that it is within the home. Use a leash to confine it to the room, or use baby gates to prevent it from going out of the room. When a dog needs to eliminate, it will start sniffing and going in circles. Immediately take it out to its bathroom spot, on the leash. When it does eliminate, be lavish with your praise and give it a treat.


You may find it difficult to watch the dog all the time, and in such a case, you must confine the dog to a very small area, as it will then be careful of not eliminating there. It must however allow for lying down and standing or for turning around. You can use a bathroom, or a laundry room, or a place you can block off with baby gates or boxes. You can also train your dog to be confined in a crate and this will require some training. When a dog has been confined like this for a number of hours or crate confined, it needs to be taken directly to it's bathroom spot and then praised or rewarded when it eliminates. Dogs can have an accident in the home, and you must see this as just a normal occurrence that is part of getting used to the new home.

  • There are times when the dog eliminates in the home and you are witness to it. Interrupt the dog with a noise or remonstration that the dog associates with displeasure on your part. Then take it to its bathroom spot and treat it when the actual elimination is completed.
  • Refrain from punishing a dog when it eliminates inside the home. It is too late to correct and all that you can do is to clean it up. Never rub the dog's nose in the elimination and scold or administer any other punishment, as it may then find it difficult to eliminate when you are around. Dogs never understand punishment, even if it is given seconds after the wrong act. Punishment can actually cause harm, instead of any good.
  • The soiled area must be properly cleaned, as any lingering urine odours can make the dog use the same spot again for elimination and you must look at ways to successfully clean and remove urine odours using a bio-enyzmatic product such as urineFREE.

Other types of problems connected with house soiling

If all procedures have been followed for proper house training and the dog still soils the home, look for other reasons for its behaviour.

  • Medical problems: A parasite infection or one with the urinary tract can often be responsible for soiling inside the home.A visit to the veterinarian is indicated to spot any illness or disease.
  • Excitement or submissive urination: Dogs , especially the younger ones will urinate when they are threatened or get excited. They may also do so when they are about to be punished or when they get excited in play or are greeting another dog or person.
  • Urine marking of territories: Dogs will mark their territory with small amounts of urine or feces. This is done by female and male dogs and is an indication they feel their territory has seen an invasion. This is a behavior you will see in both dogs and cats.
  • Anxiety separation: When dogs are left in a home they may soil the home because they are anxious. There will also be other signs of this anxiety exhibited by excessive noise and behavior that can be destructive.
  • Phobias and fears: Animals who get frightened do lose bladder control. A dog that is afraid of loud noises, like fireworks or thunderstorms can soil the home, when these sounds are heard. You can help your dog to get over these phobias and fears.

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