How can I potty train an older dog?

My Bichon Frise is 6 years old. He is kennel trained & loves his kennel but aloud to run around the house while we are out (at work, errands, you name it) he will "mark" anything and even go poops in a corner! It’s GROSS! He’s nuetered, otherwise very well behaved and an important member of the family. I know he CAN go for hours without an accident because he sleeps on my bed all night without a problem. Any suggestions?

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    One Response to “How can I potty train an older dog?”

    1. scarlet_nightshade says:

      This is used by ViralMD of Pugvillage for housebreaking dogs. It works…but you have to follow this EXACTLY! GL!
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      Housetraining your dog (puppy or adult!)

      The first thing you need to do is to remember that you’re trying to reinforce a new behavior. That means that the rewards for this behavior must be WONDERFUL. NOT crap from the store. Wonderful treats are poached chicken breast/turkey breast, cheese and steak. And you don’t have to use big pieces. Tiny pieces (about 3mm cubes) are just fine! I poach a whole turkey breast every few weeks, cut it into hunks when it’s cool enough to handle, wrap them well and store them in the freezer. When I need some, I’ll thaw a hunk overnight and cut off pieces and dice finely, storing them in a plastic bag in the fridge. One hunk will last about five days. Cheese is also popular, so variety is fine.

      I carry these plastic bags in my jacket pockets in the winter and in a fanny pack in warmer weather. You HAVE to have these with you, or this method won’t work, because you need to reward as soon as the dog finishes pooping or peeing. It’s not going to work if the rewards are in the house.

      Remember that you’re trying to change a very ingrained behavior. Some dogs like to feel certain things under their feet when they eliminate, like fabric, or newspaper. This is called a ‘substrate preference.’ What you’re trying to do is change this substrate preference, and to do that you have to make the treats SO wonderful that the dog will change this very well-entrenched behavior. Thus the chicken, cheese, steak.

      I love clicker training, but this can be done without clickers. You just need a way to ‘mark’ the behavior you want to reinforce. Use the word ‘YESSSSS!!!!’ very enthusiastically – that works for some.

      You’re going to need to GO OUTSIDE WITH your dog and the dog needs to be on a leash. Yes, even in winter. If you don’t reward IMMEDIATELY after the event (when dog immediately finishes pooping or peeing) and wait inside, the dog is going to be reinforced for coming inside, not for doing its business. So, leash up your dog. STAND IN ONE PLACE. Be boring. Bring a book or magazine for yourself.

      Eventually, the dog will do what you’re waiting for. The NANOSECOND that the dog is finished, HAVE A PARTY – lots of loud, high-pitched praise, treats and running around. You want to make this memorable for your dog! You’ll find that once the first event is achieved, the others will come more quickly. Keep on treating (you don’t have to throw a party except for milestones – a milestone = if he only pooped outside but now peed, too, or something equivalent to that) until he’s good and used to peeing/pooping outside. Before you know it, you have a trained dog.

      Regarding accidents in the house: NO SCOLDING. Just clean them up. If you scold you’ll get the dog to think it’s bad to pee or poop and he’ll do it in places you won’t see. Until you step in it. Invest in a big bottle of Nature’s Miracle or Simple Solution and use it liberally on accidents.

      With young puppies, remember they have little control of the muscle that holds the bladder closed. This is something they grow into. Just as it’s not expected that a human baby is toilet trained at six months, don’t expect much from a puppy. Patience, patience, patience!!!! The nervous system in a puppy has to mature, and it won’t have much control over the sphincter (closing muscle) at the neck of the bladder until six or seven months. The same goes for the anal sphincter. Until control is achieved, both of these muscles operate on reflex: there are stretch receptors in the bladder wall. When the bladder is full, it sends impulses to the spinal cord and these, in turn, send signals to the sphincter to open and the dog pees.

      In the stomach wall, there are also stretch receptors. So when the dog eats and the stomach is stretched, the impulses again go to the spinal cord, but this time the reflex, outgoing, nerve signals are sent to the anal sphincter, so the dog defecates. This operates in people, too – which is why some people rush to the ‘reading room’ after a meal – especially breakfast.
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