Basic Adult Dog Litter Training

New thinking has increased the popularity of dog litter training, especially among owners of adult dogs. In the past, owners have been encouraged to train dogs to wait until being taken outside to relieve themselves. However, owners today are realizing the benefits of allowing dogs to go indoors in litter boxes on their own schedule.

Generally speaking, an indoor litter box prevents the discomfort of your dog "holding it" while you are away. Specifically, litter box training may also the most caring method if your dog has trouble walking outside due to old age or osteoarthritis, or if your dog has an increased urge to potty due to diabetes. While it is true dog litter training is more easily accomplished with puppies, converting adult dogs from crate training or paper training to litter box training can be accomplished with ample time, effort and patience.

Setting Up the Dog Litter Box

You may be able to teach your older dog a new trick-how to use a dog litter box-no matter how long your dog's used another method of pottying. You can adapt either paper training or crate training techniques to accommodate a litter box. Select a confined area of your home, with room just enough for your dog to feed, turn around, lie down and potty. Just as you once placed papers next to your dog's bed for pottying, you can substitute a litter box for the same purpose. In the same way, you can place a litter box directly in a crate if it leaves enough room left for the dog to circle. Since dogs do not like to eat or sleep where they've pottied, they gradually learn to choose the litter box rather than the bed with any of these methods. Feed your dog, as well as lead your dog to the litter box, at the same time each day, until the dog goes to the litter box unprompted. Always praise your dog if successful in pottying in the litter box.

Choosing the Litter Box Best-Suited for Your Dog

Litter boxes come in all sizes-ranging from plastic tubs to full-fledged latrines that flush. More important than cost is choosing a litter box that's big enough for your dog, and one with a surface your dog will recognize. For example, some litter boxes come with fake "doggie grass"-a good choice for classically trained adult dogs used to going in the yard. Clay litter may be made to resemble asphalt, a good choice for dogs used to urban environments. Your vet can help you choose just the right litter box for your dog.

The Dont's of Litter Box Training

To ensure success in litter box training, avoid these common pitfalls of dealing with "accidents," no matter the age of your dog:

  • Do not rub your dog's nose in excrement; there is no benefit to this humiliating practice.
  • Do not scold your dog. If you see your dog pottying in the wrong place, clap your hands, which will cause your dog to stop midstream. Then take your dog to the litter box to finish pottying.
  • Do not spank your dog or jerk the collar as punishment for soiling the floor.
  • Do not clean up accidents with an ammonia because urine contains this chemical; consequently, your dog may return to spots cleaned with ammonia to potty there again.

Address Health Conditions that Could Cause Failure

Litter box training may fail if you do not realize your dog is suffering from a medical condition that affects elimination habits. Always consult your vet before you begin dog litter box training. Your vet will check for the following conditions: gastrointestinal upset; problems caused by a change in diet; weak sphincter muscle; hormonal irregularities; kidney and bladder disease; Cushing's disease, neurological problems; and. abnormalities of the genitalia. Your vet will also check for behavioral reasons for any pottying problems, including separation anxiety and submission urination. Ask your vet how best to litter-box train an aging or ailing dog.