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House Training an Adult Dog

When adult dogs are adopted, rescued, or moved into the house they often need to be house trained. This is a guide about house training an adult dog.

House Training an Adult Dog
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July 24, 2016 Flag
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My daughter has a 9 year old Shih Tzu. He pees in the house often. She has tried everything. Now they have a baby in the crawling stage and the ammonia in the pee is worrisome.
Please advise. Thanks.

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April 12, 2016 Flag
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I have a 8 year old Boxer. He's only been in my home for 2 years and I don't think that he was ever potty trained. He does great when I'm home, but I can leave him in the back yard for an hour, let him in and leave for 10 minutes and come home he will have peed and pooped all over the house. I tried using a crate and he took the door and the side panel clean off. Does anyone know what I can do to fix this?

Boxer lying on blanket
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April 13, 20160 found this helpful

Boxers who've been rehomed from a happy home, or abused and then rehomed, tend to suffer separation anxiety and demonstrate it by two distinct behaviours - eliminating in the house, and chewing anything they can get their teeth into - furniture, doors, walls, floor coverings... The best thing to do is be patient (difficult, I know) because the dog is unfortunately at an age now where there are no real solutions. You can try creating a safe space - not the crate, or a room containing anything your Boxer can destroy, btw; use disposable tarpaulins to cover the floor in the safe space (these come on a roll in any DIY or big box paint department), these are relatively inexpensive, and make clean-ups fast and easy whilst protecting floors. Use one part of the room as an eating and sleeping area - no tarp, and the rest of the room with enough tarps laid down to cover the floor. Consider a radio playing softly - some Boxers like classical, others prefer talk radio.

Talk to your vet, he/she may have some suggestions (behaviour training, coping strategies).

I buried my ancient (14yo) Boxer in Feb 2007, he was the last of a long line of Boxers I raised in the US (I live in the UK now) as a breeder. I also did breed rescue - usually dogs the age your Boxer was when he came to live with you, I met through breed rescue needed rehoming to families/persons with the willingness and understanding (the probability the behaviours may never resolve) to cope with the separation anxiety behaviours in the way I outlined above.

Best luck, from the photo it's clear your Boxer is much loved and I wish you both the best coping with something he truly doesn't want to do but can't help doing when you leave the house even for a short time. If you can afford a dog-sitter and/or 'doggie day care', these dogs respond very well to either.

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December 22, 2015 Flag
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We have had our terrier for 4 years. He was a rescue dog and we got him from the person who rescued him so he has been passed around a bit. After 4 years he should feel settled, yet he constantly poos and pees in the house. He has been to the vet and is fit. He poos on any scrap of carpet even though the door is open for him to go out. He poos on the carpet in front of the door, 2 more steps and he would be in the garden.

He gets let out or taken out several times a day, so there's no need for him to do it. If we put him in the garden he constantly barks to come in. We suppose he wants to be with us, but in the last couple of months he keeps running away and has been picked up by the pound. There's always someone indoors as we are retired and he has plenty of attention; so what can we do? I know he is jealous of the grandchildren, but he is always the same.

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December 24, 20150 found this helpful

First of all, he is not jealous of the grandchildren. Small dogs have delicate nervous systems and children can be noisy and make fast movements. This upsets the dog. He basically just doesn't want them around.

I agree the dog has never really settled in. He doesn't feel safe. The peeing and pooping is territory marking behavior. The running away is typical of dogs seeking a pack with which to bond.

You must do training with your dog. First, take him to obedience class. Learning to work with your pet will help bond the two of you. I would also suggest clicker training, a positive rewards based training. Your dog needs to feel that you are in charge so he can calm down.

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May 2, 2015 Flag
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We adopted my three year old Lab over a year and a half ago. She has always peed in the house. We gave it time, took her to the vet to make sure that there isn't something medically wrong with her, and even tried calm me down meds. It isn't when we leave for work or anything, it's any time we pet her or touch her and it's through out our entire house. I really don't want to take her back to the shelter, but that's what it is coming to if I can't figure out what to do to make her stop. Even if we just let her outside and watch her go to the bathroom then pet her when she comes inside she still pees. We just put all new flooring throughout our house and my husband and I are both simply fed up. Can anyone help us?

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May 4, 20150 found this helpful

There might be a dog training person or facility in your area who may be able to offer help. You can discuss your problem and what you want to achieve. The dog trainer may be able to help with behavior modification training or may be able to suggest an alternative solution.

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November 10, 2015 Flag
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I am moving with my 15 year old dog, how do I potty train her?

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November 16, 20150 found this helpful

Take your dog outdoors to the same area every two hours or so; however long she can hold it. Do this at the same time each day. Take water bowl away just after last potty break for the night or before you retire. Keep talking to the dog using simple words of potty time and eventually she'll get the idea why she's going out. Stay there with her and see that she does go before bringing her indoors.

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June 19, 2013 Flag
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I got a Shepherd/Husky mix from a breeder at 7 months of age. They told me she was crate trained, but in reality I came to find out she was "pen" trained. I have attempted to crate train as I did with my other dog before her, but it is not working. She has accidents every day when she is not crated. Should I re-crate train her as if she was a small puppy meaning keeping her in the crate 24/7 except when it is time to eat and take her out? I know she can hold it because I crate her all night while we sleep and I also know she knows it is wrong to poop and pee in the house. I've tried everything, the bell on the door, the doors closed, her attached to me, but to no avail, she will be great all day and then when not attached to me and not crated she eventually goes somewhere in my house and I'm so done! I really love her, but do not know what to do. Please help!

By Maggie

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June 19, 20130 found this helpful

Try changing her food and go back to crate training to house train as you would with a puppy. Here is a link from that may be of help to you.

Questions and answers:


Hope these help you in your dog training.

Blessings, Robyn from Tennessee

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February 1, 2008 Flag
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I have a dog that is almost 2 years old and is still not fully house trained. I'm open to any suggestions. Can anyone help?

Tammi from Swanzey, NH

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March 8, 20080 found this helpful

I know what you mean I have two min pins - one is 6 yrs old she is no prob, but the male I inherited from my son who is in college, he is 4 yrs old. I just can't seem to get through to him. I have tried the crate it worked a few nites and then he started going in it. I feel like I need eyes in the back of my head- I have never caught him in the act. I am wondering if it is to late now, because he thinks doing his business in the house is normal I guess. I am really getting frustated. Any advice please holler bsck. White_Diamonds7(at)grnco(dot)net GOOG LUCK ALL! :)

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June 29, 2015 Flag
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My dog is 4 years old and has always used a newspaper lined litter inside the house. Now that we have a garden, we tried to retrain her to go outside. We even put the newspaper outside. She practically stopped eating and almost refuses to go outside when invited. Her behavior, otherwise, is normal. Any advice please.

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June 30, 20150 found this helpful

Your dog thinks you have lost your marbles. You spent all that time teaching her where you want her to go and now you've changed your mind.

The good news is that your dog is well trained. You're more fortunate than you think. The shelters are full of untrained dogs.

I suggest you put the newspaper in the least offensive place in the house and be thankful your dog will use it. It's a lot easier than trying to teach an adult dog new tricks.

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June 12, 2015 Flag
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I adopted a dog about 3.5 weeks ago. They said he's only a year, but other body features are showing he may be much older, maybe closer to 5. I only know that he came in as a stray when I rescued him. For the first week to two weeks of having him, he did great! No accidents in the house. tan and brown dog

Then I brought a friend over a few nights ago, they stayed the night as well. And the next day I started smelling something peeish. I thought it was my hamsters, but it turns out he peed in one area of my room. And he must have kept going there because I didn't realize it until it was too late. I have tan carpet that you can't tell if he peed or not, have to go by smell. I never did anything, told him no, because it was too late to do so.

Well the other morning I apparently wasn't fast enough to take him out (he is the first thing I take care of in the morning as I know how I get!), and he peed in the corner. I corrected that one because I saw. But now I'm afraid he is continuously going at night and it's in the back of my mind to the point I don't sleep well anymore. Any suggestions? He is fine when I am around him.

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June 16, 20150 found this helpful

This is kind of a tricky one. I would try crating.

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