Housetraining an Adult Dog

If you adopt an adult dog from a shelter, chances are she won’t be housebroken. Abused, neglected and abandoned dogs are seldom trained to relieve themselves only outside; this is a task that, as a responsible dog owner, you will need to teach your adopted adult dog.

When you adopt an adult dog from a shelter, keep in mind that this is a dog who was either abandoned or severely neglected. She may have been chained to a tree outside the owner’s home and never allowed inside. Or she may have been only an “inside dog” who has never been housetrained. Thus, when she feels the need, she will urinate or defecate regardless of where she is – including your formal dining room! She’s not bad-mannered because she has never been taught manners in the first place!

The first step in training your adult dog is to take her outside every two to three hours to relieve herself in a designated area. Since dogs have such powerful senses of smell, she will recognize her own scent and be more likely to urinate and/or defecate in an area she has used before.

If your dog has an accident in the home, it isn’t helpful to scold or swat her. Remember, you chose to adopt an unsocialized dog; it’s not fair to punish her because her former owners were irresponsible. Your dog will be confused and anxious, not knowing what you expect from her because she has never been properly housetrained.

Keep calm and maintain your patience. Put your dog out of sight, either outside or in her crate, then clean the area with white vinegar or a commercial stain remover that kills the scent. Then increase your time in taking your dog outside; from two hours to one hour, etc. Praise and reward her when she eliminates outside; she will quickly learn where she is allowed to urinate and defecate in order to please you.

Adopting an adult shelter dog has many challenges, but the rewards of seeing these dogs placed in loving, patient homes is everything!

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