Housebreaking an adult dog has a few differences to housebreaking a puppy. The need to housebreak an adult dog can arise:
- When you missed to undertake reliable puppy housebreaking
- Or when you adopt a rescue dog and neither the prior owner(s) nor shelter staff could spend time on dog housebreaking
I know of six years old dogs that still pee and poop inside the house or on the terrace or balkony or in the flower garden, because the owner got used to cleaning up after the dog. Not something I would want to get used to! You?
If you've got an adult dog, and the dog still relieves in the house or on your property, you've finally arrived at the right place. What can you do to housebreak a dog that is older? Does the puppy housebreaking equally apply?
Yes, our housebreaking steps work equally well for an adult dog, nonetheless you have it much easier. Really? When the dog already got used to relieving inhouse?
Yes, with an adult dog you have it easier because the dog can hold on to urine and stool (for a reasonable amount of time), while a young puppy cannot. You just need to change the adult dog's routine of relieving indoors. How you do that?
Go through the numbered steps in housebreaking a puppy, starting at step 3 and ending at step 8 as well. If only you follow these few points and you initially take out your adult dog immediately when you see the first pee signal or poop signal, then the dog will quickly learn to change his/her routine and relieve outside in the place you designate!
But do follow through those steps precisely. If you slacken, no surprise your dog may slacken.
Treats in housebreaking?
I would strongly advise against the use of treats in successful situations of housebreaking, and against the use of punishment when the dog relieves in the house (whether shouting or whatever). Because neither is helpful. Contrary to popular copy-and-paste texts that we all can find elsewhere, even rewarding a dog with a food treat
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does not speed up housebreaking, but slows it down when compared with the above steps. I suspect this is because treat training undermines the status of accepted Pack leader. Dogs differentiate well between food source and accepted Pack leader.
So if you use treats in training, while you are around the dog can expect to get a treat, and so (s)he will nicely relieve outside (after some time). But whenever you are not around, the dog knows that (s)he cannot expect to get any reward for relieving where you want. And this is why then you sometimes find yourself confronted with indoor business (pee or poop). That's not reliable housebreaking, is it?
So do not use treats in housebreaking. This applies to all dog training: Do not use treats in training. Do not do treat training.