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Fox Terriers are incredibly fun, playful pups who love to play and entertain their human family. While Fox Terriers are highly intelligent, some are more willing to learn than others. While you are housebreaking your terrier, you need to be aware that his strong sense of independence can make potty training him more challenging than many other breeds. Does this mean you can't potty train him? Certainly not, but what it does mean is that it might take longer, and you will need to exercise a great deal of patience. Take your time and use lots of positive reinforcement and treats to get the job done.
The task at hand is simple (or at least it should be): to train your pup that the only place he is allowed to go potty is out in the yard, preferably in a specific area. The problem is that terriers do not like commands and love to mark their territory. Because of this, you need to fence in your yard or you will always have to put your pup on a leash to take him outside. The fence needs to be tall enough to keep him from jumping over it and firmly secured at the bottom or your pup will try to escape constantly. Be patient and keep working with him and in time he will learn to do as he is asked. The training methods are similar to those used for most other dogs, you just have to work on them a little harder and longer to get the job done.
You can start potty training your Fox Terrier as soon as you bring him home--once he reaches 8 weeks old, your pup is ready to learn. Given the fact these pups are very stubborn and often harder to teach, the earlier you get started, the easier it will be to train him. You should choose your cue words before you get started. Keep it simple; use something like "Let's go outside" or "Let's go potty". The simpler you make it, the easier it will be for him to learn it and associate the cue with the action. You will also need a crate for when you cannot watch your pup, treats to use as rewards, and a leash to take him outside on.
The Pee Here Method
Mark the spot for your pup
Grab a bottle of potty training spray from your local pet shop. Choose a spot in your yard that will become your pup's permanent outside "bathroom."
Show your pup his new potty
Put your pup on his leash, give him your cue, take him outside over to his spot and let him go potty. The spray is designed to attract him to the spot and encourage him to mark it, which, of course, will make him want to go potty.
Give him time
If he doesn’t go potty right away, that's okay. Give him 15 minutes to try and then take him back in the house. Wait a few more minutes and take him back outside to try again. When he finally goes potty, be sure to praise him heavily and of course, give him a treat.
Instant potty breaks
There are a number of times when must take your pup outside immediately to go potty. These are in the morning when he wakes up, after he eats, drinks a lot of water, has been playing for a long time, last thing at night, and any time he looks like he needs to go.
The only thing left to do at this point is to keep working with your pup, extending the time between potty breaks, and learning to pick up on his signals that he needs to go. Be patient, in time he will figure it out and you won't have any more messes to clean up in your home.
The By the Hour Method
You need a timer
If you don't already own a kitchen timer, now is the time to grab one. It doesn't need to be fancy, just capable of being set to time up to two hours. Beyond timed potty breaks, be sure to take him out when you wake up, before bedtime, after meals, and after he drinks a lot of water. This will help prevent accidents.
Start slow and add time
Start out by setting the timer to 30 minutes and when he starts managing to hold it for this long, slowly start building up the time in 30-minute increments. However, do not go past two hours until your pup is at least 12 months old. He may not be able to hold himself any longer than this before then.
When he goes outside
Each time your pup manages to successfully go potty outside, reward his success with plenty of praise and a treat or two.
While in the house
While your pup is in the house, keep a close eye out for any signs he is thinking about going potty, be sure to take him outside immediately. The more you can do this, the fewer accidents he is likely to have and the sooner he will learn to go potty outside.
When accidents occur
If you happen to catch him in the act of peeing or pooping--or getting ready to-- say "No" in a firm voice and then take him straight out to his spot in the yard. Keep him there until he goes and then praise him and give him a treat. You want your pup to associate good things with going potty outside. If you don't see him and catch him in the act, don’t punish him, it is too late. Clean up and move on with the training. Be patient, he will figure it out in his own good time.
The Routine Method
Pick a potty space
Start by going out in your yard and choosing the spot that is to become your terrier's outdoor bathroom. Keep it close enough to keep your pup from having accidents on the way, but not so close any smells end up in your home.
Chose a good cue command
Be sure you choose a good working cue command, one that you and everyone else in your family will use and one your pup will easily be able to associate with the required behavior. Keep it simple like, "Time to go potty!" or "Want to go outside?" The idea is for your pup to learn to associate the cue with the required action.
Hook your pup on his leash, give him the cue, and then take him outside to his reserved spot to go potty. Stay there letting him wander around on the leash until he goes. When he does, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Routines are important
Your pup will respond to this type of training far better if you keep him on a regimented schedule. Start out by taking him out as often as every half hour. Over the course of several weeks, slowly build up the time between when you take him out until he can "hold it" for two hours or more.
Repeat behavior builds success
The more time you spend working on potty training your Fox Terrier, the faster he will learn and the fewer messes you will have to clean up. One day you are going to wake up and realize it has been a long time since your pup has made a mess in the house. When this happens, you can consider the training successful.
By PB Getz
Published: 02/22/2018, edited: 01/08/2021