Your dog has been in your life for as long as some of your kids. You’ve seen him grow up from the energetic ball of fur he was when he was a puppy to the older and more subdued dog he is today. He’s an integral part of the family. With age though has come health problems. He’s no longer able to make it for long walks or great distances to go for a pee. He either ends up giving up before you’ve managed to get him to a suitable toilet spot, or he relieves himself on your floors. You’re not the biggest fan of cleaning up pee and it doesn’t give the house quite the smell you’d like either.
Training him to use a pee pad only comes with benefits. It will save you considerable time taking him out to go to the toilet. It will also save him from pain and discomfort if he can no longer make the trek to the bathroom.
The good news is, training your pooch to use a pee pad is pretty easy. He may be aging, but don’t let it be said that an old dog can’t learn new tricks! You simply need to incorporate the pee pad into his toilet routine. That means consistent use and as few slip-ups as possible. You’ll also need to take steps to make the pee pad as inviting as possible. Treats or toys will go a long way to motivate him to embrace his new toilet patch as well. If he’s still pretty receptive you could see results in just a week. If he’s really old and stuck in his ways then you may need a few weeks to fully affect change.
However long it takes, it will be worth it when you have a straightforward clean-up, instead of a soaked carpet. You’ll also help keep him comfortable if he’s got health conditions.
Before you get to work, you’ll need a few things. A pee pad will, of course, be the first essential. You’ll also need a generous supply of mouth-watering treats or his favorite food. Simply break the food into small, easily digestible pieces.
The hardest component is time. You need to set aside time in the morning, midday, afternoon and evening, to ensure a consistent routine. With such a time sacrifice also comes with the requirement of patience and an optimistic attitude.
Once you have all of that, you’re ready to make a start!
Since its been terribly cold in Midwest Champ has taken a liking to use the basement rather than outside.
Hello Lisahanson, Because Champ is older he might he peeing inside for a couple of reasons. Because he is a breed with short hair the cold might bother his joints and he may have a harder time regulating his own body temperature now. You could try putting something warm on him when you take him out, like a dog jacket to make the experience more comfortable for him. He also is likely loosing some of his bladder control with age. As dogs age they need to be taken outside more frequently again. If he is having to hold his bladder for too long, he may be eliminating out of necessity. The more this happens, the more he will loose his desire to try to hold it. Be sure to offer him enough opportunities to go outside. Teaching him to ring a bell when he has to go potty could help. It would give him a way to alert you. Because it makes noise it will be more obvious that he has to go. While he is relearning to go potty outside, you can give him treats whenever he eliminates outside. Only give him the treat right after he eliminates so that he will not ask to go outside when he does not need to go potty though. Use several tiny treats, one at a time to reward him. If you are not able to take him outside as often as he needs or he does not respond to the treats for eliminating outside or the added warmth to make going outside more pleasant you have a couple of other options. The first option is to create a small enclosed area for him to encourage him to hold his bladder so that you can break the habit of him peeing in the basement. You will need to also reward him when he does eliminate outside, to take him out frequently so that he does not begin to eliminated in his small area as well, and to make sure he has a way to let you know that he needs to go potty. Teaching him to ring a bell when he needs to go would work for this, as you can place a bell somewhere within his enclosed area that he can reach it. The second option is to teach him to eliminate on puppy pads or in a litter box. You can teach him to eliminate in either of there places using the methods described in this above article at: https://wagwalking.com/training/use-a-pee-pad-1 To teach him to eliminate in a litter box you can utilize the same methods as you would with the pee pad but just substitute the litter box for the pee pad. An open litter box rather than one with an enclosed top is likely to be easier for him. Best of luck with training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We brought Hazel home last week from a rescue. She had been previously trained to use wee pads, which is perfect for us in a fourth floor apartment. Everything was fine until Wednesday, when she started pooping in other places, but never on the pad. She still pees consistently on the pad. She will literally hold her poop until she is free from her pen and supervision and find a random place to poop.
Hello Eliana, Probably what Hazel needs is a crash course on potty training now that she is in a new environment. The easiest thing to do would be to purchase an exercise pen, create a comfortable sleeping and playing area on one side on the pen and place the pee pad in the other end of it. Pay attention to what time of day she tends to poop at. Some dogs have a consistent time of day. During that time of day make sure that she is inside the exercise pen. Also place her inside the pen after any meals, since eating will cause her to need to go. Purchase a spray designed to encourage elimination, usually called "Hurry Spray", "Training Spray", or something similar. It is typically found in the potty training section of your pet store. Spray the pee pad with this spray to encourage her to go there. You can also leave one poop on a pee pad right next to the new one. The smell should encourage her to go. Only leave one on a pad right next to it though, because if the pad is too dirty she will avoid it. Make sure that you are cleaning up all accidents with a cleaner that contains enzymes. The enzymes will break down the poop on a protein level, and only then will she not be able to smell it anymore. Avoid any cleaners on your floor that contain Ammonia. Ammonia will encourage her to eliminate there because it smells like pee and poop to a dog. She needs to create a habit of pooping on the pads, so until that happens keep her in the exercise pen with interesting toys when you cannot 100% supervise her. To ensure that she cannot sneak off while you are still working on this with her, when she is free from the pen attach a six or eight foot leash to her and clip her to yourself, so that she has to follow you around. Eventually she will have to go on the pads in her crate, even if it takes a day or two. When you catch her going there, go over to her and give her a treat. The more times that you can reward her for going there, the more willing she will be to do it again. Evaluate your home. There might be area rugs or things that resemble pee pads that are confusing her. Especially if she has had accidents that have not been cleaned up with an enzymatic cleaner, and so still smell like poop to her. If all else fails you will need to litter box or toilet box train her, instead of pee pad train her. A toilet box is a plastic or wooden box that contains a piece of grass sod. It smells more natural and does not resemble other things in your home, so it is less confusing for a dog. Litter box training would probably work just as well, and be cleaner though. So I would recommend trying that first. If you are able to contact her previous owners or the rescue who said she was pee pad trained, maybe talk to them and find out how her environment there was set up. Did they have carpet? Was she confined more during the day? Was their home a different size? If she truly was pee pad trained before, without accidents there, then finding out what is different to her at your home might help you solve the problem. One last thing, is to make sure that the area where you have set the pee pad is not the problem. If she tends to prefer privacy while pooping, and the pee pad is out in the open, then mimicking the more private types of places that she is choosing to have accidents at might help, to make her feel more secure about going there. Also, if all else fails have her checked out by your veterinarian, to make sure that her digestive tract is not blocked up. If she tends to hold her poop all the time, then she might have issues going at will because her system is too full of poop, as gross as that may sound. She can have issues with that and still be able to poop, opposed to typical full blockage constipation, depending on the details of her pooping. Your vet will know more if you suspect that problem. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Thank you! We bought one of the grass boxes and will try to get her to eliminate on that. We will pen her at all other times with a pee pad. Eventually she will have to go somewhere appropriate.
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Hello. I've had Reggie for almost 6 years now we've moved around a bunch and he's always had an accident here and there but now he's peeing in our new place pretty much daily. I don't know what to do and I'm not willing to have a place that smells like dog pee or give up my security deposit bc he wants to pee on the carpet. He's super stubborn but I have to figure something out. Help!
Hello Aimee, if your new place has more carpeting than your old place, or if there have been accidents there from other previous dog's in the place, then either of those things could be encouraging him to eliminate there. The smell of old accidents, if they were not cleaned up using enzymatic cleaners, encourages further elimination there, and carpet is absorbent so many dogs that have been trained using pee pads will confuse carpeting with pee pad material. His age also might be making it harder for him to remember where the pee pad is or hold his bladder. I would advise you to set up an exercise pen on a non carpeted area that is easy for him to find. Place the pee pad inside the exercise pen, on top of something that is easy to clean, like a plastic lid. On the opposite side from the pee pad place a non absorbent bed, such as a Primo Pad, cot type bed, or other nylon or vinyl covered foam pad, with interesting toys on the bed for him to chew. Every three to four hours while you are retraining him, place him into the exercise pen on the pee pad, and tell him "Go Potty", then leave him in the exercise pen until he eliminates. If he pees as soon as you place him inside, then give him a treat, and let him back out for three to four hours. When he is not inside, leave the door to the exercise pen open so that he can choose to go there on his own if he needs to eliminate sooner than you are taking him. If you are not at home to place him inside that often, then leave him in the pen while you are gone. If he is still having accidents, then you will need to place him inside the pen even more often and give him less freedom in between pees. If you want to make things especially clear to him, then use the exercise pen, like described above, but instead of pee pads, use a litter box. Here are several Wag articles on how to train him to use the litter box: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy https://wagwalking.com/training/poop-in-a-litter-box The more accidents that you prevent, and the more you motivate him to go to his "Toilet" area by limiting his freedom and giving him rewards for peeing there, the less likely he will be to pee on the carpet. Right now he has no reason to choose the pee pads over the carpet when he needs to eliminate. The pee pads are further away and the carpet is closer, and both are absorbent. When you clean up any old accidents, make sure that you are using a pet safe spray that contains enzymes. The enzymes will break down the pee and poop proteins, which will completely eliminate the smell. Other cleaners only remove the smell enough for people to not be able to smell it, but not enough for a dog, with a more sensitive sense of smell, to not be able to smell it. Also avoid cleaners in the area that contain ammonia, because ammonia smells like urine to a dog, so can encourage elimination. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi there, Sunshine has a past of peeing on the carpet but once she got a little older and really "got it", she has been very consistent and HATES to "go" inside. But she is 3.5 weeks pregnant and seems to be feeling the squeeze already. Sometimes she can't make it all night and one day a week, we leave her inside and are gone about 7-8 hrs. We have put pads down and told her "go potty" while she was on them but it seems the old memory of going on the carpet is stronger. She is so quick to learn I know she will get it but --- I put the pads at the transition from hard floor to carpet, near the place she has used. It sounds like that is wrong as it is a traffic zone. She was sniffing near the kitty litter box last night - what do you think about that location? - (it's more out of the way too). I also have not taken her there to actually go potty when we are home thinking that she should continue going outside when possible. I know she needs to practice using the pads to get used them. Also, I had gotten smallish pads (24") and put 4 together - maybe I need larger ones just so she feels like she has plenty of space. Any advice would be welcomed - Thank you
Hello Sarah, First of all you are correct in assuming that the recent accidents are due to the pregnancy. Being pregnant will make her have to go more frequently. After everything that you have told me, I would honestly recommend that you train her to use a modified litter box or create a different type of toilet area instead of using pee pads. Some dogs confuse the fabric type material of the pee pads with carpet, and since this seems to be an issue for Sunshine, encouraging her to use the pee pads might only make that tendency worse and prevent Sunshine from transitioning back to only eliminating outdoors after the pregnancy. Depending on how large Sunshine is, you can either use a normal open cat litter box or create a large one out of something larger like a shallow plastic Tupperware type container filled with litter. Another option that would be even better for maintaining potty training, but less convenient for you, is to create a portable toilet area out of a shallow plastic Tupperware type container or wooden box, and to fill this container with a piece of grass sod. To retrain Sunshine to eliminate on something indoors check out the article link that I will add at the bottom of this response. I would recommend using the the methods that involves an Exercise Pen. If there is room for the Exercise Pen in the cat litter box room, you can absolutely put it there, as long as there is a few feet between the Exercise Pen and the cat's litter box, then after Sunshine has learned to go to the bathroom in the toilet area inside the Exercise Pen, you can try putting just the toilet area there. The smell of the cat eliminating in her box might encourage Sunshine to eliminate nearby. It is possible that Sunshine is only interested in the cat litter box because many dog's find cat poop tasty, so I would watch out for any attempts at eating the cat poop if Sunshine can access that. Another area, that is more easily accessed would also be fine since Sunshine will be in the Exercise Pen while learning, she will have time to become familiar with where it is, regardless of which spot you use. Here is the article I mentioned. To teach Sunshine to use a box filled with grass sod instead of a litter box, simply substitute the grass box for the litter box and follow the rest of the steps. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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