How to Train Your Dog to Use Fake Grass

Medium
1-2 Months
General

Introduction

Training your dog to go potty outside is hard enough, but what if you need to leave your pup alone at home for hours at a time. You can't leave him kenneled for this long on a daily basis as it is not healthy. Your pup will not pee or poop in his kennel unless he has no choice, just as a wolf will not defecate or urinate in his den. One way to deal with this is to train your dog to use fake grass both indoors and out.

By doing this, you can teach your pup to do his business on a small piece of fake grass that is placed in a specific place in your home. Not only will this keep any messes he might make all in one place, it will allow him to be free in your home instead of caged up for hours at a time. The same concepts can be applied to help your dog adapt to using artificial turf outside in your yard, if necessary. 

Defining Tasks

The concept is to teach your pup that it is only okay for him to relieve himself in your home when he does so on the fake grass. The only real problem with this is that if you have already trained him to go outside to go potty it can be hard to train him to do so in the house. This is a big change for both of you, who have worked so hard to get him to go outside.

The best way to make this training stick is to pick one location in your home to place the fake grass and leave it there. Moving it around will only confuse your pup and make it that much harder to successfully train your pup. Be aware that it can take your pup a few weeks to master this skill and not forget how to do his business outside when appropriate. 

Getting Started

Start training your pup during a time when your house is nice and quiet. It is so much easier to train when there aren't any distractions. Be sure to choose a spot in your home with a hard floor, not carpet. It is possible, at least in the beginning, that your pup might miss the fake grass from time to time and his urine may soak through onto the floor. You will also need a few supplies, including:

  • Treats: You need a way to reward your pup.
  • Leash: To lead your dog to the fake grass and hold him there until he goes potty.
  • The fake grass: You need a large piece of fake grass that can be cut to size as needed.
  • Patience: This type of training takes plenty of patience if you want it to be successful.
  • Time: Be prepared, it will take your pup some time to master this new "skill."

Once you have all supplies gathered, the only thing left for you is to commit to the time needed to work with your pup several times a day until he masters this skill. The good news is your pup is very smart and loves learning new things, make use of this along with plenty of treats and he will soon know where to go potty when he can't get outside. 

The Pick a Spot Method

Most Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Choose your spot or rather, his
Pick a spot in your home for your pup's fake grass potty. It should be on linoleum, tiles, hardwood, anything but carpet. If you don't have a spot like this, you can put plastic or a tray under the fake grass to protect the floor beneath. Once you have chosen a spot, stick to it, as moving it around will only confuse him.
Step
2
Never trust your dog
Just because your pup understands that the real grass outside is where he is supposed to go potty, don't assume he will automatically start using the "fake grass" on the inside. Chances are he won't want to, especially now that you have worked so hard to get him to go outside.
Step
3
Back to potty training 101
Remember taking your puppy outside every half hour whether he looked like he needed to go or not? Well, training him to use the fake grass on the inside will be a lot like doing this all over again. Keep your pup on a leash at the beginning and walk him over to the fake grass every 30 minutes or so. When he goes potty, be sure to reward him and give him lots of praise.
Step
4
Take the leash off
Now you should be able to take his leash off and let him roam free. Keep a close eye on him and watch to see if he goes to the fake grass or tries to go somewhere else. If he goes on the fake grass, give him a treat, if not go back to working with him on a leash until he does.
Step
5
Repeat this step
Repeat this until your pup will go over to the mat on his own without the leash on. Each time he goes potty on the fake grass successfully, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Recommend training method?

The Dogs Love Routine Method

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Step
1
Pick a spot
Find a safe place in your home to place the fake grass, one that you can leave it in place and that your dog will be able to find easily that is not near his kennel if you use one.
Step
2
Take it to the mat
Just like in the early days of potty training your dog, you will need to take him to the mat (fake grass) frequently during the day, when you first get up, just before bedtime, and after meals or when he drinks a lot of water.
Step
3
Stand in place
Once you have your dog standing on the fake grass, make him stand there for ten minutes. The idea is to give him enough time to decide he needs to go potty. If he finally goes, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Step
4
When he won't go
If he hasn't gone potty after ten minutes, release him and keep a close eye on him. If he shows any indication that he might need to go potty, usher him over to the fake grass. This may take a while, but you need to watch him closely or you may end up with messes to clean up.
Step
5
Keep trying
Once your pup has decided that it's okay to use the fake grass as his potty, the rest involves plenty of practice, but in time he will get the message and you will no longer have messes to clean up.
Recommend training method?

The Getting Smaller Method

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0 Votes
Step
1
Pick a room
Find a room in your house that has a solid floor such as the kitchen or bathroom, one that you can confine your dog in during the training process. It should be a room in which you can cover the bulk of the floor with fake grass.
Step
2
Lay out the grass
Lay the roll of fake grass out flat, leaving as little open floor as possible for your dog to use instead of the grass.
Step
3
Enter the pup
Place your pup in the room and barricade him in it. When he does his business on the fake grass, be sure to give him treats and a heap of praise.
Step
4
Reduction time
Start cutting the fake grass, making it smaller by about one foot all around every three days. If he keeps going on the fake grass, give him plenty of treats. If not, put the fake grass you cut out back in place and work with him until you can start removing sections again.
Step
5
Work your way down
Keep repeating this process until you have cut the piece of fake grass down to the size you plan to use. Keep working with your pup using treats until he never misses the fake grass and voila! Your pup will always use the fake grass in the house to go potty.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Milo
Maltipoo
5 Years
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Question
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Milo
Maltipoo
5 Years

I bought a grass mat for Milo about 2 months ago and he doesn’t want to use it. I give him treats and take him to the grass but he just leaves. What can I do so he could use the fake grass?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gennesis, Check out the Crate Training method from the article I have linked below. I would also increase the size of the fake grass area while training, so that it's about four times the size of what's in the picture. You can also try adding potty encouraging scent to it, like "Hurry!" spray or similar. Finally, if pup is used to going potty outside on the grass, I would try using disposable real grass pads instead of the fake grass - although fake grass is called grass, the texture and smell resembles carpeting more than grass, so many dogs feel like they are doing something wrong by peeing on it. Real grass pads smell and feel like real grass, but are made for indoor use, so are often easier for a dog to transition to. Crate Training method:- this method can be used with a variety of indoor potties, not just litter boxes. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Disposable real grass pad brands - often found on Amazon too. www.freshpatch.com www.porchpotty.com www.doggielawn.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Jaanu
Labrador Retriever
2 Months
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Question
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Jaanu
Labrador Retriever
2 Months

My pup loves to chew and dig up the natural grass. I am worried that it will start chewing synthetic grass. What can I do to prevent it?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
132 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. You can spray it with some vinegar. Dogs really hate the taste of anything bitter. It's all natural so it won't hurt them if they get some in their mouths. Also, it acts as a really good and safe cleaning agent if your dog uses the fake grass to use the bathroom.

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Question
Otis
Pomapoo
7 Weeks
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Question
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Otis
Pomapoo
7 Weeks

So I just got a puppy and I purchased some fake grass however I made the mistake of using the fake grass in his crate where he slept the first night. I separated the crate and put the fake grass in a box where he can get into if needed however he does not want to go in the fake grass. There’s a couple times where I was able to rush him into the fake grass and he went but a lot of the time he either tries to jump out and escape or just forget about going until I take him out. I’m here now writing this because I felt so bad this last time he was about to go and I put him in the grass but he wouldn’t go and kept trying to get out so I took him back out and put him back in when he was about to go again and we repeated this a few times until he just sat there sad or confused staring at me and just forgot about going and I knew I had definitely done something wrong. Like was I supposed to let him go out of the grass ? He was doing fine going in the fake grass as a last result but seeing him whine and try to escape makes me feel bad. I’m thinking he still thinks of the grass as his former bed? Or Is it the box I should get rid of or the fake grass maybe? Or maybe I should try to use treats as reinforcements to help? Keep in mind He can’t go outside into the grass yet because he needs his shots which is in a few weeks.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
132 Dog owners recommended

Hi! It is likely he just doesn't quite understand that is where he is suppose to go yet. It can take a month, sometimes longer to potty train a new puppy. The box looks great! I would continue doing what you are doing, but start giving treats when he goes. Treats and lots of praise. It make take another week or so of trial and error, but he WILL get it. Just be as consistent as possible for now.

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Question
Trixie
Maltese Shih Tzu
4 Months
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Question
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Trixie
Maltese Shih Tzu
4 Months

Me and my partner works full time 5 days a week. As of now, since we are working from home we take our puppy to the backyard every 30 minutes to toilet train. But once we start going back to our offices, we wanted her to be used to toilet train on the fake grass pads. So we have bought one and kept it near the back door and we occasionally take her over there instead of taking her to the backyard and she successfully do toilet there. We are also trying to teach her to get used to be alone at home. So we put her inside a playpen attached to her crate and we keep this fake grass in a corner of the playpen. The only problem is once we are out of sight, she pees there and then sit on top of the grass and starts playing. She then chew, bite and eat and pull that fake grass away from that tray. I don't know how to make her understand that the grass pad is her toilet place and not the play area.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello Anjali, First, I would teach pup the Drop It command. Practice drop it and leave it while on the fake grass, while also rewarding pup with treats whenever she goes potty on the grass pad - so she doesn't just start to avoid the grass while learning drop it and leave it. Keep your drop it and leave it commands monotone not angry or harsh. Second, when you leave her in the exercise pen with the grass, stuff a couple of hollow chew toys with dog food to encourage her to chew those instead. You may also need to switch to a different grass pad that can't be pulled away as easily. Drop It section: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-to-fetch/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite To stuff a kong you can either place pup's dry dog food loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food will dispense more slowly, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and free overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup and grab the kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. You can also purchase several durable hollow chew toys and stuff them at the same time so that you have a stash in the freezer to grab from as needed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Zoey
Golden Retriever
10 Months
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Question
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Zoey
Golden Retriever
10 Months

we just moved and we make specialy for her spot cover with send to use for pee and poop and she hate it what to do we just want her to train in one spot the she don't pee allover the house any segesting

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
132 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to give you some training information on how to work with your dog to use a potty pad. Choose Your Spot Pick a space in your house where you want your dog to go. Obviously, you’ll want this spot to be a low-traffic area. Make sure this spot is easily accessible to your dog, and make sure the floor surface is linoleum or tile, as opposed to carpet. If your dog “misses,” it will be easier to clean up. If the only spot you can put the pee pad is a carpet, you might consider getting a small tarp to put underneath the puppy pee pad to guard against spillage. Choose a spot that is outside of your “smell zone.” An important tip to remember is to make sure not to let your dog decide the spot he likes. Not only might he pick an area you won’t like, but he’ll learn that he is in charge – not you – which can cause a host of problems down the line. Monitor Your Dog When you are potty training your dog, full-time monitoring is an absolute necessity. It’s impossible to correct bad behaviors if you don’t see them happen. Dogs have very short memories. It is important to catch your dog in the act. If your dog goes on the floor, and you try to correct him hours after the fact, he will be confused and upset, not knowing what he did wrong. This can hinder training and your relationship with your dog. Puppies, in particular, must be watched constantly. They have less control over their bowels and will go when they have to go. If you miss these moments, you lose precious training opportunities. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to be with your dog 24 hours a day, but try to spend more time at home during the weeks you are potty training – it will pay off in the long run. Learn Your Dog’s Schedule Dogs, for the most part, are predictable. They will go to the bathroom at predictable times. You should be able to learn when your dog has to go based on timing as much as on his signals. Take some time to study your dog’s bathroom habits. You’ll learn the amount of time after he eats or drinks that he has to go, and you’ll get in rhythm with his daily bathroom schedule. This will help you reduce accidents and speed up the potty training process. Studying your dog’s habits can also help you identify his bathroom “triggers” – like having to go after a certain amount of playtime. Once you learn your dog’s schedule, use it to your advantage in potty training. Bring him to the pee pad a few minutes before he normally goes, and encourage him. This will help him get used to going in the right spot, and help you establish repetition in your training. Choose a Command Word Dogs have keen senses – they respond to sight, smell, and sound. When you begin pee pad training, choose a command word and use it every time you take your dog to the pad. Just about any word will work. The tone of your voice is more important than the actual word. Try phrases like “go on” or “go potty” in a slightly elevated, encouraging tone. Make sure to repeat this same command, in the same tone, every time you take your dog to the pee pad. Avoid Punishment When your dog has an accident, it’s just that – an accident. When you punish your dog during potty training, he will become confused and scared. He doesn’t know what he’s done wrong, and can’t understand why the person he loves most is mad at him. Most importantly, it will not help his potty training. Positive Reinforcement Both human and dog behavior is largely based on incentives. Dogs’ incentives are very simple – they want to eat when they are hungry, play when they are excited, and sleep when they are tired. But the most important thing your dog wants in life is to please you. Use this to your advantage. Whenever your dog goes on his potty training pad, shower him with lots of praise. If he sees that he gets praise for doing his business on the pad, he will be incentivized to keep going on the pad – and he’ll be excited to do it! Potty training – whether it’s a pee pad or going outside – will take time, but if you do it right, can take less time. Many dogs are potty trained in less than two weeks. Just remember that you and your dog are partners. Do everything you can to help him learn the proper etiquette, and you will enjoy a long, quality relationship together. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.

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