How to Train Your Dog to Use Fake Grass

How to Train Your Dog to Use Fake Grass
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-2 Months
General training category iconGeneral

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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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The Pick a Spot Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Dogs Love Routine Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Getting Smaller Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

By PB Getz

Published: 11/10/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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BINGO

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Maltese

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Ten Months

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Question

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How to Train Your Dog to Not BARKING. WE ARE IN A COMPLEX

Aug. 12, 2022

BINGO's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello, I suggest combining a few things in your case. You need a way to communicate with pup so I suggest teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below - don't expect this alone to work but it will be part of the puzzle for what I will suggest next. If you can't practice this at home because it will disturb your neighbors, I would see if a friend or family member without neighbors as close would let you practice there a few times just to initially teach pup what the command means - maybe while the person is away at work so they don't have to listen to the barking during practice either. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, once pup understands what Quiet means you will choose an interrupter - neither too harsh nor ineffective. A Pet Convincer is one example of an interrupter. A pet convincer is a small canister of pressurized, unscented air that you can spray a quick puff of at the dog's side to surprise them enough to help them calm back down. (Don't use citronella and avoid spraying in the face!). Another option is a small stimulated based bark collar. In situations where you know pup will bark or is already barking (catch them before they bark if you can), command "Quiet". If they obey, reward with a treat and very calm praise. If they bark anyway or continue to bark, say "Ah Ah" firmly but calmly and give a brief correction. Repeat the correction each time they bark until you get a brief pause in the barking. When they pause their barking, praise and reward then. The combination of communication, correction, and rewarding - with the "Ah Ah" and praise to mark their good and bad behavior with the right timing, is very important. Once pup is calmer in general after the initial training, practice exposing Bingo a lot to the things that trigger the barking normally (make a list - even if it's long). Whenever they DON'T bark around something that they normally would have, calmly praise and reward them to continue the desensitization process. If the barking mainly happens while you are not home, then after initially teaching pup not to bark while you are there, while you are away I would use something to enforce the training while you are gone. For some dogs this might be something to alleviate boredom like an automatic treat dispenser that can be programmed to release treats when it detects no barking for a certain amount of time, like models of auto trainer or pet tutor, or a stimulated based bark collar for dogs who enjoy barking itself and get worked up by barking repetitively. I also recommend having pup stay where they can't see out the window while you are away if pup tends to bark at things out the window - practicing that without you there to intervene can lead to the barking habit becoming stronger. A crate or other room while away can help those cases. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Aug. 12, 2022

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Ohana

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Siberian Husky

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2 Years

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She gets aggressive towards other dogs. What is interesting is that if a human intervenes she’ll just be normal again. No aggression towards the human what so ever. She’ll want to attack a dog if she gets close to one.

Nov. 29, 2021

Ohana's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Arshi, I would see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area you can attend with her. That class is a class for dog reactive/aggressive dogs, who were basket muzzles during class and are intensively socialized with each other in a structured environment, under the guidance of the class instructor. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Nov. 30, 2021


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