Old Doggie, New Trick? It’s Possible To House-Train An Older Doggie

There are only two main challenges with potty training a Doggie.  Number one and number two.  I heard a distant rim shot, did you hear it?  Sorry, lame joke.  Anyways…

So there’s a Doggie.  His name is Zeus.  Zeus is a very small chihuaha and he’s 6 years old.  He was adopted by a loving family a year ago and they are at their wit’s end because Zeus is not house-broken; he pees on everything.  The family has had to rip up carpet and change drapes.  They are about to give up on him, but they know that letting go of Zeus means their son will be heart-broken.  And they love Zeus.  They just don’t like the fact that he is like a miniature, uncontrolled fire hose.  They have this mental block.  He’s too old to train.  He has years of un-learning to do.  They are not sure if it’s even possible.

This family should breathe easy.  With just a little bit of effort and time, their Doggie can absolutely learn that peeing in the house is a no-no.  The problem is that Zeus just doesn’t know where to go and where not to go.  The problem is not Zeus, the problem is structure.  So there are only two steps to fixing this unfiltered fire hose named Zeus.

  1.  He should be supervised whenever possible.  Actively supervised, inside and outside.  That means his human is with him and is not distracted by anything else.  No phones, no tablet, no TV.
  2. If Zeus cannot be supervised, he needs to be safely confined in a crate.  Doggies tend not to urinate in their sleeping places.  If Zeus is going to be alone for any length of time, he should be kept in a room without carpet, but with some potty pads.

If his people follow these two simple rules they will never have to ask the question, “Where’s Zeus.” He will be with them or safely confined. In neither case will he be sneaking away to another room to poop or pee.

When it’s time to go outside to go potty, Zeus still needs to be supervised.  Once he goes, his human should immediately praise him and give him a treatHis human should be prepared and have the treat ready on the spot.  Don’t wait for Zeus to come back inside.  This will teach him that going potty outside gets a better payoff than going potty inside.  That should keep him focused and on the right track.

This ultra-supervision can be stepped-down over time as Zeus learns and gets into the habit of going outside rather than inside.  The family can keep the Doggie, the carpet and the drapes!


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