Adult Dog House Training
Your Guide to Housebreaking

The ultimate secret to adult dog house training is to keep in mind the dog's natural instincts, prevent accidents from happening and reward every time the dog successfully eliminates outside.

If these basic guidelines are followed, the process of housetraining a dog will be more manageable and effective.

Whether you own a dog that was previously house broken but is now eliminating in the home or just got a new dog that was never house trained, you will need to play "pet detective" to determine the best course of action when training older dogs.

Also, while the goal of this article is to explain how to housebreak an adult dog, a lot of the suggestions that follow are just as useful when housetraining young puppies.

Causes of House Soiling in Previously Housebroken Dogs

If you own a dog that was previously housebroken but is now eliminating in the home, you will need to get down to the root cause of this problem.

Because a host of medical conditions may be contributing to the problem, the very first step before you start adult dog house training would be to seek the advice of a veterinarian.

For instance, if your dog is urinating in the home, he may be suffering from a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, hormonal incontinence or a systemic disease affecting the liver or kidneys. If your dog is defecating in the home, consider that digestive upset, parasites or a spinal cord injury may be contributing to the problem. Pain, stiff joints and dementia in older dogs may also be causing elimination problems.

Once medical causes have been ruled out, you may start considering behavioral problems.

If the elimination issue happens only when you leave the house, your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety.

Stress due to new changes causing disruption in the dog's routine may also be contributing to the problem. For instance, the arrival of a new baby, the death of a family member, a new move or the addition of another pet may be triggering the inappropriate elimination.

In extreme cases, housebreaking a dog suffering from behavior problems may require the intervention of dog behavior specialist.

House Training a Dog

Causes of House Soiling in New Dogs

If you recently opened your heart and home to a new canine companion, consider that he may be stressed from being in a new environment or he may have never been housebroken. Give him some time. Even fully house trained dogs are prone to accidents when new surroundings and a new schedule disrupt their routine. If so, after getting used to your place and warming up to your new family, the number of accidents should decrease.

If you got your dog from a shelter or a family that used to keep him outdoors, chances are high he may have never been housebroken. In this case, the process of adult dog house training requires patience as you provide your new companion some gentle guidance necessary for helping him out through the house training process.


House training an older dog that was previously housebroken will be easier and quicker than housebreaking a dog that was never housebroken.

If your newly acquired dog is an intact male, consider that he may be marking rather than urinating. When marking, dogs tend to lift their leg only to dribble a small amount of urine, most often on vertical surfaces. The purpose of this is to cover items with scent rather than emptying the bladder due to a physiological need.

Considerations for House Training Adult Dogs

Often, owners of older dogs decide to start adult dog house training by following a training program structured for puppies. As much as this may make sense since the ultimate goal is training a dog to eliminate outdoors, there are some major differences.

First and foremost, adult dogs will need to be taken outside on a less frequent basis simply because they have better bowel and bladder control. Secondly, adult dogs may provide some challenges due to the fact that they had plenty of time to establish bad habits that will take longer to break when compared to training a young puppy.

If your adult dog has never been placed in a crate before, he may find the experience scary and intimidating. More resistance may be noticed in crate training an adult dog when compared to a puppy being introduced to a crate for the very first time. Take some time to introduce the crate gradually and teach that great things happen inside.

If your adult dog is still terrified about being closed in a crate despite your effort in making it a great place, skip this option and confine your dog in a dog exercise pen or an area closed off by baby gates.

Items Needed for House Training a Dog

No house training an older dog program can be complete without the aid of some products. The following products will help you through the adult dog house training process:

  1. A crate, exercise pen or an area blocked off by baby gates to keep the dog in when you are unable to supervise.
  2. A collar and leash when you need to take your dog on potty trips.
  3. High-value treats to reward successful trips outside are essential for a successful house training program.
  4. A chart displaying feeding times and times for trips outdoors.
  5. An enzyme-based feces and urine cleaner to clean up messes without leaving lingering odors behind.
  6. Some pee pads or a litter box to start litter box training for dogs may be necessary if you work long hours and outdoor potty training is not a feasible solution at this time.

Here is a brief video that provides additional tips on adult dog house training...

Final Thoughts...

As seen, the process of housebreaking dogs requires patience, determination and time. As much as adult dog house training may appear like a tedious job, the good news is that eventually all dogs will learn to eliminate outdoors.

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

I also recommend you study and follow this house training eBook. Like most books on house training, this one will teach you how to housebreak a young puppy. What distinguishes it from the rest is that it also provides the information you need to housebreak an older dog.


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