You are hereSeptember 2009 - Housebreaking an Adult Dog

September 2009 - Housebreaking an Adult Dog

By topdog - Posted on 02 September 2009

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"If your dog doesn't like someone, you probably shouldn't either." (Unknown)

"Its easy to understand why the cat has eclipsed the dog as modern America's favorite pet. People like pets to possess the same qualities they do. Cats are irresponsible and recognize no authority, yet are completely dependent on others for their material needs. Cats cannot be made to do anything useful. Cats are mean for the fun of it." (P. J. O'Rourke)



"I have attached a picture of our babies: Abigail is 6 months old and Bobby McGee is 1 year old." - Gail and Gary White from Long Sault, Ontario

"Recently we took Maxi on a trip to Rhode Island (Providence and Newport) and we took his stroller along too. We were able to visit department stores and ate at outdoor restaurants. We even received comment from the Manager from the Providence Place that this is the latest trend and they have been seeing a lot of doggy strollers in the store." - Medina and Kent M.

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It might seem like housebreaking adult dogs is more difficult than housetraining a puppy, however, adult dogs have a longer attention span and can focus better. Even older dogs that have been adopted from an animal shelter or humane society may never have been taught to go outdoors - but they can be. Housebreaking adult dogs is not a complicated process, but it does require consistency, patience, and plenty of praise.


  • If your dog was reliably housetained previously and has now begun to have accidents, it's best to take him to the vet to check for any underlying medical conditions that may be causing him to eliminate inappropriately.

  • Accidents will happen. Don't lose your temper or punish your dog. Clean the area very well, as dogs are always tempted to go where they can smell other urine or feces.


  • Designate an area that you want your dog to eliminate. This is where you will always take her. Eventually, the goal is to give her a vocal command and have her go there on her own to do her "business".

  • Choose a vocal command. "Go pee!" or "Go poop!" is simple, but if you find that embarassing, choose something else (remember, you can use any words or combination of words you want -- even ones that don't make sense! -- so long as you use them consistently).

  • Take your dog out on a schedule, several times a day. For instance, you might decide to take her out first thing in the morning, after breakfast, in the afternoon, after dinner, and before bedtime. Keep a consistent feeding schedule since it will make it easier to housetrain her.

  • Immediately bring your dog to the elimination area. Don't allow her to sniff this or that, or get side-tracked in any way. Take her straight to the spot, give her the vocal command, and wait. After she goes, praise her immediately - you want her to associate going outdoors with happy things. Let her know that you're pleased that she's eliminated outdoors.

  • Supervise your pooch. Don't give her a chance to eliminate indoors if at all possible. You can confine her to the same room that you're in, and watch her for signs that she needs to go (ie. sniffing or circling). If you have to leave her alone for a while, consider a crate or kennel. Don't make it too big, as you don't want your dog to divide the kennel into a "bedroom" and a "bathroom" area! It should be just large enough for her to stand, lie down, and turn around comfortably. When you return home, immediately take her outdoors to her elimination area, say the word, and praise her when she's done.

  • If you catch her in the act of eliminating inside, do something to interrupt her. Then take her outside to the same spot, give the vocal command, and praise her if she finishes going there.

With time and consistency, housebreaking adult dogs (just as with puppies) can be done successfully.


For more articles on dog training tips and dog behavior , visit



"I truly believe my Thor is not quite 'working with a full deck' and I have to wonder if he has ANY survival instincts at all!

Incident #1: While viewing the breathtaking scenery at Point Waronsoff - David and Thor were standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. Thor looks down at the sheer drop-off and decides to jump off! (thank DoG he was wearing a harness). Poor David is left standing there looking incredulously at Thor who is now dangling off the cliff wagging his tail and giving a small woof of triumph! The only thing keeping him from falling to his horrible fate is his harness (how many brain cells did he use for this?).

Incident #2: Thor will run with his tail tucked from a pug but will challenge any moose in the near vicinity (the bigger the better)..."

[ Continue reading... ]



  • Saturday, September 12, 2009: Burnaby, BC - SAINTS is having its 3rd Annual Wishes for Whiskers Silent Auction Fundraiser, featuring a live auction and a full course meal. SAINTS is an end-of-life sanctuary for senior and special needs animals that have nowhere else to go. More info

  • Sunday, September 13, 2009: Victoria, BC - the BC SPCA and Wild ARC are jointly running the 2009 Paws for a Cause event to raise awareness and funds for the animals in their care. More info

  • Sunday, September 13, 2009: Ottawa, Ontario - the Ottawa Humane society is holding their 21st annual Wiggle Waggle Walkathon. More info

  • September 19 & 20, 2009: Charlottetown, PEI - the PEI Humane Society is holding the first-ever PEI Pet Expo at the Crapaud Actiplex. More info

  • Saturday, October 10, 2009: Langley, BC -- German Shepherd Rescue of British Columbia is having its 2nd Annual Dogtoberfest, a fundraising pub night to be held at Jimmy Mac's Pub. More info

If your non-profit pet organization is holding an event, please send us the details!



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