An Approach to Housetraining an Adult Dog
Bringing an adult dog into your home demands as much effort from you and the family as does a puppy. It’s a mistake to think that just because the dog is full-grown and may have been potty trained in one home, that he’ll just immediately adjust to your home’s elimination schedule, too.
That’s not realistic. The dog has many adjustments to his new environment and doesn’t instinctively know that you don’t allow peeing on the floor – especially his prior owner didn’t mind or didn’t seem to care.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because he’s an adult dog that he’ll just “know” what to do. Start with him as if he were a puppy and gradually teach him the routine of your home’s pet potty schedule.
You probably need to start with crate training or restriction to a bathroom. Then set a schedule for potty breaks. Adult dogs are very picky about finding a potty place outside that’s apart from where they play, just as they don’t like to potty near where they sleep or eat.
Help him find that place in your yard or outside when walking and return him there for subsequent potty breaks. You have to monitor the potty breaks for several weeks to learn your dog’s elimination patterns.
You also have to set morning and evening feeding times. He may not have had such an organized life schedule, so this could take time for adjustment. Don’t believe that old saying, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” It’s not the age of the dog that matters – it’s the consistency of the owner.
If your dog came from an abusive home, even if is was just filled with shouting and hitting with paper for any accidents, then your training efforts may take longer. First you have to win the dog’s confidence and understand that he needs time to get comfortable in his new home.
There will be accidents, so be prepared to clean it up and move forward. Don’t assume that an adult dog will be any easier to train than a puppy. Both dogs would face the same adjustment issues. You have to train with consistency and affection so that you reinforce the responses that you want repeated.
An older male dog may be accustomed to marking his territory by urinating on it. This is an instinctive behavior for male dogs – you aren’t going to break him of it without breaking his spirit or having him neutered.