Saturday, April 11, 2015

1164. Toilet-training a 4-year-old dog

Dear Judy,

I need help with training my 4 year old dog to do his business at the right place. When he was a puppy, our family was not sure of how to train him and so many people had many different ways of teaching or scolding him that I believe he got confused and didn't learn it well. We later moved to another home and it got worse! As a male (but neutered), he started to mark places like our sofas, mats and even beds and we had absolutely no way of stopping him that my father decided to confine him to an area for good.

I have been very busy at work and next week, my father is travelling for 1 week so I have decided to take a week's leave and train him proper. I am unsure of how to do it; should I get a pee tray with walls or without since he lifts his leg while he pees, or should I get a belly band etc. I noticed he responds quite well to clicker training and I plan to implement that while training him.

So far, my plan is to get a pee tray (please advise on whether I should get one or not, and should I get one with height or without) and then soil it with his own pee so that he can smell it but should I click it when he sniffs it or when he steps on it? I am not even sure if he will want to do his business there or not!

Please help!

Thank you so much and I truly appreciate it that you're posting useful information to guide dog owners!

Amanda H.

I am Dr Sing Kong Yuen. Thank you for your email.
1. Your dog is 4 years old and therefore will need more than one week to toilet train him, unlike a 3-month-old puppy.
2. Your home is full of urine smells. Neutralise the smells.
3. Confinement to an area is still important. Pee tray with walls will be needed.
4. Belly band is not a method of toilet training but to prevent him urine-marking by some dog owners.
5. Urine marking is due to belated neutering. When did you neuter him?
6. Your clicker is meant to replace verbal cue. Therefore, click when the action is desired (e.g  stepping on the pee tray to pee). Give a food treat reward.
7. One alternative is to take him downstairs twice or thrice a day and use clicker training.   

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