House Training – The Leash and Crate Mix

There may be times when you have to give a refresher course in house training if your dog begins to have ‘accidents’ in the house. This can happen if you get a new adult dog in your home or your dog is returning from being in a kennel for a while where conditions were not the same as at home.

Rather than full crate training, you can try a combination of crate and leash training. It should not take long for your dog to remember the routine or for an adult dog to learn it (assuming they were trained at one time).

You can do this is to return him to the crate during the day when there is no one home and use a leash that’s not overly restrictive when you’re present so that he stays near you at all times.

Start as you would with a puppy and set up regular potty breaks. Make sure that you time the elimination breaks with enough time after feeding so the dog can do something meaningful on the trip outside.

Spend the weekend closely observing him on the leash whenever he’s out of the crate so that you begin to recognize the signs that he needs to potty. He may shake, sniff around, act agitated or start to squat. Those are your signals to stop what you’re doing and immediately take him to potty.

Remember to praise him lavishly when he does his business during the potty break. That’s the positive reinforcement needed to show your dog where he’s supposed to do his business. It usually will not take long to get back to being trained.

If, during your absence, your dog stayed in a kennel where he eliminated, ate and slept in the same area, then he may have lost his earlier training. He’s also probably very depressed and dejected.

Dogs don’t like to mix potty with living space anymore than you want to eliminate on the floor in your kitchen. So he needs to start again and build up confidence in his potty skills and in the willingness of the adult on duty to take him out when he needs to go. You may find this will take a little longer as you have to build up his confidence again. Be patient.

An adult dog has better bladder control than a puppy, so he can usually go longer periods between potty breaks. However, senior dogs may develop bladder control problems. Make sure to visit your vet to make sure your dog does not have a urinary tract infection, diarrhea or other medical problem that’s the cause of his accidents. In many cases, the age-related incontinence can be treated.

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