If you are considering getting a rescue dog it’s important to be aware that house training may be more difficult than with dogs that you raise from puppies. Adult dogs have learned behaviours from their previous owners (or lack thereof) and you will need to apply specific techniques to remedy these issues. While it may not always be possible to eliminate undesirable behaviours, training your dog in the basics and sticking with it should bring about positive results.
Dog behavior changes after adoption: You cannot expect a pet dog that has lived its whole life in a kennel or cage to behave the same way as one brought up in your home.
House Training a Rescue Dog
If you adopt a rescue dog, of course the chances are good that it will need some house training. Even if the dog is already housebroken, you should continue to work at this process after adoption.
It can be difficult to get a rescue dog housebroken. This is because most rescue dogs have never lived in a home and they do not know how to use the bathroom outdoors. After all, they have been kept inside their entire lives. You may need to teach them how to do this before you can work on house training your own dog. Remember to be kind and patient.
How to House Train a Rescue dog
Go outside with your rescue dog for the first few times to show him where his toileting place is – usually the garden or yard. If it has a grassy area he will start to sniff and probably wee automatically. If you have a concreted yard consider buying a piece of turf to help with this. For the first few days you will need to maintain this routine every two to three hours and combine it with regular walkies – at least 2 or 3 a day!
Look out for dogs eating their own poop – this is not something that they should be doing. It can be indicative of boredom or an inadequate diet.
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Positive Reinforcement – Treat your dog!
When your dog does go to the toilet outside in the correct place, act so happy and treat your dog with some tasty treats. High value dog treats such as chicken and ham work well! This is the important bit – get the treat ready when he starts sniffing, The dog needs to receive the treat within 5 seconds of doing his wee or poop in order to realise what it is for!
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If you are clicker training your dog you will find this a very positive method. You need to get the dog used to the clicker first so click and reward within 5 seconds and repeat this a number of times over a number of days. You can then use the clicker to mark the positive action of going to the toilet – the dog knows it is a good behaviour and will get his treat. This encourages him to continue to go in the correct place. Any ‘accidents’ can be ignored, but clean thoroughly with antibacterial spray that will get rid of the smell indoors.
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Avoid Shouting at, Hitting or Scalding your Rescue dog
Most of the time, if you shout at, hit or punish your rescue dog, he won’t understand what it is for. It will just instill fear, break down your relationship and put your dog back in his training. So avoid punishment methods, especially for toilet training, It is bad for your relationship with your dog and there is no need as he will respond to the positive reinforcement technique.
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