How to Potty Train a Shelter Dog With These 7 Tricks

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Rescuing a dog from a shelter is noble but how to potty train a shelter dog? The dogs will start causing you frustrations from the very day you bring them home. They will soil on your carpet, rugs, couch, lawn, potted plants, and other unexpected spaces.

Vets associate this housetraining issue to separation anxiety, territorial marking, change of toilet times, weakened housetraining, excitement, or fear. This habit could also be a result simply because your rescue dog doesn’t know where to release itself.

7 Tips for potty training a shelter dog successfully

Whatever the cause, you can fix poor housetraining using the correct potty training procedure for a shelter dog. If it is your first time retraining such a canine and thus need to learn how to potty train a shelter dog, these 7 tips will walk you through the course.

1. Pick a convenient spot, and use it daily

Even a professionally trained dog will soil anywhere, as long as it doesn’t know where to release itself. Therefore, having a designated place for potty breaks should take the first priority in your potty training refresher class.

Pick a place that is a suitable potty place that is convenient for you and your doggo. The place should be spacious and quite private. Since canines use their sense of smell to locate items, place a scoop of your dog’s poo at the potty space to help Fido identify it as the right place to carry out its daily business.

An important point to keep in mind is to decide on your dog’s potty time. This can be immediately after waking up, just before playtime or 5-30 minutes after meals. Once you’ve decided on the potty time, make it a habit to stick to this timing.

When it is time to go potty, leash your rescue dog and head to the potty spot for a break. It’s also important to make sure that you give your dog enough time to relieve itself.

2. Establish a routine to minimize chances of accidents

Canines can master orderly routines easily. You can wire them to eat, play, sleep, or request a potty break, in a specific time which is convenient for you. Therefore, when refreshing your new dog’s house training skills, establish a potty schedule to help Fido fit into your normal lifestyle easily.

Vets recommend that you schedule potty breaks at least six times a day. The best times are when your dog wakes up, 5-30 minutes after a meal, immediately after exercise, and at night before going to bed.

3. Keep an eye on your new furry friend

Even with a designated place and a regular schedule for potty breaks, your new four-legged friend will keep soiling on your rags, carpets, seats, and other unwelcome places for a couple of days.

This displeasing habit will not end on the very day you show your canine the right potty spot. So it would matter to keep an eye on the rescued canine every time, until they master using a potty independently. That way, you will be in a position to realize when Fido wants to release itself, and then, guide it to the right place.

4. Learn Fido’s body language

Since dogs don’t talk, they use body language to request for a potty break. In many cases, the dogs will only release themselves on unwelcome places after several, failed attempts to notify you.

Therefore, if you wish to minimize accidents related to poor communication, take ample time to learn and familiarize with your rescue dog’s body language.

You will want to watch out for common potty break signs like restlessness, pawing the door, licking the groin, sniffing a previously soiled spot, whining, or barking. Dogs use different body signals to communicate but you must stay vigilant.

If you notice any suggestive behavior, take your dog to the potty area immediately.

5. Reward accomplishments

Positive reinforcement is an essential part of dog training. The trick encourages your dog to repeat a positive achievement in exchange for affection, play, treats, favorite dishes, toys, and other rewards. Professional trainers have been using rewards to improve the outcomes of training.

In view of that, when your rescue dog uses its potty successfully, give treats to reinforce the behaviour. Professional trainers recommend that you reward Fido immediately after the potty break.

As your rescue dog masters potty training, limit the use of treats, and instead, reward that four-legged family member with a bit of play, praise, or toys.

6. Clean and deodorize accident spots

Naturally, dogs will want to relieve themselves on a spot they soiled previously. So, if you wish to discourage your dog from re-soiling your surfaces, make sure you clean and deodorize accident spots completely.

Since dogs can sniff even the most undetectable smell, use powerful deodorizers to completely break down the poop and pee smell. If you have no particular deodorizer in mind, here are 2 great deodorizers to consider.

Angry Orange odour eliminator

Angry Orange odor eliminator has powerful enzymes that penetrate deep into your carpet, rugs, wood floor, couches, and other surfaces to break down odor and stains. In fact, it is powerful enough to deodorize barns and stables. After deodorizing, this formula will leave your interior smelling like freshly squeezed oranges.

Amazing outdoor deodorizer

Made from potent, natural enzymes, the Amazing outdoor deodorizer breaks down odours in just a few seconds. You can use it to deodorize grass, concrete, potted plants, patios, and virtually all outdoor surfaces. Amazing outdoor deodorizer is free of poisonous compounds that could harm your animal friends.

7. Never use punishment

Having a dog requires a lot of patience and emphasis on creating routine. This is especially so an adult dog that may soil carpets, rags, seats, and other unwanted surfaces. This habit can annoy, more so when your rescue dog keeps soiling your furnishings and upholstery even after training them for a couple of days.

As much as this habit may annoy you, trainers discourage punishing or rubbing your dog’s nose in the mess. Why? Unlike human beings, dogs will never understand the exact reason you are punishing them. They will keep soiling unwelcome places, no matter the intensity of punishment you offer.

Therefore, it is more important to use positive reinforcement when training your new shelter dog. Keep in mind never to use punishment because it’ll only make it harder for you bond with your new furkid.

Final Thoughts

With the right approach coupled with enough patience, you’ll be able to learn how to potty train a shelter dog easily. Set a static potty station, establish a regular toilet routine, deodorize soiled surfaces, and reward your dog to reinforce positive achievements. With these tips, it won’t take long before your rescue dog starts using its potty independently.

Sheena Mai

I started out with the intention of finding out all I can about dogs because I love dogs but it has now turned into a mission to share my findings and experience with as many people as possible. Dogs are loyal animals but they also have their needs and it's our job to keep them happy and healthy! I hope you will find the information to be useful and thanks for stopping by!


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