Many people just give up trying to house train an older dog, and in some cases it puts people off rescuing older dogs. But it’s a myth that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

In fact house training an older dog is much the same as house training a puppy. The problem with adult dogs is that they may have picked up some bad habits, and so you need to start at the very beginning.

Try taking these simple steps and you’ll have a reliable pet who won’t be giving you any special surprises!

1. See the vet.  Just to make sure there are no medical / physical reasons for the behaviour.  Do this before you start your training program.

2. Clean any soiled areas with an enzyme based cleaner. These will break down the smell that encourages dogs to use your floors like the great outdoors.  It can be very economical to make them up yourself, plus they’re better for the environment, you and your family, and your pet’s health.

3. Leash your dog to you when you’re home. When he starts to mess, tell him “no.” Then take him outside, give him a command for going, and praise him when he completes his business.

4. Take him out often. Make sure you take your dog outside often and consistently. When he does the right thing, make sure to praise him. Don’t forget the positive reinforcement!

5. Gradually increase his freedom. Give him more room in the house, and as he demonstrates that he know the rules, you can give him more space.

6. Accidents happen.   If you catch him in the act, tell your dog “no,” take him outside, and praise him when he finishes. If you’re not catching him, you need to keep closer tabs on him and go back to the leash.  Remember dogs do not do things to “spite” you, they are not being “naughty” – they are being dogs! 

There’s no point in admonishing them after the event – they simply don’t understand and you’ll be wasting your time and creating stress for you and your pet, making the job harder in the long run.

7. Gradually increase his freedom. Give him more room in the house, and as he demonstrates that he know the rules, you can give him more space.

Be persistent and patient and you’ll have a house-trained pooch in no time!



How do I start house training my dog?

“Teaching your dog not to mess in the house involves persistence and patience on your part. Steps include taking him outside regularly and praising him when he does his business there. You should also clean any messes in the house with an enzyme-based cleaner to take away the familiar smells that encourage him to use the floor as a toilet.”



Petsecure offers competitive insurance for dogs across Australia – learn more here

The following two tabs change content below.

Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals

Latest posts by Liz Walden (see all)