Usually, dog owners take their dogs outside so that they can relieve themselves. Though dogs are usually trained to hold their bladder till their owner can take them out, most people are adopting the new trend of litter training their dogs. Litter boxes work best for dogs that are very small in size. Also, people do not have to worry about taking their dogs outside while they are traveling, or when the climate is such that it is impossible to take the dog outside. Although it is easy to introduce the litter box to a young puppy, you can also train an adult dog who is accustomed to go out of the house to eliminate. Another advantage of training your dog to use the litter box is that your pet will not have to wait for you to come back home to relieve himself. This can also prevent the development of health problems that can be caused due to 'holding in' the bodily functions.
How to Litter Train a Dog
The first step would be to find a good litter box for your pet dog. You can either choose a large cat litter box or buy one that is specially made for dogs. If your dog has had paper or crate training, it will be easier for you to teach it to use the litter box. The next step would be to choose an appropriate place to keep the litter box. It is best not to keep the litter box near the place where you feed the dog. The dog may not like it and may refuse to use the litter box. Also, the box should be kept at a place where it is easy for you to clean, as there are chances that the surrounding areas will become dirty at times.
Once you choose the place for the litter box, you can start with the training process. Initially, you have to make your pet is comfortable with the litter box. Encourage your dog to climb in and out of it, like a game. When the dog understands that there is nothing to be scared of about the litter box, it will be more ready to start using it for the purpose of excreting. After this is done, lay some dog litter, which is available in the stores where you can buy the litter box. Lay the dog litter in the box, as the odor of the litter can help the dog understand that it is the place that has to be used for elimination.
When you think that your dog has to eliminate, place it in the litter box and encourage it by using a phrase like 'use the box'. This phrase has to be used each time. Soon, the dog will understand its meaning. Placing a paper towel or newspaper sprayed with dog urine in the litter box will also help in training it to use the litter box for these purposes. Whenever your dog uses the litter box correctly, do not forget to reward it with dog treats. If this is done regularly, it will definitely be trained to associate using the litter box with praise and good behavior.
Problems Experienced During Training
Though teaching a dog to use the litter box is possible, it is surely not easy. Your dog may use the litter box for the first time, but this does not mean that it will use the box regularly without you guiding him. This is not possible, and there are chances of accidents happening during this time. If your pet dog relieves himself at some other place in your house, do not reprimand it. Rather, clean the area well with bleaching powder and make sure that you eliminate all the odors because if not, the dog may eliminate again in the same place. If you see your dog eliminating or about to eliminate at a place other than the litter box, you have to say a firm 'no'. This would make your dog stop, after which you can take it to the litter box. However, never hit or scold it for eliminating somewhere else other than the litter box. When it uses the litter box, remember to reward it with kind words, a pat on the back, etc.
One thing you have to understand is that this training requires lot of patience, and the chances of accidents are quite high. If you follow the correct instructions, your pet canine will surely learn to use the litter box on a regular basis. However, if it does not do this even after following the correct method or if it stops using the litter box after being trained to use it successfully, there are chances that it might be suffering from health problems. Hence, in such cases, consult a health practitioner to find the root cause of the problem.