It’s a sad fact that many puppies and dogs are often surrendered to shelters or returned to shelters shortly after being adopted because of some house training issue. What can be done to prevent this from happening and are there any steps shelters can take to reduce puppies and dogs from being returned to the shelter? Knowledge about dogs that are difficult to house train is key. Potential puppy and dog owners should be aware that certain dogs may be more difficult to house train compared to others. This can help prevent heartbreaking decisions considering that nothing must feel worse to a newly adopted dog than returning to a place he dreaded staying in the first place!
Dogs that are Difficult to Housebreak
There are obviously no black and white rules when it comes to successfully potty training a puppy or dog. Sometimes, dogs that belong to a breed notorious for being difficult to house break turn out being quite easy to train. Other times, the opposite can come true. The dog’s history should also be kept in consideration. Is the dog coming from a pet store? If so, consider that puppies from pet stores often come from puppy mills which are known to churn out puppies that are difficult to house train and who are also prone to various health and behavioral problems. Does the puppy come from a reputable breeder? If not, consider that uneducated breeders may have failed starting the pup on important potty training basics which can help a whole lot getting them started on the right paw.
Another important factor is determining if the dog is soiling because he hasn’t been properly house trained or because of a medical or behavioral problem. Inappropriate urination may be a symptom of a urinary tract infection, the presence of bladder stones or a weak sphincter. When medical causes are ruled out, there are chances the soiling may be triggered by some behavioral issue such as submissive or excitement urination. Submissive urination often takes place in timid dogs trying to convey respect, or when they are intimidated or punished. Excitement urination is often seen in dogs when they greet their owners and are petted. Urine marking can be seen in dogs that are stressed or in intact males and females who feel compelled to leave their scent around for other dogs to pick up. Some dogs also mark to establish territory. It’s as if they were labeling stuff with a “This is mine” label.
And then there are difficult to house train dog breeds. Certain dog breeds can be more difficult to potty train than others. This guide is not meant to discourage people from adopting certain dog breeds, but it’s simply an eye opener so new dog owners can understand why their puppy is not responding too well to house training and perspective dog owners can make better informed decisions. People who adopt these dog breeds should be informed about realistic time frames and strategies to help them succeed. Armed with support, more realistic expectations and strategies to help them succeed, there are chances for more success stories and less dogs being returned to shelters.
What Breeds are Difficult to Housebreak?
House breaking any type of dog takes diligence, patience and consistency, and thankfully most dogs will instinctively want to keep their living quarters clean and dry, but there are some breeds that may need some extra effort to help them through the training. Following are some dog breed categories that may pose some challenges.
You can’t really blame these pint-sized dogs for being difficult to potty train, nature has given them really small bladders. This means more trips outside and more accidents ready to happen. On top of that, well-meaning dog owners may confuse these dogs by carrying them in their arms and placing them on the designated potty area. This causes these poor pooches to never learn to walk towards the door and then to their potty area. To small dogs, a noisy yard can also be quite intimidating and if they feel scared they won’t feel safe to urinate and defecate normally. Not to mention that “accidents” are often missed compared to a big puddle of a big dog or they are underestimated, thus leading to regress.
You can’t really blame these pooches either; they have been selectively bred to track smells and their powerful noses can pose some challenges. The issue here is mostly with clean up. If you don’t clean up soiled areas properly using enzyme-based products, these dogs will sniff previous accidents which makes them feel compelled to mark the same areas over and over. On top of that, once outdoors a hound may get distracted by scents and forget all about his need to potty. The end result? Not soiling outside and then a big puddle on the carpet floor once he comes back inside.
In this case, the breed’s stubborn and independent personality is what creates problems. You can’t blame them either as these traits came handy in the past for their original duties. If your terrier is away from you, you have no way to detect those important pre-potty signs that tell you it’s time to take him out. His stubbornness may also interfere with following your lead when it comes to teaching him where he should go potty. A leash is your best friend when taking him outside.
Several other breeds may difficult to potty train either because of their temperament, slow development or other inherent predispositions. Other hunting dogs such as pointers, spaniels or sight hounds, just like the hounds, can get distracted by scent or the sight of animals and may be reluctant to potty once sent outside. Some large breeds that are slow in developing such as Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, Great Danes and Chinese Shar-Pei, may also take a bit longer to get fully potty trained.
The Bottom Line
Luckily, as puppies mature and attain better bladder and bowel control, they get better at holding it which leads to less accidents. The potty training stage may feel like a very long time, but owners who are vigilant, consistent and have patience, will ultimately attain results and are rewarded with progress. Understanding the dog’s body language, creating a routine, being vigilant and cleaning up messes with the right products goes a long way when it comes to potty training a difficult dog.