Housetraining our older shelter dog

We just adopted an about 8 year old beagle.  When we found her she was severely dehydrated and emaciated.  There was nothing to her.  We have done work with a local animal shelter, New Hope Animal Rescue, so I called them to ask what we should do.  They told me to bring her in because it sounded like she needed medical care immediately.  Emily and I drove her in and turned her over to them.  They were honest and told us she was so bad off that she might not make it.  We couldn’t keep her at the time because we had our hands full with Susie, the dog we were already fostering.

As things would happen, Susie was quickly adopted and we decided to bring the beagle (Honey) home with us to see if we could help her get better.  I have written about her here before.  She has been a handful but we love her and have adopted her.  Well, the biggest problem we have had with her is that she pottied indoors.  It has been a real challenge to teach her not to.

It was going well when her false pregnancy started.  Then she wouldn’t leave her “spot” long enough to go outside.  After we got her spayed, it started all over again!

Well, after a tremendous amount of patience, she FINALLY seems to be house trained.  Only 3 months after we brought her home!

Want to know how I did it?  Well, honestly it was nothing more than waiting her out and putting her outside as often as she wanted.  It is difficult for a dog to grasp the idea of NOT going whenever and wherever the need hits when they’ve been outside for who knows how long.  She had to learn the difference between living space and potty space.  She also had to train her bladder to hold it for longer and longer periods of time.

At first she would just go whenever it hit her.  Then she started to try to hold it until she got outside but couldn’t hold it for more than a few minutes so someone had to be here to let her out.  Eventually, she did great as long as I was home to let her out when she needed to go but if I was gone more than two hours she would have an accident. Then she could hold it for three or so hours but she would great me at the door frantic to get out to potty.  Today, we were gone for 4 1/2 hours and she didn’t even get up when we came in the door.

She’s getting it!  It’s hard because my husband wanted to yell at her and rub her nose in it and drag her outside (like he’s been told by many people would do the trick).  I didn’t let him though.  Anger and violence doesn’t help.  Though it was frustrating for me to clean my carpets several times a day, I feel great now knowing that we worked with her to help her learn this important skill.  Now she’s a happy member of our family and we enjoy her.  By not letting our anger and frustration get the best of us, we were able to develop a positive relationship with her.

One thing I want people to think about when training dogs:  It takes you a while to learn something new.  Why should it be so much faster for your dog?  Imagine how long it took you to learn how to use the potty!