House-training an adult dog

House training adult dogs

(Q) I have a young Shih Tzu bitch who was returned to her breeder at a year old as her owner was ill and could no longer look after her. Despite taking her into the garden regularly and after meals, she will wee and poo in the hall, giving no indication that she needs to go outside. She always uses the same area in the hall. How can I persuade her to bark or do something that will indicate she wants to toilet?

It is possible that this little dog's previous owner was unable to cope with letting her out. When this kind of thing happens, the dog learns to go wherever seems most convenient. Over time this becomes a habit as if no one takes any notice of your signals you stop giving them.

Treat her like a puppy and start house-training from scratch. Take her into the garden every hour on the hour and food reward her with high value treats when she relieves herself. If she does not perform while outside, restrict her access to the hall in particular until after she has performed at the next outing.

You need to accompany her outside so that you know the current position. Make sure that you use a biological deodorising cleaner on the areas that she has soiled. If there is even a vestige of scent remaining she will return to that spot. She is young enough to change her habits so keep working with her.