Will my dog adjust to using the patio as his toilet?

(Q) We've moved house and no longer have a garden like we used to. Instead of grass to toilet on, our dogs now have to go on the patio. They seem less keen to use this. Will they adjust in time? Is there any way of encouraging them to use this area?

(A) Behaviourist Steve Goward says: Some dogs prefer to toilet on grass and this can cause some distress when the option is no longer available.

This is something we see in the Dogs Trust kennels when dogs come into our care, and we have to identify the problem and make provisions, such as providing them with a substrate they are happy to toilet on.

This could be a solution you could try with your dogs. Try putting a piece of turf in a large seed tray and seeing if they will use this area, or alternatively some paper, sand, or bark chippings (be careful to use dog-friendly versions).

The chances are your dogs will get used to the new surface but giving them an alternative may help them adapt.