My Dog Won’t Potty Train — Rebellious Dogs and Behavior Issues
To have a dog is to understand the true meaning of happiness. Or is it? As many dog owners like myself would know, there is one true proverbial stumbling stone in the dog and human friendship that could spell a total disaster — what if my dog won’t potty train?
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Indeed, this question has been asked by many of us over the years, and the advice most experts give is usually the same. First, we ought to figure out when the dog has to “go.” Then, we have to take them out as quickly as possible or put a potty pad beneath them. Once they’re done, we give them a treat and repeat the same steps over and over again until the dog learns.
Now, don’t chuckle — I know this seems way too easy. But it actually isn’t. When I got my dog, I figured I could potty train it in just a few days. However, the little bugger kept rebelling until I finally screamed with despair — My dog won’t potty train, and it’s driving me insane!
Yes, a bit dramatic, but that’s what this whole process is like. Hence, I’ve decided to nip this dilemma in the bud once and for all by figuring out why some dogs are just not willing to comply with the rules. But first, let’s see why this issue even matters.
The importance of potty training our dogs
Figuring this out took away hours of my life. However, during the whole process, I kept one thought in my mind — if I don’t do this now, I will regret it forever. My dog won’t potty train, and I need to know why.
Most dog owners will tell you that potty training has one sole purpose — we want to keep urine and poop out of our house, preferably as far away from us as possible. Yet, why is that such a big deal? Children poop their pants every day; some have even pooped on the floor a bunch of times until they were potty trained.
Well, first, there’s the property damage. A dog’s urine is slightly on the acidic side, so you can just imagine what it can do to wooden floors. In addition, if we don’t clean it up immediately, it can stain our tiles (in rare cases) or leave an odor so horrible that nothing can wash it off (very often).
But there’s also the issue of disobedience and raising a dog properly. We wouldn’t allow our children to make a mess every day, so why should we enable dogs to do so? After all, we are their “parents,” and it’s of the essence to show them how being obedient is much better than walking over their urine every day.
What’s more, a dirty house is uninhabitable, not to mention dangerous. Diseases and infections are all too common, and no matter how often we clean up after our dogs — there’s a good chance we’ve missed a piece of poop or two along the way.
What if my dog won’t potty train?
Now, notice the verbs I used here. I didn’t say “cannot be potty trained” or “shouldn’t be potty trained.” My dog won’t potty train — so, it’s obvious the dog has a mind of its own and is unwilling to yield to my pressure.
And that’s where we have a problem. If you are someone who loves dogs but prefers not to train them, you’re in for a wild ride when it comes to potty training. Teaching a dog how to be obedient only gets harder as the dog grows older. What’s more, teaching an adult dog not to pee in the house is in a league of its own — some even say it’s downright impossible!
Yet, I say it is possible. All you need to do is put a bit of effort into it and learn how to recognize clear signs. In addition, you have to stop forgiving your dog because it pooped somewhere or peed in your bed. Of course, NEVER use force or violence. You just have to implement certain incentives so that the dog realizes you don’t want to harm it — only teach it to live like a respectable pup.
However, in order to do this, we first have to see why a dog might not want to be potty trained. Before we change the behavior, we have to find out the cause.
My dog won’t potty train because it suffers from anxiety
One of the most common causes of why dogs refuse to be potty trained is anxiety. In fact, this impediment can be so grave that some might even have to resort to asking a vet for help.
Anxiety in dogs comes up due to many different factors. However, the usual culprit is that the dog is just too used to us and cannot imagine being alone for longer than half an hour. Once we are gone, they suffer internally, wondering if we will ever come back. Thus, in order to either comfort themselves or get revenge on us, they resort to inappropriate elimination.
Of course, anxiety in dogs is treatable, albeit we have to be careful. Just like humans who suffer from an anxiety disorder, these sorts of dogs require extra care. They aren’t anxious about purpose, and they certainly don’t think we are happy when they pee on the floor. The poor things just cannot help themselves!
My dog won’t potty train because it is scared
We’ve all been there — we were watching a horror movie, and all of a sudden, something jumped out, and we immediately said: “I think I wet my pants!”
Well, that doesn’t happen only in the human world. Dogs are also prone to inappropriate elimination when they are scared. In fact, fear is a major cause of it, as the “accident” happens suddenly and without the dog knowing it’s doing anything wrong. It just gets so frightened that it immediately pees on the floor.
What’s more, fear breeds fear; if we react abruptly to this, the dog might get even more scared than before. In essence, fear makes a dog somewhat untrainable for the time being. We first have to solve the root cause and then come up with a potty training strategy.
My dog won’t potty train because it is sick
Of course, we can never remove illness from this equation, purely because dogs are not themselves then. They are suffering and are not able to control their bodies nor their behavior. As such, teaching them where to poop or urinate is downright useless. They probably won’t figure it out on time, which could only cause us to become even angrier with them.
Just like with fear, we have to wait until the dog is back to normal before we create a potty training strategy. That way, we will essentially eliminate the root cause and have a “blank canvas” of sorts. From there, we can use techniques, treats and all sorts of incentives, which will surely lead to positive results.
Or will they?
My dog won’t potty train because it hates me — rogue dogs
Hate is a strong word — maybe the dog just doesn’t like you!
All jokes aside, this is a situation we most often described as pure hatred. The dog seems to have gone rogue; it’s peeing and pooping everywhere, even in places we never thought it might do it!
Many things can make dogs act this way. Perhaps they are trying to mark their territory because they feel vulnerable. If we have brought another animal into the household or we have children now, they probably feel a bit lonely and as if no one loves them anymore. In essence, they might be jealous, and the only way they can show it is to do what we hate the most — make our house dirty.
Sounds tricky, right? That’s because it genuinely is, especially if we are not aware that the dog feels like this. However, there’s another reason we might think the dog is doing this on purpose — we have a rebel!
Rebellious dog breeds
Down below, we will talk about how you can improve your potty training strategy and finally help the dog understand where it can and cannot eliminate feces and urine. But before that, let’s consider a few dog breeds that might not be as easy to train as some other ones.
You might have heard of these breeds before, possibly by talking to dog owners who were adamant at discouraging you from ever getting one such breed. In hindsight, they were right — but that still doesn’t mean you cannot potty train your dog.
We all love its rolls and its funny walk, but an English Bulldog is essentially one tough cookie. This breed doesn’t care what we want, when we want it or how much we care about it. If they don’t want to do it, they won’t. Likewise, if they like what they’re doing, they will do it again, no matter how angry we get.
Jack Russell Terrier
A total furball of fun and entertainment, a Jack Russell is one of the best breeds you could get. However, when it comes to training these dogs, it sort of resembles raising a child with ADHD. They don’t listen most of the time, and even if they do, it doesn’t last very long.
A Jack Russell is more interested in how high it can jump and how much socks it can chew during the day. In addition, it is one of the most stubborn breeds out there; it’s persistent and doesn’t give up when it wants something. Unfortunately, the wishes of a Jack Russell and the dog owner rarely match, so the dog wins pretty much every single time.
Although it’s one of the most beautiful dog breeds in the world, there’s more to Huskies than meets the eye. This breed is clever, cunning and able to escape even when we’re sure we’ve locked up the crate. What’s more, these dogs are incredibly smart — sometimes even smarter than us. Therefore, unless we’ve found an unlimited source of motivation, there’s a good chance they’ll train us instead.
We saved the best for last — the Beagle, otherwise known as My dog won’t potty train because it’s busy sniffing the entire house.
This breed has it all — the looks, the claws, and you guessed it, the behavior. If they find something that piques their interest (i.e., they sniff it out), they won’t care about potty training or any of our commands for that matter. What’s more, they can sometimes be quite vengeful, especially if the owner hasn’t even tried to train them properly. Most often, they have no problem peeing in the bed, the bathroom, on the floor, in the kitchen, and pretty much anywhere else.
Now, I don’t want to beat around the bush — potty training a dog is not that easy. It can go from “He’s finally getting it” to “Oh, God, what’s that smell” in just a few seconds. Thus, before you even begin this journey, I want to provide you with a few tips and tricks that will make the whole process a lot easier both for you and the dog.
In general, we ought to start potty training dogs when they are about 8.5 weeks old. That’s when they can finally comprehend that they have needs and that they should relieve themselves a few times a day.
However, that isn’t to say it’s impossible to potty train an older dog. To be honest, some shelter dogs, who have never been trained, react well to a few simple techniques. In the end, it all comes down to how much patience you have and your eagerness to train them.
Still, the earlier you start, the better the results. If you’ve just gotten a puppy, you’ll want to begin the training as soon as possible. Puppies have a weak bladder that won’t wait around for anyone. Thus, unless you want to clean up their mess every hour or so, you’ll create a strategy right now.
As with any sort of training, dogs react the best to a routine. Hence, if you decide to train them in just two days, you won’t get the results you’re looking for. You ought to maintain a strict schedule when they can pee or poop and give them a treat every time they do it. More importantly, you have to show them that you’re not happy if they go rogue. Whether they’ve been good or bad — consistency is key.
Be smart about it
You have to understand that dogs, and especially puppies, are sometimes not even aware that they haven’t relieved themselves completely. As such, mistakes can happen, and they’ll probably happen quite often in the beginning.
Sometimes, you will finally succeed, and your dog will relieve itself outside. But then, after 10 minutes, it might pee inside the house. Why? It’s still not aware of its own needs. The dog honestly thinks it has done it all.
So what can you do? Easy — you have to be smarter than the dog. Since dogs are mostly like toddlers, you have to foresee when they need to “go.” And, even when they do, you have to keep a close eye on them in case they’re still not done. That way, you can immediately take them out again to the place where they can urinate or poop, giving them yet another cue that should reinforce what they’ve already learned.
NEVER punish them
Whatever you do, never punish dogs for their mistakes. It’s your job to potty train them, as they cannot do it themselves. So even if they poop in the bathroom, never shout or resort to violence. In the best-case scenario, they might just get angry with you. In the worst, however, they might get scared so badly that you’ll have a hard time starting the training program again.
You can be strict, but not passive-aggressive. Give them constructive criticism by patiently scolding them a bit, i.e., calmly tell them that’s not how you taught them to behave, etc.
As you can see, potty training a dog isn’t that difficult if you have the patience for it. However, if you have a rebellious dog, things might be a bit hard for you, especially in the beginning. Thus, learning why the dog doesn’t want to be potty trained is essential.
You have to know the root cause in order to treat the problem. What’s more, you need to test run a few techniques until you find the perfect one. Sure, you might have successfully potty trained a few Malteses in the past. That doesn’t mean a Bulldog will care what you want it to do. Luckily, brain training and developing the dog’s hidden intelligence will help — after all, there’s only so much urine and poop our floors can take!
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