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Litter Box Training Your Puppy

House training your dog to use a litter box indoors has advantages and disadvantages. Whether litter pan or patio style, the right choice is important.

Dogs Can Learn to Use a Litter Pan Too

For years pet owners assumed that only cats used litter boxes while dogs went potty outdoors. But more recently, the idea of teaching your dog to use a litter box has become more accepted. In fact, it’s just a new spin on paper training which many new puppy owners are already familiar with.

Advantages of Litter Box Training Your Dog

Some dog owners are finding good reasons to teach their dog to use a litter box.

  • Handy for old dogs who find frequent walks difficult
  • Handy for dog owners who find frequent walks difficult
  • Works well for dogs with unreliable potty habits
  • No more walks in snow, rain and storms
  • Convenient for apartment dwellers
  • Great for indoor dogs whose owners work long hours

Disadvantages of a Doggy Litter Pan

As with any innovative idea, there are disadvantages. Some dog owners simply don’t like the extra clean up with an indoor litter pan for their pup and there is always the expense of litter to consider. Some dogs, usually adults who have already been reliably housetrained, may not easily learn to use an indoor litter box. Indoor litter pans may not always work well with larger dogs and male dogs.

Teaching a Puppy to Use a Litter Pan

Puppies may be trained to use a litter pan in the same way as they are trained to go outside to potty. Consider the times when a puppy is more likely to eliminate, such as first thing in the morning, when you come home, and after meals and naps. Use these opportunities to take the pup to the desired place and lavish on the praise when he is successful.

If the puppy is seen making a mistake in the house, he should be interrupted with a startling noise and then taken to the desired location. If the puppy makes a mistake that goes unnoticed until later, it should be simply cleaned up and ignored. Correction at this point will only confuse and frighten the dog, which can backfire into other behavior problems.

Training a Dog to Use a Litter Box

Not all adult dogs can be trained to use a litter box, especially if they have been accustomed to going outside but in most instances, patience pays off. If trying to make the switch, dog owners should provide a surface similar to what the dog is used to. A dog accustomed to dirt or gravel may accept a clay based litter. A dog accustomed to using the lawn may not accept anything less than a grassy surface indoors. Some dog owners suggest, in the beginning, mixing in dirt or grass from the dog’s familiar outdoor spot to encourage him with scent.

Dogs who have persistent problems with house training should be checked by a veterinarian for any underlying medical issues.

Variety of Dog Litter Boxes and Litter Available

Dog owners should do a little shopping around before buying. Doggy litter boxes come in many shapes, sizes and styles. There is even a larger patio style that accommodates gravel or synthetic K9 grass and may work better for larger dogs. Some litter box users suggest making sure the pan is large enough or placing pads around the litter pan to catch any “misses.” A little trial and error may be needed to find out how the litter pan works best and what kind of litter is best for each individual dog.

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