When They Gotta Go, They Gotta Go…
One of the things that we often hear from frustrated clients is the tendency for their animal to relieve themselves in your home. There are many reasons an animal may do this that can range from training to health issues. Here are a few tips to look at if this has been a concern of yours!
Often times, some simple but consistent training is all that is needed. Some breeds are easier to potty train than others, so take this into consideration when doing so. If you have a new puppy, a newly rescued animal in a new place, or maybe just a stubborn pet, the easiest way to potty train them is to establish a routine! Remember, if you have a puppy, often times the rule is that the puppy needs to go out as often as their age; so if they are 2 months old, a good rule is to not let them wait any longer than 2 hours between potty breaks. Part of establishing a routine is letting your pet out FREQUENTLY in the beginning so they can get the hang of pottying outside and the positives it comes with. You will notice your pet will often go to a similar area of the yard, so always take them there when you are first beginning the training. Make sure you give BIG positive reinforcement when they potty outside. Immediate praise and a treat RIGHT after they go will help them realize this whole idea of “the bathroom is OUTSIDE” is a really good thing! Establishing a feeding routine will help with this schedule as well.
Despite this, what if your pet still goes inside? Remember that training is all about consistency. If your pet makes a few mistakes and uses the restroom inside a few times, try to hold back from punishment. If you catch your pet in the act, giving them a stern (but not yelling) alert word like “HEY” or “OUTSIDE” and immediately taking them outside and giving them POSITIVE praise will help reinforce the behavior you want. If you find leftover landmines and wet spots, it’s too late to punish. Sometimes punishing them after the fact can confuse them as to what they’re actually getting in trouble for. Clean the area thoroughly to help remove the stain and scent and continue to work on the consistency of their training.
What if your pet is supposed to go indoors, like a cat using the litter box? Cats and litter boxes generally go hand in hand, often times this is an innate trait that cats can easily pick up. However, if you’ve noticed that your cat is refusing their litter box, take a few things into consideration.
Do they have enough space? Cats like to have a nice spot to do their business, often times in a quiet area, but sometimes the hooded boxes can feel too enclosed for them to turn and cover their waste. You may consider looking into a larger box for your cat if you think this could be the issue.
Is their too much litter? Every cat is different, but sometimes if too much litter is used in the box, this can be uncomfortable for a cat if they step in and their paws sink. Try using a bit less litter and see if this helps.
Do you have multiple cats, or recently introduced a new cat? This can be a big reason cats don’t use litter boxes or suddenly stop. Adding other litter boxes and putting them in separate but accessible areas can help each of your kitties have their own space they like!
Of course, cleaning litter boxes regularly can make a big difference. Make sure you do this often, and deep clean the box as well as add fresh litter regularly. Think how you might feel using a dirty bathroom regularly; doesn’t sound appealing, does it?
If despite your training efforts, your pet still cannot quite figure out the bathroom routine or seems to need to relieve themselves before you can let them out, consider a few options. One may be hiring a regular dog walker or pet service like Solgave Animal Solutions, to assist in helping your dog have more breaks to use the restroom. Sometimes using the bathroom in the home when you’re away can be attributed to separation anxiety or simply not being able to hold it long enough, so having a professional come in and visit your pet daily can assist with this. If these efforts still don’t seem to help, or you notice an increase in accidents that are not the norm, consider a vet visit to make sure there are no infections or other diagnoses that may be related.
Potty training can be a frustrating part of pet ownership. With proper training, consistency, positive reinforcement and patience; your pet will figure it out with your help!