Toilet training – be consistent

Written by Gill Key (Pet Advisor and member of our Health Committee)

There have been a couple of articulate and passionate posts about house training recently on Facebook. Here is  my four pennies worth.

Firstly: every dog is different. Secondly, Dachshunds are small hounds and therefore by definition SOME can be stubborn little sods.

I also have a dog who will pee/poo inside but after nearly 9 years of owning him I am pretty much on top of it (so yes, housetraining can take just a little while!). I rehomed him age 2 and his behaviour was well embedded when he came to me. Not only was he an ex-stud trying to mark his territory and then top up the smell every so often but also he was as nervous as heck so would submissive wee all the time.

For that reason I feel the pain of those struggling with house training but when a newbie Dachshund owner asks for advice about how to deal with housetraining a pup, though it isn’t helpful to just assume that the owner is just lazy, neither is it helpful to just dismiss it as ‘get used to it’…… because that could make the owner give up on a dog that, with persistence, just might get the hang of it after a couple of weeks (some dogs do!).

In other words – it could be argued that ‘get used to it’ or similar comments are equally opinionated: “my dachshund is difficult, therefore every Dachshund is”.

Equally, not every owner is the same – because Dachshunds are so popular at the moment, some do very little research before buying but get them because they are a cute little dog and they’ve seen them on TV – and then have a big shock when they discover the reality of house training – or not. Other owners have had them in their family all their lives and can’t wait to get their own, or spend months preparing and reading up on them so know what to expect …. but if they think that housetraining is impossible in every case then they are on a hiding to nothing from the start.

So please, when people ask if every dog pees and poos inside don’t just say yes. Just acknowledge it can be bloody difficult for some but not all.

For what it is worth, the approach that has semi-worked for me is establishing a cast iron routine, ignoring him when I get home (it has stopped submissive weeing completely), building his confidence so he feels more secure and less in need of marking his territory, confining him to spaces with washable floors if he is left on his own for short while – not 8 hours at a stretch (which is when the nervous wees and poos might happen – they are not spite wees), and being absolutely rigorous about cleaning up any accident with a high quality enzyme cleaner – once the deed is done, even if you clean it up with a strong disinfectant  and you can’t smell a thing, the dog can still smell the urea, so will try to top it up given half a chance  – so the key is to break those molecules up as quickly as possible.