Can You Train A Dog to Use Litter Box?
Can You Train A Dog to Use Litter Box?
Taking your dog out for his private business is cumbersome when you live in a high-rise building or can’t take him out. You can train a small to medium-sized dog to use a litter box by allowing him to follow simple training steps regularly.
We know cats can use a litter box quite efficiently because of their innate nature to hide their stool in the dirt. Dogs, on the other hand, are more likely to do this outdoors or on grass and turf. I know the struggle of taking an impatient dog outside for his potty business.
Litter box training should be started at an early age so your dog doesn’t develop the habit of peeing outside in the first place. Considering a good litter box training strategy enables your dog to get used to it quickly and show fewer chances of training failures.
Litter Training a Puppy vs. Adult Dog
A developing puppy is more likely to respond to whatever training you throw at him. A puppy’s learning and cognitive abilities help him to adapt to the situations and training. This is because he doesn’t have any exposure to bad habits and vices as a puppy.
On the contrary, adult dogs have already developed a habit of peeing and pooping outside. They are more reluctant to do it indoors in the first place because of no training. Therefore, the key to effectively litter box training a dog is to start at an early age consistently.
Litter box trays are commercially available mainly for cats and small to medium dogs. You don’t want to see a Great Dane struggling to get his legs inside a small litter box. Therefore, I recommend you to do litter box training only for a toy dog breed or a medium one.
Why Litter Box Training for Dogs is Important?
No doubt, taking your pooch outside on a litter trip is a memorable experience. It strengthens the bond between the dog and its owner every time the owner understands the dog’s needs. However, there are times when you are unable to carry out this practice outdoors.
Cold or Hot Climatic Conditions
When the outside temperatures are melting or freezing, you always cannot let your dog out. To compensate for their potty business, you need to keep the dog litter box trained. Snow or hot weather makes a dog reluctant to go outside and finish their private business.
Owner’s Residential Status
Another reason why dog owners cannot always take their dogs outdoors is when they live in a high-rise building. For instance, apartments and skyscrapers are huge, and taking your dog down from such buildings is a headache in itself.
This is where litter training comes into play for small dogs and cats. A litter-trained dog will not hesitate to pee or poop in the designated area inside. The dogs that have urinary incontinence and live in high-rise buildings can benefit from litter box training.
Disabilities & Mobility Problems
Dogs are curious creatures and often get injured while playing or in an accident. This leads to reduce mobility and cannot go outside for pooping. Litter training is a great way to keep their private business going from the comfort of your home.
Likewise, an aged person cannot always take the dog down the stairs for the dog’s pooping breaks. To reduce your and your dog’s chances of accidental injuries and sprains, it is advised to keep them on a litter box training routine.
How to Train a Dog to Use a Litter Box?
The basic process of litter box training and artificial turf potty training is more or less the same. The training starts with choosing the right spot for keeping the litter box so your dog knows where to go without holding his pee for longer intervals.
Choose a Safe & Easy to Clean Space
In an ideal scenario, the litter box training involves keeping the comfort level of your dog in check. Try to provide him with the natural feeling of peeing outside by placing the tray in open areas.
That can be anything from a porch or a balcony in front of your high-rise apartment. A balcony is a safe place for a dog to pee without any discomfort from the outside world. It also gives your dog a feeling of peeing like he wants to do outdoors.
However, you can also keep a litter box in your toilet if you like. Keeping the box in a toilet will remove your hustle of cleaning and keep the urine odor confined inside. After choosing the right spot, proceed by introducing the tray to your beloved dog.
Introduce the Dog to Litter Box Location
Sometimes, you might be wondering how dogs know where to pee. Most of the time, a dog who has a habit of peeing outside will take you to the usual peeing place. They do so by remembering the specific urine smell at that location and getting an idea of their pee place.
You can implement the same principle indoors while trying to litter train your dog. Start by making him acknowledge his pee odor in that specific location. You can do that by taking his urine on a paper towel and placing it inside the litter box. This way, he will know he can pee in the box by recognizing his pee odor there.
Don’t Forget to Reward Your Dog
Whether you’re doing obedience or litter box training, treats play a huge role in perfecting the training session. If you reward your dog each time he does something according to plan, this reward will act as a positive reinforcement and encourage him to do that again.
This is the same in the case of litter box training where a delicious reward can make him follow his training each day. It is noteworthy that some dogs may hesitate initially or refuse to pee in the litter box altogether.
With patience and regular training, you’ll observe your dog start exploring the litter area more and more. If he finds the spot suitable, he will start doing his private business at the same spot every day.
The Importance of Litter Box Hygiene
If you manage to train your dog for litter box training correctly, you have achieved the training goal. The next thing to keep in mind is the cleanliness of his new favorite peeing spot. Maintaining a regular cleaning of the area will keep the place fresh and prevent disease spread.
Sanitation is not just about changing the pee pads but also cleaning the litter box. Most veterinarians recommend disposing of the pee pads after certain peeing sessions. A pee pad that is highly contaminated with stool or pee is a breeding ground for bacteria.
To kill all the pathogens, use a high-quality enzyme cleaner that will hydrolyze and kill bacteria. The basic process starts with coating the entire box with the cleaner for some hours and then scrubbing and washing the box completely.
After air drying the tray, place a new pee pad inside the tray and your dog is good to go for another session. Don’t try to change the location of the litter box often so your dog doesn’t get confused and develop the habit of urinating at abnormal places.
Litter box training is essential for a dog when you can’t always take him outside due to multiple reasons. To train a dog to use the litter box, you need to stay determined and use positive reward and reinforcement techniques to get successful results.
With that being said, choose the litter box size according to the size of your pooch. Litter box training is mainly used for small toy to medium-sized breeds. For larger adult dogs, consider purchasing the artificial grass pad and similarly training him.