Perhaps the most valuable training any dog gets in his lifetime is housebreaking. We start as soon as they are weaned and continue – with patience and love – until they are fully trained. But unfortunately, housetraining is not like riding a bike. The training can be forgotten, which can be frustrating for the owners and stressful for the dogs. What are some things that can cause a dog to abandon his housetraining?
When we moved from a house with a fenced yard to one where we had to take our dogs out on a leash to do their business, their potty manners backslid considerably. With a fenced yard they were able to go outside and play, and take their time doing their business. When the scenario changed to having to be walked, they weren’t always cooperative in going right away. This led to occasional accidents in the house because we weren’t able to walk them at the exact time they needed to go.
Prolonged Inclement Weather
While living in northern Illinois we had a winter where the temperatures didn’t get above freezing for several weeks. The ground was snow-covered and icy cold. Even though we put protective booties on our small dogs before we took them out, they were too cold to concentrate on business. This resulted in potty accidents in the house even after the weather finally warmed up.
Boarding or Dog Walkers for Vacations
Before we switched to an overnight stay dog sitter, we used to either board our dogs or get a dog walking service when we went on vacation. Disrupting a dog’s schedule that dramatically for a two-week period can wreak havoc on their potty training. We often came home to scenarios where we had to do some serious re-training.
Chronic Illness or Old Age
Unfortunately, when a dog becomes chronically ill or aged he could be more likely to start doing his business in the house. This is a tricky situation to deal with, because depending on his health issues, he may no longer have the control to wait until he is outside. Diapers may be your only solution in these cases.
Except for some cases where medical issues are involved, you can re-housebreak a dog that has abandoned his housetraining. It is usually quicker than the initial training, but requires the same kind of consistency and dedication. Just be sure to start the re-training immediately however; the longer you wait the harder it will be on you both.