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Toilet Training

Posted by Larissa Huxley on 2 April 2023
Toilet Training

a) My Dog Keeps Defecating in the House

Just because the dog was house trained at his foster carer's home, it doesn't mean that s/he will automatically be toilet trained at your home. Training will need to be readdressed if there is regression in toileting behaviours. But to eliminate non-medical possibilities, consider the following:

  • Increase frequency of toilet breaks and go outside with your dog to ensure that s/he goes toilet. As soon as s/he does, reward with a treat for positive reinforcement
  • The brand of food s/he's eating doesn't agree with his/her digestive system and toilet breaks need to increase frequency
  • Thoroughly clean old stains that were not cleaned and disinfected properly. If the scent is still there, it may be and indicating to your dog that s/he should toilet there (especially if you are not home when it happens)
  • Varying expectations amongst family members is confusing the dog as to what is expected on where and when to toilet. Ensure the entire family is using the same commands and same positive reinforcement strategies
  • Increase frequency of walks to encourage bowel and bladder movements. Changing the routine of walking or feeding first may need to be addressed based on your dog's needs.

If symptoms continue or reoccur, contact your vet as there may be another underlying issue.


b) My Cat Keeps Missing the Litter Tray

As a rule of thumb, cats are very tidy and clean animals. So, missing the litter tray is a sign something isn't sitting right with them that they'd rather soil their living area than use the litter box. Some troubleshooting ideas are:

  • Gradually change the type of litter
  • Add a second litter tray/box in a different room in the house
  • Use a different size, shape or enclosed/open litter tray/box
  • Clean the litter of urine and faeces daily and top up litter levels as required
  • Change how and when you are cleaning the tray/box (perhaps the odours are not being removed well enough, or it is not being cleaned frequently enough)
  • If your cat is under stress, using the litter box puts him/her in a vulnerable situation so they maybe avoiding fully entering the box/tray to maintain a better view of the surrounding area. Consider removing, if not minimising the stressors from your cat's environment, or move the litter tray to a safer place
  • If your cat is straining, or running to the litter box only to dig around and not actually use it, discuss this behaviour with your veterinarian as there may be an under lying medical issue (like UTI, bladder stones, constipation) that may require intervention

If symptoms persist, contact your vet as there may be an underlying medical issue.

Larissa HuxleyAuthor:Larissa Huxley
About: Born in Townsville, my love for animals stems back as far as I can remember. I was always the one in school that would try to save the hornet that the other kids were trying to kill. As a child, I was horse mad. However, I soon discovered that a dog could sleep next to you whereas a horse couldn't. Thus, these days, dogs are my favourite animals due to their loving, loyal, forgiving and protective nature. In my spare time (of which I don't have much), I like to play scrabble and get into my garden. I also try to spend as much time with my best friend as I can, enjoying food and wine and partaking in the occasional sing-along.
Tags:Pet CareNew Pets