At the first sign that your mature dog is going to eliminate (excessive sniffing of a particular area), the owner should immediately take him outside.
The reason is obvious. How can you praise a dog for doing something right if you are not there to see it? The owner should go outside with his dog. Supervision is crucial at this time!
This means that somebody has to take the dog outside. Somebody must place him in the proper position and the proper place for elimination, so that the action can be followed by praise. Somebody must be there to praise him. Dogs learn by associating their actions with pleasing or displeasing results. It is not enough that somebody is there to chastise and verbally admonish the dog for doing wrong; someone must be there to praise him for doing right.
The praise will be relatively meaningless unless it comes from the leader of the pack. This is you, his owner. If you fail to live up to your responsibilities, then you cannot justifiably blame your mature dog for failing to live up to his. Someone must show him the way. In the dog’s mind, it only counts if the teacher is the person the he loves and in whom he has confidence.
When you take your dog outside and fifteen minutes have elapsed without him eliminating, bring him back inside the house. But the supervision should not stop. In fact, it should be more constant. When the dog drops his nose to the floor and starts sniffing again, the owner should once again take him outside.
When your dog eliminates outside, you should be right there when it happens and praise him, then bring him back inside the house immediately. It is the same method that should be used if dealing with a puppy. Praise and correction are the keys with which we can successfully communicate with your dog.
It takes four days for the average dog to learn an average thing. For the mature dog or puppy who has unlearned something, it also takes four days for that dog to unlearn a learned behavior. Supervision is crucial to your success. The dog must be kept under constant watch while indoors so that positive corrective action can be taken.
The methods are identical for the dog that has never been housetrained. When a person adopts a mature dog from a pound, the dog is brought home and inside the house where he immediately eliminates on the floor. Training is therefore, crucial. It is much easier to train a mature dog than it is a puppy. Any dog, whether a year or twelve years old, can be trained to eliminate outdoors if the four day rule is followed through. The four day requirement for learning to take place in your dog’s mind should provide you with all the necessary patience.
Regardless of your dog’s age, praise is the communicating factor. Too many people feel that chastisement is the key. This is not true! Praise is the main ingredient. But in order to praise the dog for doing the right action, one must be with him nearby so that he can administer the praise.
There are five basic principles that a knowledgeable dog trainer always follows: Patience, knowledge, repetition, praise, and correction. By following these principals, you will have your housetrained dog back in less than a week. Good luck!