Training A Dog To Use A Litter Box

Should You Litter Train Your Dog?

by Clara Lou

GypsyDogs are not cats. This is what we all know when it comes to understanding canines and felines individually. That still remains true even if your dog uses a litter box to eliminate. The dog litter box is a thing and like many other peculiar behaviors for a dog, you can train your dog to use the poop box. I’m going to tell you why and how to train your dog to use a litter box.

Why Litter Box For A Dog?

Again, it is important to note that dog litter-boxes were not invented because it looks fancy to see a pooch behaving like felines. There are better and bigger reasons why you may want to train your pooch to use a litter box. Imagine your apartment is on the 10th floor and you come home from work absolutely exhausted. Your dog needs to go pee immediately, frustrating, right?

What if you teach your dog to pee and poop inside a box that has been kept indoors? It will simply make your life and your pup’s easier. Moreover, teaching your dog to use a litter box becomes crucial in this tough time of the Covid-19 pandemic when you’re quarantined with your pet.

Dogs won’t go number one or number two in the house unless they have no option left. They will normally try to hold it as long as possible, making it unhealthy for your pet. There will be some unforeseen point in your life when you will have to keep your dog confined in a room for a long period of time. By training them to use a litter box they can relieve themselves without the stress of disappointing you when you arrive home. Training your pooch to use the litter box is a win-win for you and him.

How To Litter Train Your Dog

Whether it’s a puppy or a senior dog, you have to let them feel that it’s ok to relieve themselves in an indoor litter box. Before you start to train them, here are the things you will need. A dog litter box, a clicker, and your dog’s favorite treats. 

There are different litter boxes available in the market. But if you’re not a fan of hooded and fancy litter boxes, just use a plastic box large enough for your dog to move around in. You can find the dimensions in the product description. Some litter boxes also come with a layer of grass spread over the litter. But a conventional litter box also works.

If you already have cat litter, you can try it out to see if it works or get dog-specific litter. Your dog might be selective about the litter. Try different types until you find the right one. 

Using clicker as a reward-based positive reinforcement training is useful. 

Teach Your Dog To Feel Comfortable With The Litter box

Lift your puppy or dog and place him inside the box. And when they get inside, use a clicker to click and toss a treat. Repeat this until your dog feels comfortable with being in the box.

Teach Them ‘Use The box’ Command

Now that your dog has accepted their happy spot, teach them to go inside the litter box when they need to relieve themselves by using a command. Place them beside a litter box and tell him “use the box” or the command you would normally use when you train your dog to go outside. Your dog will likely get inside the box as he knows he will get his favorite treat and a click. Go through this process every time your dog needs to go out. 

Continue this process until your dog gets inside the box whenever you use the command. Once they are ok with that, try to make this command more challenging. Command them when there are distractions around. You can also practice this command when the litter box and your dog are in different rooms. Let him find the litter box himself on hearing the command making sure to always keep the box in the same spot of your home.

Use The Command When They Feel The Urge

For puppies, they need to pee once every one or two hours. So you will have to engage more if your pup is up to 6 months of age. If you have an adult dog, you know when they feel the urge. The usual signs are whining or barking. Some dogs may run around in circles, sniff around the door, or run back and forth between you and the door. There might be a few accidents while you train your pooch. Pick their accident up and place it in the box making sure they see where it goes. Be patient with your pooch and never scold him because it will stress him and leave your dog confused.

Whenever you see your pooch showing signs of needing to go, immediately take them the litter box. In a calm voice use the command you have been training him with. Continue placing his urine and feces inside the box when he has an accident. You can also purchase training scents to place in the box. 

More Treats

When your dog does his business, immediately use the clicker and pop a treat. Gradually, he will learn to use the litter box. Don’t give up if your dog still has accidents. It takes time and is a learning process just like when training a dog to go outside.

Follow The Schedules

Dogs usually follow a routine. Feed your dog at the same time every day and eliminate any free feeding. Your dog would want to go first thing in the morning and before going to bed. And after exercising and waking up from a nap.

Once you fix the schedule, you will be able to predict when your dog will want to go number one or two. Place your dog in the box during the time when he normally relieves himself and give him the command. This will help you to avoid any accidents and will build more confidence in your buddy.

The EndNote

Training a dog to use a litter box is more of a necessity than teaching him cool tricks so focus on one thing at a time. It is easy and convenient for your pooch and you when you can’t go out for a potty walk.  Here are a few more things you may want to keep in mind.

 You will need to clean the litter box after each use. Ensure that you clean the litter box properly or your dog may end up not wanting to use it. Training your dog can be an enjoyable and bonding event.  Be patient and kind; this will make both of you happy.

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About Simba's Mom

I was born and raised in California, lived in Pennsylvania for several years, and have recently moved to Delaware. I have gone from being a teacher for 20 years to a blogger and now back to teaching but still blogging. I have a great dog named Simba. Simba is a German Shorthaired Pointer. Life with Simba is an adventure every day. I have had dogs my entire life but I have learned most about dogs living with Simba. German Shorthaired Pointers really do become your best friend. They become extremely attached and that is why they say they have the Velcro phenomenon. Simba now has a sister 8 years younger and her name is Gypsy.
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