Litter Box Training
(Scroll down for Outdoor Housetraining, Teaching a Dog Trained to Potty Outside to Use a Litter Box and information on Belly Bands)
1. While you are housetraining your Italian Greyhound, he/she should always be in a confined area with access to a litter box, or be under your supervision. Supervision is critical - the fewer accidents there are, the smoother housetraining will go.
2. You may need to have more than one litter box so that your IG always has access to one. If there are rooms that your IG will be in with you, especially if the door to it is closed, there needs to be a litter box. You can have more litter boxes initially and gradually reduce the number, but your IG should always be able to get to a litter box when inside. If eliminating a litter box, do it slowly by gradually moving it closer and closer to another existing one.
3. You need to choose a litter box and filler material:
4. You need to purchase cleaning supplies - it is important to clean accident locations with an enzymatic cleaner to remove odor so that your dog is not encouraged to "go" in that location again. One recommended product is Zero Odor Pet and another is Anti-Icky-Poo. You can also use white vinegar mixed with some water. Do not use cleansers that contain ammonia - they will enhance the smell of urine. Using a black light in a darkened room will help you locate past accident spots that are in need of additional cleaning.
5. Choose a phrase to use when your IG eliminates in the proper place. Your IG will associate this phrase with eliminating and will eventually know that you want him/her to "go" when he/she hears the phrase.
6. Housetraining should be a positive experience!
7. Help you IG by anticipating when he/she will have to "go" and bringing him/her to the correct spot. It is better to bring your IG to the litter area too often, than not often enough. Some disposable pee pads are impregnated with a scent that will encourage your IG to "go.'" You can also put some of your IG's urine on the litter material that you have chosen in order to encourage him/her to eliminate there.
8. If litter box training has been progressing well and your IG has an accident, make sure you are providing adequate supervision and reinforcement. Perhaps you have given your Italian Greyhound too much freedom, too soon. Backup and go slower. If there is regression after your IG is trained, go back to the original training procedure, but only after making sure that there is no medical cause for your IG's regression.
1. Even if you are not litter box training, if you need to leave a puppy or untrained IG alone, he/she should be in a confined area with paper or doggy pee pads down. Puppies will need to "go" more frequently than an adult IG. Once housetrained, you will be able to determine how long your IG can "hold it".
Read the above points (you can skip numbers 2 and 3). Instead of "litter box," think "outside."
2. The procedure is the same as for litter box training, except that you will need to anticipate when your IG will have to eliminate and bring him/her outside. Use the same exit door each time so that your IG will learn to go to that door when he/she needs to eliminate. Some IGs will learn to bark or whine at the door, while others will sit there quietly. You might want to consider hanging a bell near the door and teaching your IG to ring it.
3. Consider providing a sheltered outside area for your IG to use as an elimination spot; a covered exercise pen can be used for this purpose. Since Italian Greyhounds are not fond of inclement weather, they will be more inclined to "go" outside if they are sheltered. If there is snow on the ground, you will probably want to shovel the snow away for your IG. Stay with your IG to make sure that he/she eliminates (even if you have a securely fenced area).
4. Even after your IG is trained, you will need to keep an eye on him/her in inclement weather. Despite having a shelter, if your IG has to cross an open area to get to it or if it is cold or very windy out, your IG may find a spot to "go" inside. It is a good idea to stay with your IG and make sure he/she eliminates. Otherwise, instead of 'going" in the cold or wind, he/she may wait till back inside to find a warm place to "go."
Teaching a Dog Trained to Potty Outside to Use a Litter Box
It can be difficult for a dog who has been taught to potty outside to understand that using a litter box is acceptable. One approach is to use a small, gated-off area or an exercise pen as a potty area, placing paper or doggy pee pads on the entire floor area. When you anticipate that your dog will need to eliminate, he should be placed in this area with no open entry/exit - close the exercise pen door or use the gates to create a closed barrier. He is being confined to that area, but you need to stay with him so that you are ready to reward him with a yummy treat and praise when he eliminates. Since you want to encourage the dog to use this area on his own, when not confined within it in by you, there should be an available entry. Placing some of the dog’s urine on the paper or doggy pee pad can encourage the dog to eliminate there. Don’t skimp on the praise and treats when the dog shows initiative and uses the potty area!
With some dogs, it can help to have them become accustomed to eliminating on paper or doggy pee pads outside first. This can be done by placing the pee pads on the ground and directing the dog to that area by leash. Depending on your living environment, you can also initially create the potty area, using an exercise pen or baby gates as described, outside. Once the dog is comfortable using it outside, bring it inside and work with him there.
As the dog becomes successful, you can reduce the floor area within the enclosure that has paper or doggy pee pads on it, teaching the dog to utilize a smaller potty area. Once the dog is consistently eliminating in that area, you can, if desired, move the paper or doggy pee pads into a litter box. Be patient and observe your dog to ensure he is comfortable stepping into the box. Some adult dogs might be more comfortable with a large tray. The potty area can be relocated, but do so gradually, moving the spot incrementally to where you eventually want its new location to be.
Belly Bands (Males)
If you are housetraining a male Italian Greyhound who is a leg-lifter or working with a leg-lifting dog who marks, bellybands can be useful. A bellyband is basically a piece of fabric that wraps around the dog's waist. The bellyband should not be used in place of training, and will not housetrain a dog. However, they will prevent urine from getting on furniture, walls, and other items. Washable belly bands that adhere with velcro, such as those from Spoiled Bratzwear Canine Specialties and Shaka Dog Hawaii, and disposable ones, such as those from Wiki Wag, are available. Baby diapers placed horizontally around the dog (ignoring the way that they are meant to fit) with the tabs securing them also work well. For a more secure fit, it is best to criss-cross the tabs when securing them. Do not leave your dog in a wet belly band, as irritation or urine burns could result.
Whether or not your Italian Greyhound is wearing a belly band, the housetraining process is the same. You still need to supervise and if the dog begins to have an accident, take him to their litter box or outside, depending on which method you are using. The only difference is that, upon reaching the designated "potty place," you will need to remove the belly band and encourage him to finish "going." As with training without belly bands, if you observe your dog having an accident, even if you think he has finished, bring him to the "potty place" and remove the belly band. Whenever he goes to his "potty place," whether on his own or with your assistance, his belly band needs to be removed. If he has an accident that you do not observe (which you want to avoid) and only realize due to a wet belly band, do nothing except change the belly band.
Again, belly bands protect your home from urine and can reduce the frustration of working with an un-housetrained or marking male dog, but should not be used in place of training - unless you do not want a housetrained dog!
If you have a female dog, you can use washable diapers (available from Spoiled Bratzwear Canine Specialties) or disposable baby diapers with a hole cut for your dog's tail. The above information regarding belly bands apply to the use of diapers.
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