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Outdoor Housetraining

Outdoor Housetraining

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 house trained, you will be able to determine how long your IG can "hold it".

2. During housetraining, even when you are home, your Italian Greyhound needs to be under your supervision or in a confined area. Supervision is critical - the fewer accidents there are, the smoother house training will go.

  • One option is to use a covered exercise pen that has a cushion, water bowl, and litter box area. Initially, you can spread newspaper or pee pads beyond the litter box, thereby increasing the litter box area and increasing your IG's chance of going on the "proper" material. The litter area can gradually be made smaller until it only consists of the litter box. If using an ex-pen, it should be set up in a location near where you tend to be; you do not want your IG isolated.

  • If you do not have the space for an exercise pen, another option is an extra large (48" long, 30" wide, 33" high) crate. These crates have a top, slide-out pan, and room for a cushion and litter box. Since this does not provide space to play, I would recommend this option only if you are home and able to supervise your IG most of the time. This is not crate training. Crate training utilizes a small crate, providing enough room for your IG to stand  up and turn around, without a litter area.


In addition to having a main confinement area i.e. covered exercise pen or crate, supplementary tools to assist with supervision are beneficial:

  • To help with supervision, some IG owners leash their IG to them.

  •  Richell makes a child enclosure system that can be used to assist with supervision. In addition to creating an enclosure, it can be used to block off areas. It is light-weight, not as easily climbable as some enclosures, and is higher than many other enclosure systems. However, it is only 36" high. Therefore, it needs to be used, especially initially, when you are in the same area as your IG. If your IG is inclined to jump, or attempts to climb, it, do not use this product! Our first IG would have been over this in a flash, but, with our current IG, this type of product, in conjunction with gates, worked well to create smaller areas within our house.



3. 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.


4. When housetraining your dog it is important to anticipate when your IG will have to eliminate and to bring him/her outside. In addition, observe your dog for signals/behaviors that indicate that he might need to "potty." It is better to bring your IG outside too often, then not often enough.


5. 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.


6. 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.

7. Stay with your IG to make sure that he/she eliminates (even if you have a securely fenced area).

8. Housetraining should be a positive experience!

  • No yelling, hitting, or rubbing your IG's nose in "it." IGs are sensitive and will learn best with a positive approach.


  • When your IG is eliminating in the correct place, use the phrase that you have chosen and, when he/she is finished, provide a small treat (really yummy and used only for housetraining) and praise. Let him/her know that he/she has done a great thing!


  • If your IG is in the process of having an accident, have a short sound that you say such as, "uh uh," and bring him/her outside where he/she will, hopefully, complete "going," afterwhich you can praise him/her. If you find evidence of an accident after the fact, do nothing except clean it. 


9. 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. Another shelter option is a ShelterLogic greenhouse, or you can be creative and make your own sheltered area.

 If there is snow on the ground, you will probably want to shovel the snow away for your IG. If snow is in the forecast, a tarp can be placed on the ground and, when the snow ends, pull the tarp away to reveal a non-snowy area for your dog.


10. 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." 


11. 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. When more freedom is being given, a breakaway cat collar with a bell can be used to assist in knowing if your Italian Greyhound is leaving an area. 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

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