House Training A Dog: How Long Does It Take?

Are you house training a dog? Clearing up puddles and scrubbing away dirty marks is all part and parcel of owning a puppy, right?  But house training is not necessarily an activity confined to the first few months of puppyhood: many owners have to continue house training a dog with more severe problems well into adulthood and this can be for a number of reasons.

Territory Marking

Problems with territory marking are usually experienced by owners of male dogs, but occasionally females will urine mark too. The purpose of urine marking is to help reduce a dog’s anxiety by masking other smells with his own odour. It can also be a way of asserting dominance.

In the wild, wolves are more likely urine mark when there is threat of a confrontation or a new wolf enters the territory. In our domestic environment, problem marking can be a response to any kind of emotional stress including the arrival of a new baby or some other new visitor, anxiety at being left alone or fear of being punished. Urine marking is most commonly a problem in dominant male dogs between 2 and 3 years of age and can often effectively be treated by castration.


The key to sucessfully house training a dog is to select the most suitable method for your circumstances, establish a routine, and then stick with it 100%. This requires patience and dedication both of which are unfortunately often in short supply in today’s busy households. Consequently, many owners will give up on one method too soon because if Tigger pees more than once on the carpet they wrongly assume it is not working.

Chopping and changing your approach to house training is incredibly confusing for your dog and can lead to huge anxiety which, in turn, can lead to more soiling problems. And so a vicious circle develops that can be difficult to escape.


While it is true to say that some dogs are born with more dominant personalities than others, the kind of relationship we humans have with our dogs also has a bearing on how dominant or submissive they become as they mature.

If a dog lives in a household where it feels constantly intimidated or is allowed to become overly dependent on its owners’ company, it is likely to develop submissive tendencies. And very submissive dogs will often urinate even when they are simply looked at, let alone touched. In such circumstances, a reassessment of the human/canine relationship is required in order to tackle the soiling problem effectively.

Early Experience

Studies have shown that pups that are kept in cages until three to five months of age and deprived of the opportunity to urinate outside of the cage, find it extremely difficult or even impossible to ever be house trained.

Unfortunately, there are still many unscrupulous breeders of dogs in the world and still many pet stores that display puppies in close confinement. If you want to be sure that you have the best chance of successfully house training a dog, go to a reputable breeder or organisation where you know that your puppy has has had the best start in life.

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