There are a few basic skills every dog owner wants to ensure their dog has down pat. And at the top of the list is potty training. Your furry friend must know where and when to potty for the health and happiness of you and your dog.
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Some dogs take to potty training with ease. Your dog may have figured it out after a few routine walks and letting them out into the backyard to do their business. Other dogs, however, need a little extra training to get it right.
So which dogs are the hardest to train? Before we answer that, let’s look at some potty training basics and what makes it harder for some breeds to master.
For most dog owners, housetraining your dog has the same basic steps. Equipped with a routine, a few tools like a crate, puppy pad, and diligence, most dogs have potty training mastered after about two weeks.
The keys to potty training are the same for any dog training: patience and consistency. As busy people who like instant gratification, this can be hard. Throw into the mix a dog with a stubborn personality, and potty training becomes a very stressful time.
Dogs who experience the most challenges with potty training have strong personalities or unique body types. An Alaskan Malamute, for instance, won’t think twice about jumping into the snow for an outdoor pee. A Chihuahua, however, will always avoid being cold.
Smaller dogs also have smaller bladders. This means they have to pee more often, and accidents are more likely. A small dog’s accidents can also sometimes go undetected. Owners might occasionally miss a potty accident on the rug and not realize that their pup didn’t go outside.
Which Dog Breeds Are the Hardest to Potty Train?
While a particular type of dog breed may be easier to train than another, it should be noted that a female dog is not easier to potty train than a male dog. How easy or difficult it can be to potty train a stubborn dog largely depends on breed and size. Every dog is different, but some breeds have personality or physical characteristics that make them harder to train.
Here are a few of the most challenging breeds to potty train:
Toy breeds, such as the Dachshund, Shih Tzu, and Chihuahua, have a more challenging time with potty training because of their size. The tiny bladders of these small dogs make urination more frequent and urgent. Their small size also makes going out into the cold or snow difficult. Add to this their fierce little personalities, and you have a sweet but stubborn smaller dog that doesn’t like to be pushed to learn a new trick.
Hunting dogs like the Dalmatian, Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, American Foxhound, and Beagle have a drive that can be hard to keep up with. Hunting dogs like to lead. They need activity and will get it on their own if you don’t give it to them.
Hounds are another type of hunting dog. They are equipped with either strong sight or scent skills. A sighthound, like a Whippet, will get easily distracted and pursue something that catches their eye. A scent hound, like a Bloodhound, will get distracted by a smell they pick up while out for a potty break. Hunting and hound breeds require a dedicated owner to keep them exercised and on-task.
Terrier breeds, like the Jack Russell Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, and Boston Terrier, were initially bred as small animals and vermin hunters. They tend to be high-energy, independent, and stubborn dogs. These are great personality traits when you’re out hunting small game but difficult to manage when trying to potty train.
How to Help Your Dog Succeed at Potty Training
Sometimes it isn’t the dog breed that is the problem. Remember that dogs are influenced by their environment just like we are. Potty training could be challenging because of bad habits in their previous home. This is common with puppy mill pups.
Consider what else might make it hard for your dog to potty train. You may be using confusing commands that your dog can’t understand. Maybe there are people or activities during your training sessions that are distracting. Surrounding stimuli or other factors like anxiety following a recent move may also keep your dog from succeeding.
- Follow a housetraining schedule. This will help you plan and ensure your training is gradual and consistent.
- Use the crate. Dogs naturally won’t use their den to urinate or defecate, so crating can help with potty training.
- A pee pad is also an excellent tool for pups and smaller dogs. A smaller dog equals a smaller bladder. This means they must pee more frequently and likely can’t hold it long. If you can’t get your pup outside quick enough to avoid an accident, puppy pads might help.
- Figure out the best motivation for your dog. There might be a specific reward or command that your dog responds well to. You will want to discover and use that appropriately during training.
- Be flexible with your time. Your dog does not know or care about our human schedules. To the best of your ability, be available to train your dog during the day and night. At least until they are housebroken, aim to stick to your training routine.
- If you feel like you have tried everything, seek help from a professional trainer. With proper training, your dog should be housebroken in a few weeks. Also, the investment in obedience training will pay off when you don’t have to replace your living room rug constantly.