Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Old Dog, New Trick

Thanks for this blog. I have a question, wondering if you could help. I have an 11-year-old collie, very healthy. We're moving to an area that has no grass or park to let her lose nearby.

The problem is that over the years we have always lived near a park and she got used to ONLY pee or poop over grass, over leaves or snow. She has never peed on asphalt, sidewalk or the curb.

Do you know how can I teach her to go on the curb at this age? Any help will be appreciated. Thank you much!

Alright, so my first thought here is, "Find some grass."  Your dog is 11, and while she's perfectly capable of learning new things, it's not always fair to ask her to change her life that much.  Is there even just a small tree with some dirt that you could take her to?

Let's assume, though, that there really is no other option.  Well, that's when you kind of have to go back go potty training 101.  You do have one advantage, though.  Your dog already knows not to go potty inside.

If your dog doesn't know one yet, start off by teaching a potty command.  When your dog uses the bathroom, put a command with it.  Say something like "Go potty!" or "Hurry up!"  Really, the words you use don't matter so much, just so long as your consistent.  I've had some people use "Ketchup" to mean go pee, and "mustard" to mean go poop.  Then, reward your dog for using the potty by providing a small, tasty treat.  It won't take long before you'll be able to use this command and have your dog respond by using the bathroom.

Next, stop allowing your dog to run loose to potty.  Keep the leash attached and use that "go potty" command.  Reward your dog for using the potty on command.  Now you're ready to go to the city.

When it's about time for your dog to potty, take her outside, and use her go potty command.  She might not respond at first as she's used to the feel and smell of grass and dirt.  If she doesn't potty, don't make a big deal of it.  Just take her back inside.  Here's the key, though.  Don't allow her to simply run around free.  Keep her on leash so she can't just run off and hide her potty somewhere in your house. 

After 5-10 minutes, try again.  Take her outside and tell her, "Go potty."  Repeat these two steps until she actually goes.  When she does, give her tons of praise and rewards (make sure she's actually done going as you don't want to startle her into stopping).  Then, lead her back inside where she can have her usual freedom.

Obviously, this is going to take a little time (a couple weeks to prep at least), and it may take some extra time when you first move, so adjust your schedule accordingly.

A few more tips for when you move: Make sure you keep her potty spot fairly consistent to start off.  She'll quickly start to see that as her potty spot.  Also, if you can find a spot where other area dogs tend to potty, go there.  Their scents may help encourage her to potty as well.

Good luck on your move, and be gentle with your gal.  This is a big adjustment for her too!


  1. I'd love to ask a question, but I'm not sure where to do so?

    1. Hi Sarah! You can ask a question either as a comment on this blog, or by visiting our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/impawsiblepups and writing a post or a private message there. Thanks!


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