If you have an older Australian Shepherd that you may have adopted from a rescue shelter, for example, you may have to start at square one with housebreaking. Depending on the background of your new family member they may not have had any training whatsoever.
If they are new to your household there are several factors that may influence how quickly they can progress with housetraining.
You will need to spend time with your dog to build a bond. They have to learn to trust you. This may not be easy for dogs who have been abused in the past. They may be nervous and unsettled in their new environment. Give them the time they need to adjust. Be positive and loving and they will come around and understand that you are their friend.
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Your dog may also be adjusting to different food than they are used to. This can wreak havoc with their digestive system resulting in diarrhea. If this is the case you can't blame them for accidents, they can't help it. They will adjust to the new menu soon. Maintain regular meal times and limit snacks. Rather than treats during training give them extra praise instead.
If you haven't already, take your Aussie to the vet for a thorough check-up. Make sure there aren't any medical reasons your dog is soiling in the house. Things like parasites and worms or urinary tract infections could be to blame.
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With an older dog they may have had a few years to learn bad habits. You will have to be extra patient and persistent. Once your dog begins to see you as their friend and trusted leader and they want to please you they will respond to your housetraining.
As with puppies, be sure to keep it positive and playful and leave the anger and discipline out of it, especially for rescue Aussies who may have already suffered maltreatment in the past.
Crate training may be a good option for older dogs as it may be more difficult to keep them in an enclosed area the way you can with puppies. This may take time as your dog will need time to get used to the crate. Don't force them as that would be counterproductive.
With housetraining be attentive to your dog's needs, be consistent, use lots of repetition and reward success with enthusiastic praise. Australian Shepherds thrive with positive dog training methods.
With a little time and patience your older Aussie can learn where it is, and where it is not, appropriate to go.
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