What? Dogs….. using litter boxes like cats? Is that possible? Actually.. YES! It is believe it or not! Now this is great news for those of you who live in an apartment on the second, third, or umpteenth floor!
So, what is litter box training for dogs, and how the heck do you accomplish this feat? Well, that’s a good question, I’m glad you asked. Most pet stores now sell the boxes and litter needed to get you started. I recommend using clay litter, shredded newspaper, or any other absorbent material in the box. Dogs really aren’t as picky as cats about the material, but you need to be consistant in the material you use so as not to confuse your pooch.
Ok, so now you have your doggy litter box and it’s full of some absorbent material. How do you get your dog to use it? It’s a good idea to leave the litter a bit dirty to attract you dog back to the litter box. When you see that your dog is giving you the signal that he needs to go out, place him in the litter box instead of letting him out. Key signs that your pooch needs to potty are: lots of sniffing and/or circling. When you have your doggy placed in the litter box, give him the potty command(see blog entry Potty On Command). When he potties in the box, praise him heavily. If he goes out of the box, say no and place him back in the box and praise him for finishing in the box.
Basically, you are training your dog just like you would your cat to potty in the litter box. It’s also similar to paper training, only you are using a litter box, and you aren’t going to move it outside.
This method works well if you are training a puppy that has not been potty trained yet. If you are training an older dog that knows to potty outside already, you may… no.. WILL have a tougher time, especailly with unaltered males.
If you can not get a litter box for whatever reason, you can also use paper in it’s place. Just lay out several layers of newspaper, or specially absorbent paper made for this purpose and follow the steps above.