Train Your Dog To Use A Litter Box

September 17, 2018
In order to train your dog to use a litter box, you can soak a piece of paper with his feces or urine and put it inside the box. Then from there, use positive reinforcement and treats every time he goes to the bathroom. 

In general, people often associate traditional litter boxes with house cats. However, many owners teach their dogs how to use a litter box at home. This is a very practical and hygienic option for the dogs that are left home all day while their family members are at work.

How to teach your dog to use a litter box?

Having a dog use a litter box may seem like a strange idea. However, it’s based on the same training technique that is used to housebreak dogs. It teaches pets proper hygiene and how to maintain a healthy living environment at home.

Remember to consider giving your dog a positive training experience by respecting his learning process. Regardless of what you are trying to teach him, it’s important to use positive reinforcement to recognize his effort and to stimulate his learning.

Abusive or violent methods are counterproductive and hurt your pet; positive reinforcement is always much more effective.

Blue poop scooper

Follow these steps to teach your dog how to use a litter box

1. Choose the right litter box for your dog

Choose the right litter box for your pet and the type of sand to put inside it. Start out by measuring dog (length and height) before deciding on what litter to get him.

In pet stores, it’s possible to find different models and sizes of litter boxes. The most traditional and inexpensive versions are basically reinforced plastic boxes that hold sand. However, there are also some smart and self-cleaning models, which are more expensive, but very useful.

While most are designed for cats, the important thing is to find out that their dimensions are compatible with your dog’s. The idea is to offer comfort and ensure the safety of your dog while he is going to the bathroom. Likewise, it’s important to remember that your dog should be able to do a full 360-degree turn while he’s in the litter box. 

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2. Select a type of sand

When it comes to choosing the sand, there’s a lot of options for your dog. Some more inexpensive options are made out of clay, while the most modern contain charcoal fragments. There are also scented sands, but they aren’t recommended due to many dogs rejecting them and developing allergic reactions.

In contrast to kitty litter, the canine version has larger pellets for better absorption. However, to avoid that bad smell in your home, just mix a teaspoon of baking soda or activated charcoal to your dog’s sand. 

When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, it’s important to clean the waste from the sandbox on a daily basis and to disinfect it once or twice a week

Litter box for dogs

3. Show your dog the litter box

After choosing the litter box, you have to strategically place it in your home. Avoid places with a lot of traffic in order to provide your pet privacy. Also, try to choose places with good ventilation so the bad smell doesn’t concentrate. Once you’ve placed the litter box in the correct location, show it to your dog.

When showing him, stimulate his curiosity by letting him smell the box. That way he’ll won’t be scared of it later on. Then, place a toy inside of the box, give him a specific command — like “use the box” — and offer him a prize (treats, praise, toy).

4. Associate the box with his physiological needs

When your dog is already used to the box, you’ll have to associate it with his physiological needs. To do this, place a piece of paper dampened with his urine or feces inside the litter box. That way, your dog can understand that it’s to be used to relieve himself.

Each time your pet uses the litter box correctly, it’s important to reward him. Positively reinforce his behavior and encourage him to continue behaving well. By no means, punish your dog for going to the bathroom outside of the box.

Gradually, the dog will be able to learn how to correctly use the litter box. It’s fundamental to have patience and to treat him with a lot of love as you teach.