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Toilet Training a Greyhound

Toilet training (or house training) is the same for every domestic dog.

The end goal is to ensure that they eliminate (wee and number two) in areas that we deem appropriate.

For most, the primary area is the backyard. For those who live in apartments, sometimes the best area is a special grass patch or outdoor litter tray. You should designate an outside area that works best for your residence and living situation.

Toilet Training a Newly Adopted Greyhound

Fortunately, most greyhounds have had some experience with unofficial house training from their days in racing kennels. As such, former racing greyhounds are used to being in kennels overnight.

Most dogs don't like to eliminate in areas where they sleep, so our greyhounds are used to holding their bladder or bowels for longer periods.

Although your new greyhound will already be toilet trained, there will still be an adjustment period for them as they adapt to their new home environment. Accidents may happen in the home, and they may need help learning to eliminate in the right areas.

The best thing you can do when you first bring a retired greyhound home is to take them outside as much as possible. Once they learn to go in the right places, the transition will be easy.

Understanding There Will Be Setbacks

It's completely normal for there to be setbacks when we first bring our new dog home regardless of the breed.

Any drastic change in their living environment requires an adjustment period. Our new furry companion will need to get used to new routines, a new diet, new eating and sleeping schedules, etc. They’ll also need to learn the layout of the household and where we expect them to go to the bathroom.

For any new pet owner, the key is to make sure that we're always patient with our beautiful dogs. Accidents happen. They're not eliminating in the house to be malicious or vindictive; it's usually just a matter of learning the lay of the land.

Timeframes to Achieve ‘Fully Toilet Trained’

The time period is different with each greyhound.

Typically, it would usually take a few weeks for a greyhound to understand when and where to eliminate, but some dogs may take longer than others.

It will also depend on our routines.

If we’re in a situation where we can't take the dog out much at first, that will often mean that it will take longer for the dog to become fully trained.  There’s a greater chance of accidents happening in the house because we’re not there to physically take them out and help to build that association so they understand where and when to eliminate.

For People in Apartments or Those Without Backyard Access

There are a few strategies we can use if we’re in a situation where our dog doesn’t have ready access to the outdoors.

One thing we can do is invest in an indoor training area inside your home. We can try setting up fake grass (or even real grass patches) or litter trays within certain areas of the home to give them an assigned place to eliminate.

Another thing we could try, especially while the dog is settling in, is to hire a dog walker. This could help break the dog's day up and give them a chance to relieve their bladder while we’re away from home.

Allowing someone to take the dog outside while they're learning is a great way to create associations for where they should eliminate in the future.

Products to Support Toilet Training

When setbacks do happen inside the home, it’s great to use enzymatic cleaners.

These are specially formulated products that completely eliminate the smell of dog urine or feces. If we don’t clean up properly and allow the smell to linger, it can make it harder for the dog to learn not to go in those areas because it will already smell.

How to React to a Dog that has Eliminated Inside

It’s important that we never punish a dog for eliminating inside the house.

Dogs aren't eliminating inside because they're being naughty. It's usually because they don't know what to do or because they may be suffering from a medical issue (such as anxiety).

If dogs are quite anxious, it can mean that they're more likely to defecate or urinate inside.

Other medical issues such as UTIs may also contribute to a dog eliminating inside. Instead of punishing the dog, we should recognise that it's not a conscious decision on their part. To encourage any behaviour, positive punishment doesn't help to resolve the issue, and eliminating in the house is no exception to that.

Instead, let’s be positive and reward them when they go outside!

How GAP NSW Helps Greyhounds Learn Toilet Training

While greyhounds are in our care, they are kenneled overnight. This in itself helps to give them experience holding their bladder as dogs don't generally enjoy eliminating around where they sleep.

All the dogs at our adoption centers also spend time in our GAP offices. While the dogs are in these offices, we take them out regularly and make sure that when the dogs eliminate outside, we give them a treat. This association helps instil a positive experience with eliminating outside.