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One of the biggest differences between owning a cat and a dog is the responsibility that comes along with your pet needing to use the bathroom. Most cats conveniently use an indoor litter box that you have to clean once or twice a day, whereas dogs require being taken outside to do their business.
Well, what if you're a loving dog owner who has recently had to relocate to a city for work, and now you live on the 27th floor of a high-rise? Taking Fido out multiple times a day so he can relieve himself just doesn't seem realistic, now does it? So, what options are you left with?
Over the course of history, litter box training a dog hasn't been as popular, and is typically reserved for cats. Fortunately, given how intelligent dogs are, they are more than capable of learning how to use a litter box just like their feline friends.
What Does a Dog Litter Box Look Like?
Dog litter box training is very similar to cat litter box training; as the concept is the same, but the execution is different. Cat litter boxes are pretty standard across the board, consisting of a small plastic box, sometimes with a roof, filled with litter. The litter soaks up urine and creates a clump, and covers feces, making litter boxes much more pleasant to have in a home.
Dog litter boxes, on the other hand, are slightly different. Rather than a box filled with litter, a dog litter box is larger and consists of a flat area covered in artificial grass. The goal is to replicate an atmosphere similar to being outdoors.
Instead of litter clumping together in the area where the animal has relieved themselves, a dog litter box is designed to make any liquid flow through holes in the patch of grass into a plastic base underneath. Many litter boxes design the plastic base to act as a funnel, directing any liquid to a hole at the bottom of the box. This hole can either have a hose attached to it, or it can lead to an empty basin, which gathers liquid that passes through the box.
Shortly after your dog uses the litter box, you should thoroughly clean it. To clean the box, just wet the grass with a watering can or cup. The water flushes through the grass and flows through the basin and hose.
Dog Training Tips for Using a Litter Box
The following tips can be applied to all dogs, from puppies to senior pets, to effectively train them to use the litter box.
- Find an enclosed area within your home that you can cover in either pee pads or newspapers.
- Give your dog a normal serving of water.
- Place your dog in their crate for 20-30 minutes, and then let them out in the covered area for five minutes to see if they go to the bathroom. If they do, reward them with treats and time outside of the crate. If not, repeat the process again beginning with 20-30 minutes in the crate.
- Once your dog is consistently pottying on the pee pads, reduce the size of the area in which they're allowed to pee.
- If they've adapted to the smaller area, transfer the pads to your litter box, so as to communicate to your dog that this is where they're supposed to go to the bathroom.
- Using real grass in the litter box will make it more likely that they'll utilize it, since it reminds dogs of the outdoors.
You should note that this process won't happen overnight. Encouragement and rewarding your dog for pottying in the proper place is crucial, as this will reinforce their positive behavior and allow it to develop into a habit.
Benefits of Dog Litter Box Training
There are plenty of benefits for both dogs and their owners when it comes to dog litter box training. First and foremost, it allows puppies to become familiar with the process of relieving themselves in the comfort of their own home. For a young dog, being able to relieve themselves whenever they need to and not having to wait takes any anxiety away from the process. Not being able to go to the bathroom when they need to can result in the development of various health problems.
A litter box gives dogs a safe area in which they can go to the bathroom in their home and not be punished, which makes for a happier dog. It also provides flexibility for owners who work long hours or are unable to stop home to let their dogs out on a consistent basis. For dog owners who live in big cities with limited access to grassy areas, it provides a place for pets to conveniently take care of business on their own.