It’s a common misconception that Italian Greyhounds – or ‘Iggies’ – cannot be toilet trained. Many people struggle for months, with few accidents occurring in the home regularly. They are notoriously difficult to train, it’s true – but it can be done! Italian Greyhound pups need extra care and support to overcome their toilet training challenges.
Is Italian Greyhound Potty Training Difficult?
There’s no disputing that Italian Greyhound potty training is a tough ask. Research shows that actually, only 48% of Italian Greyhounds are fully potty trained. Even this level of training could take up to a year to complete, with much frustration and many repetitive training regimes along the way.
However, the 48% do prove the point that they can be potty trained. It is possible! But you will need to stick to your training and have a great deal of patience.
Unfortunately, many Italian Greyhounds are returned to shelters because their owners weren’t aware of just how difficult it is to train them. When you adopt an Iggy, you should always consider that potty training will be a challenge. If this makes the breed a no-go area for you, then perhaps look elsewhere. Simply put, there are just some dog breeds that are more difficult to train than others.
Why Are Greyhounds Hard to Potty Train?
Italian Greyhounds may actually be slightly easier to potty train than their standard-sized counterparts.
Greyhounds are usually bred to be racers. This often means that they spend the first few years of their lives living outside in a pen, rather than as a house pet.
By the time they are adopted later on, they are at a stage where they are already an adult and it is much more difficult to complete proper training.
These habits have been passed down to Italian Greyhounds. The Greyhound’s bladder, being small anyway due to their stature for racing, and the lack of any in-built instinct for toilet training means that it takes them much longer to learn.
How to Train an Italian Greyhound
In general, you should always start training your Italian Greyhound pups as early as possible in their lives. The earlier they start to learn, the easier it will be to complete the training successfully.
To get you started, here are some top tips for setting your Italian Greyhound in the right direction.
Top Tips for Italian Greyhound Potty Training
It might seem like an easy task, to begin with. However, as Italian Greyhounds are much more difficult to potty train than other breeds, there are some quick tips or training secrets that will set your training process off with a bang.
Some people feel that it’s cruel to lock dogs in a crate. However, it’s actually the complete opposite. Dogs are natural protectors. They are part of your pack and will feel the need to look after you and your home. When you’re away from the home, they may actually become more anxious, as they have to defend a large space by themselves.
Crate training is typically put in place to resolve this issue. They naturally feel more confident if they have a tiny space to defend. This tactic also works for potty training. Sometimes, a bit of pee could be a sign of nervousness. Having a crate to return to if they’re feeling a little overwhelmed can develop their confidence and reduce their nervous wee issue.
Crates also discourage peeing inside. A dog typically won’t go to the toilet where they sleep. This means that if your dog is in the crate overnight, they are more likely to hold it until morning, just because they don’t want to make a mess.
Learn the Signs
You’re your dog’s parents and will know them best. Keep a close eye on the signs they give immediately before they go to the toilet. They will usually:
- Sniff around
- Turn in a circle
Once you start to notice this behavior, immediately take your dog outside. This will help them to associate the outside with the toilet.
Get a Puppy in Summer
One of the largest factors when training a puppy is the season. People rarely consider this, but being able to go outside and make it a pleasant experience is directly linked to the weather outside.
If your puppy needs to pee, going outside in the rain and snow can be quite off-putting. You might also be tempted to stay inside too.
Training your puppy in the summer will be more convenient for you and them.
Avoid Puppy Pads
Puppy pads are usually encouraged by pet shops as a way to stop your carpets from being ruined. However, despite their advertising, they actually make potty training much harder.
They encourage your dog to go to the toilet indoors on the pad and don’t force them to go outside. Your puppy won’t know the difference between peeing on the pad and peeing on your carpet. This means you’ll never be in a position to take away the pad.
If you leave puppy pads for too long, your dog will simply use that spot to pee, even when there’s no pad there.
Instead, you should take your puppy outside after they pee and reward them when they do it outside.
So, you’ve started to notice the signs that your pooch needs to pee and have begun work on ironing this out in the house. There are a few stages that you’ll need to bear in mind and a routine that you should stick to religiously too.
Establish a Routine
The very first thing to remember is that your puppy works well with routines. If you don’t establish a regular walking and feeding routine as early as possible, they may get confused about when they’re supposed to go to the toilet.
It’s also difficult for them to control their bladder as their body won’t know when they will next be able to go.
To start with, always feed your Iggy puppy at the same time every day. They will then get used to how long it is between their food and their next walk.
Go Outside Regularly
Most puppy books will tell you to take your puppy outside every few hours, even through the night. While this is a good idea for the first few nights until they settle in, you shouldn’t continue this behavior throughout puppyhood.
In fact, reinforcing the idea that you’ll come and take them outside all the time to go to the toilet, will train your puppy to think that they can go whenever they like.
It’s recommended that you take your new Italian Greyhound puppy out for the first couple of nights – perhaps once every 3 hours.
After this, begin to reduce the number of times you take them. Perhaps just go out once in the night, then after a few weeks, don’t go out at all.
If you’re crate training your puppy, this will help them to realize that they need to hold it, as they don’t want to pee in their beds. It also strengthens their bladder so they can hold it for longer.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when house training is to punish the dog when they have been to the toilet.
The reality is, that you’re not likely to find the Greyhound poop straight away. If you’d known that they were doing it, you’d have taken them out straight away, right?
So, when you get angry at your puppy for pooping or peeing in the house, they can’t actually associate your body language with what they’ve done wrong. It might make you feel better, but it will just leave them confused and won’t correct the behavior.
Instead, focus on praise. Every time they poop or pee outside, you need to praise them there and then, on the spot. Give them lots of fuss and cuddles and even an actual treat.
When they go in the house, they don’t get this attention or food, meaning that they’ll prefer going outside.
How to Handle Accidents
Every now and then, you’re bound to have an accident. While your puppy is learning, you should also learn to behave in a very specific way which will help your puppy to understand right from wrong.
When they have an accident inside, don’t scold them! Yes, it’s tempting and you will be angry, but scolding them will only cause upset and confusion for your dog. It won’t help to correct the behavior.
Instead, when they have a little accident, completely ignore them. Dogs consider you a higher-ranking member of the pack and only want your attention. If they notice you wiping up their accident, then ignoring them as a result, this isn’t providing the reaction they want.
You should then reward them when they go to the right place – outside.
Normalizing Italian Greyhound Potty Training Indoors
Although toilet training to use the yard for poops or pees is preferable, there may be occasions when that just isn’t feasible. They aren’t able to hold their bladder for a long time like other breeds. If you happen to be out of the house for a long period, then you could try litter training.
A litter box placed near the door gives your pooch the opportunity to still learn that going in that direction is right when they need to pee, but also means that it is contained in a specific area of the home.
Italian Greyhound potty training can be a challenging task, there’s no doubt about that. This means that you’re likely to have to keep up your regime for much longer than other breeds. However, it is possible. If you have the love, care, and patience to allow them to learn, then an Italian Greyhound could be the perfect loving companion.
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