When you want to bring a dog home you might be wondering what are the hardest dogs to housebreak. The key to housebreaking any dog is consistency. That being said, there are some who take a bit longer to housebreak than others. Don’t let that discourage you from bringing one of these guys home though, it won’t take forever, just time and patience. Here are some of the harder dogs to housebreak.
Related: Puppy House Training the Easy Way
Hardest Dogs to Housebreak
You’ll notice I gave tips for housebreaking after each dog on this list. All the tips work for all the dogs.
West Highland Terrier: Confinement is key. I was the proud owner of a Westie. She was tough to housebreak in terms at first. It was a learning curve for both of us! This was the first time I was housebreaking a dog and this was her first time being housebroken. Looking back, I was outside all-the-time. The good news is that we worked during the day, so she was confined to her kennel (which she did actually use as her bathroom one time, and that was my fault). In the end it was definitely for both of our benefits, being outside a lot (we were literally in and out, in and out). In a few weeks she caught on.
Maltese: Never never never (did I say never?) get physical with a Maltese. That goes for any dog really. Getting mad and physical when they use your home as their own personal, giant toilet, it can enrage anyone. Try to be more positive. Get on a schedule. Think about how you would respond to someone when they scold you all the time. You would probably start to be a little skittish around them. Just be positive, stick to a feeding and bathroom schedule and take him out often, to the same spot. Don’t forget to have treats in your pocket as a reward for doing the right thing.
Havanese: To help housebreak your Havanese, set a feeding schedule. If you leave food out for him to graze on all day, you are going to run into a potty problem. With a food schedule, you (and more importantly he) will know when it is time to go out. He will be great at bell training too! I would try that if I were you. I would so much rather be hearing a bell when my dog has to go out, than barking and scratching at the door (or jumping around me like my dogs do). Sometimes I just want to say “Speak!” and then I realize, well, he is.
Pomeranian: I feel a little like a broken record, but positive reinforcement and praise. If you feel silly praising your dog for ‘doing his business’, then you are doing it right! Pretend like you are teaching a child to use the potty, kind of the same idea. Jump around, clap, have treats in your pockets, he will get it. Take him out often and show him where he needs to go. He is smart, but when using a commands, keep it to one word. You can also bell train him! I would totally do this if I had a Pom. Hang a little bell at the door and ring it every time you use the command to go potty. I find this so cute when I see my friend’s dogs do this.
Cocker Spaniel: If you are a first time dog owner, he might give you a run for your money in the housebreaking department. Thankfully he is capable of understanding a multiple word command, so that is helpful! As with everyone on this list, positive reinforcement is key. Focus more on going outside than not going inside. Time and space is important, meaning that you need to be sure you are taking him out after eating and often, and bringing him to the right spot you want him to use as his bathroom. He will get it.
Did you catch on to the trend here? These dogs are on the smaller side. I have been told that smaller dogs are a little more difficult to housebreak than their larger buddies. My aunt works for a vet and has told me that small dogs are stubborn, get cold easily (hence they don’t want to venture out to pee) and their ‘business’ is easier to hide in a corner than your larger dog. So while it may be hard, it is not impossible. Keep the faith (and the door open) it will happen!