Why are some dog breeds harder to house train than others?

Why are some dog breeds harder to house train than others?

Education & Training

House training or toilet training a new puppy can take some time to achieve reliably, and every dog learns at a different rate, which can mean that the time taken for any two individual dogs to get to grips with things can be very variable.

Additionally, whilst everyone does the best they can when it comes to training their dogs to the best of their ability and in the way that is most likely to be successful, some people are of course more experienced trainers than others, are able to learn and adapt themselves faster, or are simply more intuitive about recognising effective approaches and what works for any individual dog.

All told, this means that there isn’t a simple answer to how long on average it takes to toilet train a puppy from start to finish, and even two pups from the same litter might take vastly different lengths of time to get to grips with things.

However, there are some dog breeds that most owners of dogs of such breeds and most training and veterinary professionals too will agree tend to take longer than the norm to house train – and in this article, we will attempt to find out why this is, and the various factors that dictate it.

Read on to learn why some dog breeds can be harder to house train than most others.

Canine intelligence varies a lot from breed to breed

First of all, when it comes to canine intelligence, all dog breeds are not created equal. Whilst every dog owner likes to think that their dog is lightning smart even in the face of all evidence to the contrary, this simply isn’t objectively true!

In fact, there is a well-known ranking of the world’s best known and most common dog breeds listing the breeds in intelligence order, and outlining what each breed might reasonably be expected to be capable of learning and applying.

This is the Coren scale of canine intelligence ranked by breed – and if your dog falls towards the bottom of the list, like the English bulldog, they’re probably going to take longer to get to grips with house training than most.

…So do canine attention spans

High intelligence means a dog breed should theoretically be a fast learner, regardless of skill – but it also tends to mean that such breeds will tend to have short attention spans too, because they learn so fast that they get bored easily.

This means that you can inadvertently compromise the speed of learning of even a very intelligent dog by belabouring a point they have already learned over and over.

Even when you take intelligence out of the equation entirely, breeds that have a short attention span and that are fizzy or easily distracted will usually tend to take longer to toilet train, and to train in general.

What motivates different breeds can vary too

Some dog breeds have a natural tendency to keep themselves clean and even to be very finnicky about grooming themselves, and such breeds are also usually strongly motivated to adapt to toilet training quickly too.

For breeds at the opposite end of the spectrum, toilet training can take longer in reflection of this!

Some breeds have physical limitations to contend with

A dog that is physically very petite will not be able to hold their bladder as long as a larger dog, and this means that they will need to go to the toilet more often. This does of course mean that the problem isn’t that the dog isn’t getting the hang of toilet training – but rather that the problem lies with the owner, who is failing to take into account the dog’s potential physical limitations.

When such small breeds become a little older and so, larger, either their owner has gotten to grips with their toileting schedule better and so, avoids accidents – or the dog’s slightly increased size means that they can hold on that little bit longer, and so, makes their owner think that they’ve now learnt the basics when really the issue was physical and not mental all along!

The way people relate to and treat dogs of different breeds can vary as well!

Finally, what people expect from different breeds and how they treat them can vary, often unconsciously on the part of the person, and the dog in question will pick up on this even if the person is totally unaware of this effect.

Large, business-like breeds tend to be provided with clearer direction and more proactive training approaches that ensure that they understand what is wanted and have a motivation to comply with it than small and subjectively cuter breeds.

Many owners of small, toy, and cute-looking dog breeds run into problems with training in general, because of the ways in which they treat their dogs as a result of their petite size and cuteness. This can result in inconsistent training and so, the dog taking longer to get to grips with it; or training commands and guidance being given more in the form of a suggestion than a direction or command, once more hampering the dog’s ability to learn at their fastest possible speed.

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