Dogs: Litter Box Trained?

Why can’t you litter box train a small dog? I just saw a just-for-TV ad for a Potty Patch, a fake grass patch for doggies. If this works, it just proves my theory that a small dog could be litter box trained, right? If not, why not?

You can. I live downtown St. Louis where there are many small dogs. Their owners do just that!

I paper trained an adult Chihuahua. She was smart, and I have no doubt that she would have adapted to a litter box pretty quickly.

I’ve always wondered why cats usually use litter boxes, and dogs usually use puppy pads/paper training.

My theory was that a cat will instinctively try to cover up its excrement, but doing so on a puppy pad would probably tear it up. But why doesn’t a dog typically use a litter box? I know my chihuahua covers up his excrement.

A lot of dogs kick soil backward at where they have pooped in what seems to be an ineffectual attempt to cover it. (I don’t know, but maybe this is the vestiges of a wild behavior that they have partially lost since domestication.) If they did this in an open litter box they would kick litter all over the floor, and I can’t see many dogs being willing to use a closed one. It would be too much like soiling their den.

It works for small dogs. I did it.

Not just small dogs. I actually know a woman that raises and shows Samoyeds, has anywhere from 6-15 in her house at any given time. She is a bit… ecsentric, to say the least, and can’t be bothered to let them outside, so she keeps a wading pool full of kitty litter in her vacant back bedroom, and that’s where the dogs ‘go’.

It’s not pretty.

Dog Litter Box from Petco

Note the litter - it’s not sandy like kitty litter.