Archived Message


by Susan Jalleh

I adopted a 4 months old maltese 1 week ago. Please tell me how do I train her to do her business in one place only. We do not like to hit her when she does her business elsewhere. In fact we have put some old newspaper in her enclosure. That's where she usually spent her time and where we also hope she we will do her business there. Are we doing the right thing.


Positive reinforcement training, or praising the dog when she does it right works better than negative training. I never spank my dogs when they are so young and just learning about things. Keeping them in an enclosure when they are small, say an indoor doggie fence with papers on one end, food and water on the other and a toy, while you are out or asleep works very well. When you are home keep a close eye on her and if she starts to go someplace other than the right place pick her up and put her on the papers. When you go to clean up the mess, take her with you saying nasty and making faces while you clean it up. She will get the idea. Praise her when she goes on the papers. Our baby Charlee comes with me to change their papers and even if she does not have to go, as soon as I put down the new papers she runs and squats on them. I tell her what a good girl she is. She loves the praise.
-Marsha A.

We're having some difficulty (well my mother is) in training our new little Maltese. I do believe, however, that they still are very young--almost 8 weeks. How old (I realize all dogs are different) is the average age they really do well on the paper? I am also concerned about training them to then go outside as well(????)

Susan, first of all congratulations on the new addition! Maltese are pretty smart so you shouldn't have too much of a problem. I gated Lily in one room during the day. I found if she was too far from her papers she had a hard time finding them. You're right about not spanking her (this would only confuse her) When Lily made a mistake I told her "no" firmly, but lovingly, picked her up, put her on the paper and used the same phrase everytime. "Pee-Pee on the paper." The times when she did hit the paper I praised her immediately and used the same phrase, Good Girl, pee-pee on the paper. She soon associated this phrase w/ urinating and would go when I asked her to. She also loves praise and learned quickly how to get it, so don't forget to praise. It's so important in any kind of training. Also crate her during the night, but keep her within hearing range so she can tell you when she has to go. They hate going where they sleep. Good Luck

To hit a dog, any dog, but particularly one as tiny as a maltese pup is unacceptable and quite possibly borders on cruelty to animals. Besides that it will never work for anything but to make your pup terribly afraid of you. PLEASE do not hit your fluff ball--would you hit a human baby that wet its diapers??? Besides that issue, I recently have read a couple of articles on house training that stress that fact that if you punish the dog when housetraining that it may (probably will) do the dirty deed when you are not around. What the dog seems to learn is that it is "bad" to eliminate in the owner's presence, not that there is a proper place to do it. Also at 4 mo the baby's system is not developed enough to "hold it" (and for sure not at 8 wk, Joanne--an 8-week pup is hardly more than acquainted with the fact that is IS a body!) Try crate training. Take the kiddo out to do business at least once an hour, also 15 min. after it eats (and if it doesn't do anything wait 10 more min watching every second and then try again), and IMMEDIATELY after it naps (especially then!). The best advice I got when I brought Lucy home was "if you can't see your dog it should be in its crate." I didn't crate train Lucy except for leaving her in it when I had to be out of the house, but she spent 99.5% of her time ON MY LAP while I worked during the day and if she was not on my lap, I watched her like a hawk. If she even looked like she was hunting around for a place or starting to squat, I yelled NO as loud as I could, picked her up, and took her outside--even if she was peeing on the way there. And, Joanne, be persistant with the training, but realize that even at 12 wk they can hold their bladder only for about 4 hr--so you have to be vigilant and take the pup out frequently (or onto the papers if that is what you prefer as "the place.)"
-cathy brown

I used puppy pads to train my Maltese puppy. It is not necessary to buy real scented "puppy pads," the Depend brand bed pads work great, are larger, and you get more for the money--the generic brands aren't worth buying though. I put a pad in each room. It sure beats cleaning up a mess on the floor or ruining your carpet. You might buy "real" puppy training pads the first time or two with the scent on them, but once they get the idea, the Depend pads are best.

We drove about 900 miles each way to pick up our Geppetto when he was 14 weeks old. I took along a small cat litter pan and Wee-wee pads. On the trip home with him in the car, every hour or so, I'd put Geppetto in the litter pan and say, "Wee-wee, Geppetto-- Quickly, quickly!" and he would almost always go. Loads and loads of praise followed-- kisses, hugs, riotous celebration-- plus a couple of puppy kibbles. Two days in the car, and he's pretty much paper trained now. He makes an occasional mistake, but he's only 16 weeks old so he's entitled. Also-- even though he has papers in his crate to use at night, he will most often not use them...and boy, does he have to go in the morning!!
-Deb Bert

I think I am going through what a lot of you have mentioned.Murray is such a sweet puppy(8weeks old).We just got him 2 weeks ago and as would be expected,we are having difficulty housebreaking him.We bought a book,"How to Get Your Dog To Do What You Want" by Warren Eckstein.He suggests that if you not try to crosstrain your puppy for indoors and outdoors at the same time.He says it's too confusing.So,we chose to try to housebreak him first.He says to designate the spot where you want the puppy to use the bathroom and when he "relieves himself" where you don't want him to,say "no,no",wipe up the mess and put the puppy and the tissue you wiped it with in the designated "pee or poop" spot.He suggests leaving the puppy there for 20 minutes.He also suggests putting him in this spot for 20 minutes after waking up.We are having a hard time with this.If there are any Maltese experts out there,what do you think about this method of training???He doesn't seem to be catching on at all,so we are trying to figure out if it is just because we haven't had him long or if this method doesn't work.

Emily, If your pup is only 8 wk old, you can't really expect 100% success in the housebreaking department yet. I can't believe anyone sold you a 6-week puppy--truly they should still be with their moms at that age. At any rate, I got Lucy at 12 wk and was told her system had only matured to the point that she could hold it for 4 hr tops. I am not saying you should give up trying to train the baby, just that it doesn't surprise me that you aren't 100% there yet. I was home all the time with Lucy during the potty training process and not only did I watch her constantly. I fed her at the exact same time every day waited about 15 minutes, then took her out. When she did her thing she got lots of praise and if she didn't, we came back in waited a little, then did it over again until it "worked." Also every time she woke up from a nap she was immediately taken out to pee. It took about 3 weeks of this before she got it, but by then, remember, she was about 4 mo old and not only had she "gotten it" in her head, but her little body had matured enough to do the waiting in between walks. So keep at it and know that the little one has to "learn" the behavior but also he has to mature a little yet.
-cathy brown

Marsha -- Thanks for the advice. Yes, we do a lot of praising. I think my mother is just not working with her enough. It looks as though I'll end up with both adorable little girls!!! My mother is 74, and I think she just wants a paper trained puppy handed over to her. Does your Maltese go outdoors as well? I'm torn--I sort of want them to go outside as to not have to deal with papers. Don't get me wrong . . . LOVE caring for these beauties! My husband, daughter and I are having SOOOOO much fun! Do you know anyone who's Maltese will go outside OR on the paper (for example, have to go while you're at work--no choice but the paper.

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