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Archived Message

Crate Training Curiousity

by R. Simhon

What does a Maltese do in the crate when I'm at work (for 8 hours)? Should I be leaving her in the kitchen instead? She is 4 months and has been left in the crate while I work since I got her (one month ago). I feel so bad. Should I leave her toys inside? When I come home, she is wet with urine/poo. HELP!


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

I used a portable fence that can be purchased at a pet store. I put it in a rectangular shape and put papers in one end and food, water, bed, and toys at the other. This is a great way for your puppy to spend the day with room to play and also paper trains them at the same time. After they are trained, you can use the fence when visiting others or on vacation to let them play outside. It was the best purchase I have ever made. The fence can also be extended out to use as a pet door for large openings if you want to confine them in a larger area. 8 hours is so long to be in a crate and also it is not good for them to go to the bathroom in it.
-Marsha A.

Your puppy is wet with urine/poo when you get home because she can't hold it for 8 hr. Can you get someone to walk her at least mid-day? If that is impossible, maybe you should try paper training and keep her gated in the kitchen, laundry room, etc. There is info in the archives--check under all the housebreaking problems--that will help you do this. As for what they do in the crate--mostly they sleep, especially when they are little. Lucy doesn't use her crate any more, but she sleeps most of the time I am away (and for long stretches during the day when I am). Toys in the crate are not a good idea while you are still potty training, though a chew bone or something similar couldn't hurt. (Toys tend to soak up any mess that the pup must leave.) There is an awful lot of advice re housebreaking on this site--in current and archived posts. Also Jay has information on it if you scroll down the left side of his home page.
-cathy brown

Yes, I feel the kitchen would be much kinder. She could have her bed and food and water away from her papers. (I'm assuming she's paper trained.) Her papers should be placed the farthest distance from her bed.That way she could get away from her "den" to eliminate. You could also place toys in the kitchen with her and she could get some exercise. It is my personal opinion that, while crates certainly have an important function, they are frequently misused. I couldn't be away from a potty, water, or exercise (even getting up and walking around) for 8 hours. Your puppy is being forced to eliminate in her "den" which dogs instinctively prefer not to do.

I think eight hours is a little too long for the age of your pup. We use a baby gate, to confine our dog, we put papers down, and leave his crate open in that room. When we are home, our dog goes outdoors to eliminate, but when we go to work, he feels comfortable using the papers. To keep him entertained, try putting peanut butter way down inside one of the hollow bones, or "Kongs".

I crate trained my last two dogs and cannot say enough good about it! However, 8 hours is too much. When I was working I came home for lunch, yup its alot of trouble but worth it. Both my dogs grew to love their crate (one for 10 years) as it is their safe place. By the way, I started training a new puppy yesterday and we had a very long first night. I have found that paper training makes the house breaking process longer. Good luck.
-Karen Mager

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