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Puppy Problems

by Mimi

I recently purchased a Maltese puppy and I am very happy with him. However, I am having a little trouble housebreaking him. He wakes me up several times a night because he needs to "go". Although I appreciate that he does give a warning, I am VERY TIRED and losing a lot of sleep. I was wondering if anyone could give me an idea how long this is going to last until he learns to hold it longer. I also would like some suggestions on how to minimize biting and nipping. Although I now he just wants to be playful, I'm concerned about him doing this to visitors, especially my 2 and 4 year old nieces. Thanks!!!


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.

How old is your puppy? That makes a difference... I read that very young puppies just can't hold it for long and that they don't start to develop control until about 4 months. I don't know if that is true or not, but something to think about. I got Emma at 4 months, and she is six months now, and almost totally housetrained. It was alot of work for awhile, there, though. I took her out every 2 hours during the day, and once or twice during the night. I gave her treats and praise, and she is finally getting it (hurray!). Good luck! With consistency, the pup will get it. The biting thing is a problem for me too. I hold her mouth shut and say "NO BITING" in a stren voice, and then give her something appropriate to bite on. She still nips alot, but less than she did, so I guess that will take time too. I also tell other people to not let her bite them. Other folks think its cute and don't mind it, but it's not good for her training. Again, consistency is the key.
-Jessica & Emma

Mimi, I don't know if you will want to do this or not, but I suggest putting a wee wee pad next to your bed, and when the puppy has to "go" in the middle of the night, pick him up and put him down on the wee wee pad (all without getting out of bed). If he walks off it, gently guide him back on until he goes. I don't know how old your puppy is, but this worked great with my little one, which saved me from walking down many stairs in the middle of the night. She is over 7 months old, and I still keep wee wee pads down, even though she is trained, just in case--and she always has a place to go. As for biting and nipping, every time Zsa Zsa started doing it, I said a firm "NO", pulled my hand away, and gave her something to chew on. Hope this helps, enjoy!

Dear Mimi: The potty training which human babies require can be condensed down into weeks with a puppy, dependent upon age and consistency of the owner. I agree with another individual who posted that puppies do not have good bladder control until they are 4-5 months of age. Just as one loses sleep with a new baby in the house, so one does with a new puppy. But the time put in now with MORE than be worth it later. Take the time to CONSISTENTLY take the puppy out of his crate (you DO have him in a crate, don't you?)whenever he alerts you. You can be thankful that he awakens you as some dogs don't (and they are the ones that often are never 100% house-broken)! As far as the biting is concerned (and any other non-desirable behaviors), this is easily deterred by growling at him (with your meanest dog-growling voice), IN HIS FACE, while looking him straight in the eyes and frowning. This speaks VOLUMES to the dog - IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE - it says, "Back off! You have broken the rules!" When he stops the behavior, offer him an acceptable substitute (preferably a chew toy) and whenever he accepts it, gushingly praise him. Hope this helps! Jacquelene :))

Mimi--When Lucy was a baby I kept her in bed with me at night and she would ask (kiss/whine) to go out when she needed to in the night. It seems to me that this night time thing went on for about 6 wk at twice a night (like I took her out around 8:30 or 9, put her to bed, was out around midnight, then around 2 or 3, and we get up at 5 or 5:30). I agree with you that it is tough duty and I remember saying this is why God gives babies to YOUNG women. I was zonked. But as time went on, we would lose one of the late night walks (her choice) and soon there were none. At the 12 to 15 week stage, their bodies are developed enough for about 4 hrs in between pee=pee sessions. I have read that by 6 mo they are good for about 8 hr. Hope this gives you courage to go on!! It does come to an end, I promise.
-cathy brown

Thanks for all of your imput. I feel much better knowing I'm not the only one who's been through this. You've certainly given me lots of hope!! Thanks again!!

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