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Messing crate overnight

by Michael Beecher

Hi all...as some of you know, I am a new owner of a 13-week male Maltese. He's a doll and is very easy to workk with, but we do have one small problem: he sleeps in a crate and almost every night, he either pees or poops in his crate. Now I had always heard that dogs won't go where they sleep and/or eat, but apparently that's not the case with Willy and I suspect it's because he's a pet shop dog and that sort of behavior became habit. I've tried a number of approaches such as taking his food bowl away after dinner so he can't snack all night long, walking him as late as possible before bedtime, etc. Nothing works. My question is: if he cries at night, should I get up and walk him? I read somewhere that you shouldn't take a barking dog out of its crate because it rewards them for barking. Also, if I start this pattern of getting up in the middle of the night to walk him, I fear I'll never break him of it the habit. Any suggestions? (I also have a question about changing his food, but I'll post that separately.)


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.

Sometimes they just can't make it all night. Prissy could, but Sarah couldn't. When she went to bed and cried right off the bat, I would ignore her, but after she was asleep for awhile and she woke up crying, I would take her out to use the bathroom, and then return her to her crate. Are you feeding your baby dry food, sometimes other than dry food will make them have to go in the middle of the night.
-Marsha A.

I had this problem with Pixie at first. I shoved her bed to the very front of the crate and blocked off the rest of it with cardboard so she couldn't roam and go where she pleased. This did work for her. She stopped going. After a few days the bed was clean and dry when I got her out. I never got her out when she would bark. Hard to do. She now has her own spot on the end of our bed for the last several months. Never has an accident. Always waits for me to get up in the morning. I always leave a dress on the floor too. Sometimes I'll find her on the floor on my dress.

Michael,Your puppy doesn't have much choice if he has to go. He's not tickled to go where he's sleeping and probably is not mature enough to be able to hold it all night.

I agree that your puppy can not hold it all night, but you do not want him to get in the habit of walking in the middle of the night either. I suggest you confine him to a small room (bathroom or laundry) with a puppy pad at night or when you are away from home for more than a few hours. The pads are scented to draw the puppy, he'll know what to do. It may take 3 - 4 months before he can hold it for more than a few hours at a time. This way he'll be more comfortable and you can get a good nights sleep. Also, puppies are like new babies, they need a schedule.
-Carol Abey

Michael, my philosophy on puppy training is that it's the puppy's job to learn to go outside and to let you know it has to go. It is the human's job to make sure they get there. When Lucy was being potty trained, she got walked in the wee small hours if she asked. This went on for only about a month. By then she could hold it. It IS definitely a pain to have to make the middle of the night walks, but worth it in the end. With both my foster babies, their billing was "not able to potty train, go in the house." When I brought them home, I took them out very, very often--sometimes on the half hour. My point was to let them know that if they had to go, they were never far from a walk. Since both are older (4 and 5 yr) they could easily hold it for long periods. By the end of a day or two, everyone waited for the scheduled walk. Dogs do not want to use the indoors! They are basically very clean creatures. I find that most dogs that are untrainable have human parents who are not willing to make the effort and don't read the clues they get from the babies. The newest foster boy's family said: Well, we walk him, he goes, and then as soon as we bring him in he will poop right in front of us. We just don't understand. On day one, I noticed that this little guy only goes half of what he has to eliminate and saves the other half until he's walked some more and sniffed some more. He tried to tell them in the only way he could: did it right in front of them. So give up the sleep initially. You will benefit in the long run from being a responsible parent..
-cathy brown

Well, I have the same problem with "willie", a 15 week old that I've had for almost 2 weeks. sometimes he's just wonderful, does everything right -- goes outside the open patio door --the whole works! and he's praised for it. then others, he just sits at my feet rolling those precious eyes at me, we wait and wait, i command like usual, but he waits until we get back inside and goes on the carpet! the door is always open, because we have a secured backyard. we work, but have different schedules, so he's not alone for more than about 4 hours at a time during the week and i have him constantly with me all weekend. so he gets ample loving and attention. but he always seems to find the time to wizz when i'm not looking! got any suggestions?
-jean hockett

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