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is it too late-housebreak

by autumn michaud

gowing up i've always had a dog but never paid much attention to the potty trainning business because my parents always took care of it. now i'm moved out living with my boyfriend and we have had Buddha for a little over a year now. he's like our child. we have tried everything to potty train him. when he messes we usually scold him and send him out side,like my mother did with our dogs, we even tried paper training. now it has gotten to the point where he waits until we leave the room, then when we return he hides because he knows what he did was wrong. we are at wits end and have thought of the "crate" system but it sounds terrible especially now that he has had full run of the house for a year. 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.

Autum: We crate trained both girls and it worked out very well. Recently we have had to recrate Shayna because she is digging holes in the walls when we go out. After 4 months we brought the crate out and what do you think she did? She went in immediately, found a comfortable place and took a nap. We only crate her when we are out and she knows the signs that we are getting ready to go out and she runs into the crate and waits for us to close the door. Sounds like she likes her crate doesn't it? Just wanted to share this with you so you know some dogs are happier and feel safe in their crates. Shayna's crate is rather large for her size so she is very comfortable.

Autumn, It will not be the most fun experience for either you or your dog to start crate training, at least initiallhy, but it will have to be done or you will never get him housebroken. I'd like to share with you that since I have been involved in fostering rescue maltese babies, 90% are 4 and 5 yr olds whose parents have been unable to housebreak them. Sometimes I think people have a 5-yr limit to patience! I am sure you don't want to be one of these folks--it's a hearbreaking experience, especially for the fur ball who doesn't understand where his family's gone. Get a good book on puppy training with a section on housebreaking using a crate, get the dog on a schedule for eating, playing, walking, etc. and start working on this NOW. Be sure not to get a crate for comfort--get a crate that is only large enough for your baby to lie down and turn around--otherwise the extra space will provide bathroom facilities. I'd also suggest you enroll him in an obedience class. For some reason just the process helps them "get" who is the true alpha in the family and it sort of flows throughout all doggie/parent activities Good luck. If you have any questions, please feel free to email.
-cathy brown

Autumn,Whenever someone has housebreaking problems, I always recommend going back to square one and beginning again.One thing I'd like to suggest is for you to not just "let" Budda out, expecting that he knows what he's supposed to do, because obviously he doesn't. Go out with him, instruct him to potty, using your key word, if and when he does praise him profusely.You need to praise him when he goes where you want him to or he won't understand when you chastise him when he goes in the house. Another very effective tool in housebreaking is the leash method. Leash Budda to you and take him with you wherever you go in the house. He'll like to be with you and shouldn't go while hooked to you. Do, however, give him the opportunity to relieve himself in your chosen area. Read books on the subject. Good luck. You can do it.

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