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Late-Crate Training

by Sally

We have decided to begin using a crate for our 10 month old maltese, Tobey. We have made this decision because we just seem to be going BACKWARDS in the training department!!! He use to do so well, but lately he just seems to have "accidents" all over the place. The bad part is that I just don't believe that they are ACCIDENTS!!! We recently had him neutered (about 2 months ago), and I thought this would solve the problem. But it hasn't! If anything, he is much 'friskier' and revengeful than before!! He has even began chewing things again!! I am at my wits end! Therefore, we have purchased a crate that I am going to try to begin using (although it breaks my heart!!!) Are there any suggestions for procedures to begin using this crate at such a late age - especially since he has always been use to his "freedom"!! Thank you in advance!


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.

Sally. Buy ear plugs! I expect you are going to hear lots of howling. But you are doing the correct thing, so don't let Toby wear you down. There is a book by Carol Benjamin called Dog Problems. In the chapter on housebreaking she specifically discusses returning the older dog to crate training when it is necessary (and it sounds like necessary to me in your case). She says "Confine the dog most of the time as per the initail puppy schedule unless he never has and accident while you are home. In that case confine only when you are out. Since this is a chronic or long-term problem there should be no rush to give your dog run of the house again....He must lose that freedom entirely until he give up his nasty habit. It will take time." She also says you must stick to your guns no matter what and if you let the dog roam before he is retrained he will continue to soil the house. Also that this probably needs to go on for a minimum of weeks with freedom provided only for a couple of minutes at a time after things seemingly are better. At any slip no matter how teeny back to the crate for at least 2 weeks. She also suggest running a fan at night to drown out the sounds of your little doggie fussing in the crate. Good luck. (By the way, I know this will work--I have used just this technique on 2 rescues who were not 100% trained.)
-cathy brown

I have to agree with Shelley. Just keep in mind that this dog is a lifetime committment and a few months of torture for both of you is so much better than having to give him away because of his problems later on when you are so sick of them you can't take it another day. You will need to be strong and it will break your heart but it really is for his own good as well as yours.

Sounds like you might have more problems than just housetraining. If the crate does not work, which it didn't with my little problem child, I would suggest a trainer. Just hours before I lost my mind with my husbands dog, they saved me.
-Marsha A.

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