Click here to visit the most complete Maltese site on the WWW
Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that most of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinary medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.
Archived Message

Can't House Break?
by Alison Sykes
Can't House Break?I have a beautiful 5 month old female maltese and this is my first puppy. We did not know how to start with her and did not start with her staying in a crate. She has had the run of the house. When I take her outside all she will do is play and run around. (She loves it outside) She refuses to potty outside. She tears up the paper if we put it on the floor for her. She pottys all over the house, not in a particular place. I love her very dearly and she gives us much love, but this is a problem that we need to have advice on. Have we waited too late?


You didn't say how much time you have to spend with her, or if you work and therefore gone a lot. If you are home, I would put her on a leash and take her out OFTEN. If she is on a leash and you do not allow her to run and play and keep saying, "Go potty!", then praise her like the dickens if she does, you may have some luck. She has developed a bad habit, but almost all dogs are trainable. I think the leash thing may help, so she has to stay more focused on what you are trying to teach her. You may have to go out 50 times a day, but it will be worth it. Take her out after she eats or drinks anything. Good luck.
Robin K.

No, you haven't waited too late!! BUT, you need to start training her now. I just wrote to Bob about my Monique. Confining is mandatory and even then it will take a few months. Had it not been for this website, i might have thrown in the towel on training--it was very frustrating. Remember that it takes time--give her another 4-5 months with your constant postive training and you will have afriend for life. It will be worth it--believe me at first I didn't know what to do b/c I thought it was not working or taking too long, but that was not the case--it takes as long as it takes, just don't get frustrated with the mishaps. And please don't give the baby the run of the house while training. Best of luck.
I would start confining her to your kitchen(I use a baby gate to block the entrance to the kitchen) or another room of your choice. Put a wee wee pad or newspaper(which ever you prefer) down and tape it to the floor to prevent her from chewing it. On the other side of the kitchen I would have her water and food and in another area her bed and toys. If she potty's on the floor say No, go on the paper, and take her to the paper. She'll get it eventually! After she does her business I would let her out of the kitchen to play for an hour or so and than back into the kitchen. I have trained my older two maltese this way and am now doing exactly what I suggested to you to do with my 5 mo. two week old. It worked great for me in the past and is working now as well. Granted my youngest still has accidents but she'll learn. It takes time and patience. It is not to late to try this. I would not allow her to have full run of the house until she is 100% trained. Just some suggestions:-)
Alison, you can do it. You are at a loss because you've never had a puppy before. First thing you need to do is get yourself a good training book. There are some wonderful ones available at the library or the book store. Next, stop letting your puppy have the run of the house since she's not potty trained. If your goal is paper training, confine her to a small papered area when you are not home, when you are home, take her out to play, returning her to the papers frequently to relieve herself. If you are trying to train her to go outside, do the same. Never just let her out. Go with her, instruct her to "potty" and praise her when she complies.You can do this. Good luck.
It is not too late, but you did kind of start off in the wrong direction. So, you need to start again. Either crate your little one, leash her to you when you are home, or give her a small bathroom/utility room with door/gate to confine her and her papers. Read the archives to get "directions" and Jay also has a Housebreaking link on the home page. If you do not start over now, you may (probably) not ever get your little one to potty in the appropriate spot. Also, remember that at her young age, she has very, very little control of these function--her system isn't yet matured enough to be able to "hold it," just as human babies are not mature enough to do so. Work hard, be consistent, and it will pay off. One more thing. Get a good product (nature's miracle for example) and make sure you removed all the smell from the places she has already used so she is not drawn back to use them again.
cathy brown
Dear Allison; It is definitely not too late to train your little doggy. Both of you will appreciate the effort. The anxiety of an un-housebroken dog is a tremendous problem. Much worse than the training process!

Get a book about housetraining. Get a crate. Follow the instructions. BE CONSISTENT. Be brave. You'll be glad. Your little doggy will be happy too!

I've had several dogs in my past (from the puppy stage) and everytime they "pottied" in the house, I'd drag them over to that spot and say "did you do that?" (in a stern voice) then directly put them outside for awhile. I didn't have to do this too often because I usually had a suspicion of WHEN the doggy need to go potty. They are similar to humans..after they wake up from sleeping, let them out right away even after some playful activity, let them outside. Once the start going out there, they will continue. If not, I have had a puppy that had a total bladder problem that I ended up returning after 2 days because it just wasn't normal.
I just happened to have been reading a terrific book on dog behavior by Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Director of the Tufts Univ. School of Medicine's Behavior Clinic where it dealt with a problem very much like yours.

Here is the gist of his advice: Escort your dog on lead to a convenient location outside the house several times a day and give the dog sufficient time (about 15 minutes) to produce the desired result. In order to make the chosen site more attractive, lay urine-soaked newspaper in the area to provide the correct olfactory cues for elimination. The timing of these excursions should be first thing in the morning, at three hour intervals during the day, and last thing at night. In addition, be sure to take the dog out fifteen or twenty minutes after eating and immediately after napping, chewing or playing. Walk the dog briskly to and from the site, not allowing it to become distracted from the task at hand (no playing). The whole sequence should be paired with some auditory cue, such as the "Hurry up" phrase popularized by the late Barbara Woodhouse. In addition, when the dog performs on cue, it should be praised immediately and given a highly palatable food treat, such as freeze-dried liver to reward and reinforce the behavior. On successful completion of a mission, take the dog back into the house to a restricted area under direct supervision. In the event that the dog exhibits any signs of impending urination, such as circling, sniffing the ground, or simply appearing restless, it is to be taken out again immediately and encouraged to use the proper site. If the dog does not urinate or defecate when taken outside, it is to be brought back inside and confined in a smallish area, perhaps a crate, for fifteen minutes before being taken out again. Most dogs will not urinate inside a crate, providing it is small enough, as they will not be able to escape from the mess. Very small dogs in a large crate can simply move to the other end and get away from the mess. Crates should be long enough for dogs to lie down comfortably, wide enough for them to turn around, and tall enough for them to stand -- in other words, they should be snug. Using confinement to a crate as a punishment is counterproductive to establishing the idea that the crate is a den or sanctuary.

I hope this advice helps; I've almost quoted the author verbatim. The book is titled The Dog Who Loved Too Much and is really informative, as well as entertaining. This section came from Chapter 14 To Pee or Not to Pee (pp. 239-241). I'm not very familiar with paper-training methods, but it seems to me that making it clear that the house is not an okay place to soil is the most important distinction at this point. Good luck and let us know how you make out.

You will never be able to potty train your baby if you don't confine her to a small area. You have to be able to get her outside as soon as you think she is going to go. When she goes on the floor, tell her firmly, No, then immediately take her outside. Also taking her outside at regular intervals, and when she first wakes up etc. for awhile. It takes being consistent and lots and lots of patience.
Alison, when we got our Taffy, we kept her confined to the kitchen, as the go all over. The mistake I made I gave her mixed messages, left the paper down to do potty, and also took her out. Until my niece who also has a maltese told me, one or the other, and it worked. Got rid of the paper, after a nap and 1/2 hr. after eating, she goes out. I'm no expert on this, but this worked for me. I put her #2 in a place where I wanted her to go, then she sniffed it, and did it. Also, take her out every two hours, to start. It wasn't so bad now that I think of it, sorry that I didn't take the paper away a long time ago. Now, Taffy sleeps with us, all she does is walk on me and stare, and I know what she wants to do. But now she's sleeping through the night. In the family room, she sits and stares at me when I watch TV and then,she circles, (potty alert)! Or, in the kitchen, we have a bell on our sliding door, she hits it with her nose, and I send her out because I yard is fenced it. She learned the bell thing by me saying to her everytime I took her out, "come Taffy, ring the bell, you have to do potty. Just a few suggestions, hope it helps, don't worry, some take longer than others, be consistant, and don't give her the run of the house! Good luck!!

Copyright 1998 © Jay Bianco All rights reserved.