I just recently adopted a six year od female Maltese who a breeder retired after having several litters of puppies. My problem is tring to potty taraining her to poop outside in a fenced area. I knotw that she was in a kennel most of her life except when she had puppies, then brought in the house. I take her out shortly after feeding her and fequently during the day. If I put her in the fence, she stands at the gatte and cries until I get her and doesn't go. I've tried walking with hero on a leash in the area, i've put her "accidnts" in the are and she seems to aviod them. I've praised her extensively when she does go but it's only been a few times in the last several weeks. We love her so much and she has settled into our loving home so well except for this annoying thing. Can you please help me?
Type of Animal: Maltese
Age: 6 yrs.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer. I am a licensed veterinarian and would be happy to answer your questions.
Is she having accidents in the house?
Do you use a crate with her in the house?
She has only had poop accidnts in the house. She is not crated but is limited to famiy room when we go out anywhere. She doesn't seem to urinate much eaither.
It would be a good idea to get a dog crate, if only to use for a short while as you are trying to teach her. It may work to use the family room, but most dogs need a more restricted space to really reinforce the idea.
Most dogs that are potty trained will not soil in their "living area". When they are young and new to the household, their boundaries of living area are not defined to them yet. As long as she can get away from it when she is done, she doesn't see it as a problem wherever she goes and is no different than going outside. This is where the crate helps. What the crate does is to restrict her area so that she has the choice to hold it or to wait until someone lets her out. Most dogs will not want to soil in their crate and if she is respecting her crate and keeping it clean and dry, that is step one. It sounds like she already has that idea if she doesn't like when you place her droppings in the fenced in area.
Next, you have to work on the positive reinforcement. You will have to work with her and take her out to the fenced area on a lead. Praise her for going there if she does potty. When you take her out, give her a few minutes to go. If she is preoccupied or won't go, bring her in and put her in her crate. Repeat the process in a few minutes and praise her like crazy if she potties when you go out. Make it very routine so she gets the hang of it (same door, same spot in the yard). You need to physically be there when she is standing up from a squat so you can praise her immediately (not when she come back to the door). Do the same praise method for urine or stool so she gets the idea that you are happy when she does this outside.
If you want to teach her to learn to "hold it" until she is taken outside, I would not offer papers or pads as an option in the house. When she feels the need to eliminate, her choices are to hold it when she is in her crate or she should be taken outside in the fenced in area. Obviously you want to take her out frequently during the daytime hours (every few hours and after eating). Take her outside before bed and first thing in the morning and don't ask her to hold it for too long at first (6 hours max). If she soils her crate, which most dog don't want to do, don't scold her and maybe take her out a little sooner until she builds up to a longer time period. Until she learns learns what the pen is for, I would make every visit outside start with a visit to the pen with you and her on a lead. Once she has eliminated, then she is free to go on her walk, play, etc. If she doesn't, take her in, use the crate (so she doesn't soil in the house) and try again in a short while. She will soon learn that she is praised for the behavior of eliminating in the pen.
Make sure the size of the crate is right. You want to give her enough room to lay down and stretch out comfortably, but not too much more so as to be able to soil on one end and get away from it.
One other factor with the bowel movements is to make sure she is not allowed to "free feed" or eat whenever she wants. It will be much harder for you to control BM's if so. At her age, twice a day is fine.
This is a difficult subject to cover in a few paragraphs, Here is a few link with more information:
I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any further questions.
I think that I am doing pretty much everything that you said except the crate. Can you tell me why she won't go in the fenced in area when I'm there with her on the lead/ As I said, she doesn't seem to urinate much and seems to have great bladder control. Even when I take her out in the morning after all night, she putts putts around and doesn't go for quite awhile. Unlike me, open eyes, have to pee. Sometimes I feel i have to take her into the big yard in order to get her to go. Should I let her go in the big yard or just let her only go in the fenced in area?
Her bladder control is likely good since she is a young dog.
As far as letting her go in the big yard or just the fenced area, it depends on what you want. If you only want her eliminating in the fenced area, when you take her out to it, give her a few minutes only. Don't let her putt around. If she doesn't go, take her back in. Don't allow her to run around or play in the big yard until she completes her business in the fenced area. When you take her in, watch her, because she probably has to go (that is where the crate helps so as not to allow an accident). In her case, if she is used to holding it, it may take awhile for her to learn this, but eventually, she will have to go. If you keep taking her out to the fenced area, and not allowing her to eliminate in other places, she will go at some point. Maltese dogs can be stubborn.
Sorry about another email but I just took her out in the fenced area with her lead. She has not gone to the bathroom since this morning as far as I know and all she wanted to do was lay down in the grass a nd when I tried to pull her to get her to walk around, she reisisted. When I unhooked the leash , she ran to the gate and waited. I get worried if she doesnt' go, will she get sick?
Wow, she is a challenge. Does she resist the lead when she is not in the pen?
I wouldn't worry about her getting sick from not urinating. Young dogs have a tremendous ability to concentrate their urine, thus producing less volume. Keep her eating and drinking as usual and when her bladder gets full, she will go.
No and she just started resisting it in the fenced in area.
Ok, don't force her. If she goes out and lays down, let her lay (on lead) and if not urine or stool in a few minutes, she obviously doesn't have to go now. Take her in.
That is what I did, I just brought her in and did NOT give her a treat. I've been giving a treat when she does go though. You are right, she is a challenge but so sweet and worth it. We are so glad that we have her if we can just get this resolved, we'llbe great!
Here is a training method that you can start with her that may help. It is not for houstraining only so to speak, but it does help reinforce your role as the leader in strong willed dogs. It is called the "nothing in life is free" technique and it is outlined here:
She sounds like a great dog!
Over 25 years of experience caring for dogs and cats