HomeHousetraining / Dog Potty TrainingHousetraining Adult Dogs Who Have Bad Habits

Recently I met a woman whose small two-year-old dog poops on the expensive carpets throughout her house, typically early in the morning before she is awake. She has had him for over a year and a half, and she doesn’t know what to do. She is thinking of getting rid of him, she said in exasperation.

Housetraining problems are one of the main reasons people do get rid of dogs, and what is the likelihood of such a dog coming across someone with the knowledge and the patience to deal with this problem? Not too great. Far better if people can get some help with their dog and work it through!

This woman and I talked about some of the things she could do, and I referred her to my webpage on housetraining puppies and dogs. so I’ll leave her story now, and talk more generally.

What are some of the things that can be done with an adult dog who pees or poops in the house?

Dog pooping not allowed signFirst, I think it’s helpful to realize that the dog has somehow learned that this is acceptable behavior — even if he gets yelled at sometimes, he hasn’t learned the desirable habits, and this is due to the messages he has gotten from people. In other words, the context is that this situation has been created by both dog and human. And that’s how the solution will come: from the interactions of both, the communication. I’ve observed that often it’s happened at a time when the humans have had full plates with other aspects of their lives and simply haven’t found the way to deal with the dog problems too.

Do be sure to have your veterinarian examine the dog, to be sure there are no physical problems involved.

You have a management situation here. From now on, the dog should not be allowed loose in the rooms that he has used for elimination. This probably means using a crate at times — I love the many benefits of crate training dogs and that link takes you to my page about how to crate train. Do take the time to let the dog come to accept the crate before confining him in it.

Another way you can keep tabs on your dog in the house is to attach yourself to the dog by means of a medium-length leash which clips onto a belt you wear.

Okay, so with this level of management, you should immediately see little or none of the undesirable behavior. But what about teaching him what you DO want?

Spend a LOT of time taking him outside, to where you want him to do his stuff. Luckily, since adults can hold it longer, you won’t need to follow the puppy schedule I outline on that housetraining page, but you likely will need to stay outside longer on each trip. This can be a time to play ball or walk together — just be sure to keep your eyes on the dog rather than getting distracted into weeding the petunias because then you may miss the moment when he does his stuff.

You want to notice that moment for two reasons — it means you are free to go back in the house shortly but it also is a time when you want to praise the dog effusively for being so good and smart. Tiny bits of something delicious can be given too.

Over time, this method will yield results. Just don’t slack off too soon! It’s always harder to unlearn a bad habit that to learn right in the first place, but it can be done. And it’s worth it!

 


Comments

Housetraining Adult Dogs Who Have Bad Habits — 40 Comments

  1. Lizn62, sorry I didn't see your question, not sure how it slipped by me. There are a lot of suggestions on this page. I suggest you print it out, or cut and paste the most useful parts and print them out.

  2. Any suggestions for a house trained dodg who still has some accidents? It is a 5 yr. old female yorkie.

  3. Pamela, you are smart to be working on this now. I suggest that you find a good trainer in your area to work with you. Find one who only uses positive, pain-free methods, not the older traditional dominance-based methods. You can go to apdt.com and search there for trainers in your area.

    Also you might like to read up on dogs and babies. There are some good books. Here is one: http://training-dogs.com/dog-and-baby.html

  4. We have a 160lb pure breed American Bulldog who came from a rescue about 5years ago. She took a few years to re-train as she was puppy milled and abused for so long but has taken a new lease on life. We recently found out that I was pregnant (like 8monthes to go) and Boo (our American Bulldog) who was perfectly re-trained has started doing both of her business on our carpet in the living room. We know from experience moving that major stress makes her act strange (poops and pees). But what can we do to help resolve this issue. We love our dog but if it continues we are afraid that the stress from having a new baby and the dog retorting we will not be able to handle. Please help us with any ideas that we could try so that we don’t go totally gray before the baby gets here. Signed to very desperate parents

  5. Sheryl, I am sure there are a variety of ways to deal with fear of sounds but the one I have personal experience with is the Tellington TTouch. My husband I produced a program on this method which you can read about here:

    http://www.hartworks.com/tellington-touch-dogs.htm

    Be sure to read the email I quote from Robin Tassone.

    Of course, what works on one dog may not work on another but I *have* heard of quite a few success stories with loud noises and ttouch.

    Best wishes,
    Rosana

  6. Hi we are watching my sons 9 yr. old black lab. He is so afraid of thunderstorms, fireworks, and other loud noises he will pee and poop in the house. We do have medications to calm him down but of course you don’t always know when the noise is coming to catch it before it happens. Is there anyway to change this behavior?

    Sheryl

  7. Rose, take a few deep breaths and try to get out of your desperate mindset. Then go back and re-read this entire page, including all my answers and the pages I link to.

    Sit down and write up for yourself some rough notes on how you are going to train all 3 dogs. It certainly can be done, though it may take some patience and there will be some mistakes along the way.

    After you’ve done that, you may have specific questions and feel free to post them here, with enough detail that I or someone else can help!

    Best,
    Rosana

  8. I have had an American Eskimo for at least 3 years. He is an amazing dog and I love him soooo much. He was crate trained as a puppy, but recently we have adopted a 1 and haf year old puggle and a 11 month old cavachon. They had untaught our american eskimo to go to the bathroom outside. How do I train all 3 dogs????? Please answer, I’m despeate, and I would never get rd of my dogs. I love them too much.

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  11. Suzanne, it is SO satisfying to hear how well she is doing! Good for you, and I hope this motivates others!

  12. Just an update our four legged family member – we got through the month of September without a single mess in our house – yahoooooooooo! I paid closer attention to her habits and have adjusted accordingly. We also enlisted the help of our 2 and 4 year olds…they are pitching in with walking her and helping to keep all doors closed to rooms where there is carpeting/mats. For about 3 weeks, Zoe got a treat every single time she peed or pooped. She was praised lavishly by everyone and caught on…so well so that she will now pee on command – I’d heard of dogs learning this, but never thought it possible! This will come in so handy this winter when it’s 40 below and we’re all freezing!!

    Anyhow, I just wanted to thank you for the encouragement and support. Somehow, just typing out the words ‘I need help with my adult dog who continues to poop in my house!!’ motivated me to pay closer attention and sovel the problem so that all of us could live more peaceful, poop-free lives :)

    Kind regards,
    Suzanne & Zoe

  13. Hi Marie — Good for you for your determination to work with your guy on this.

    Housetraining an adult dog who has developed habits of going indoors is quite a different matter than housetraining a puppy, so for example the limited amounts of water you mention are unlikely to help.

    There are two legs to what you will be doing in the coming months: Management and Training.

    Here is the basic principle for management: Don’t leave the dog unattended at ANY time in a place where you don’t want him to go potty. This means that during the day, he cannot have free run of the house for quite some time to come.

    This will help tremendously with your carpet bills… by the way, steam cleaning may not get out the odor of the poop and/or urine for him, even if it does for you. Pet stores — both local and online — sell enzymatic products that you really need to use in the house to change the odor.

    Okay, so if he can’t be loose in the house, what are your choices? Possibly outside but not everyone has an ideal situation / climate / neighborhood for that. More likely is a good-sized crate. Yeah, this is an expense, but think of all you will be saving on carpet cleaning! You want a large enough one that he will be comfortable. See my page about crate training on my site:

    http://training-dogs.com/crate-training.html

    … and it also covers alternatives if crate training isn’t working out. Or if you have a laundry room or something of the sort which would work.

    Where the other dog will be,you’ll have to work out. Will your guy accept being crated if she is loose? It may take some time. so the carpet cleaning may not be completely over yet, sorry.

    So that is the first part of management, and the second you can guess if you read through the various questions and answers above. when someone is home, the dog is attached to that person or in his “safe area” of crate or whatever you come up with. Whether your daughter can do this depends on her age and skill, but adults can. The very moment he seems to think about a poop, out you go fast.

    Finally, a bit about training: somehow this dog learned that people want him to poop indoors, or maybe he somehow decided that pooping outside is dangerous. Watch his behavior closely for clues. With all this confinement (and even if he does poop in his crate when you are gone), you will likely begin getting some successes where he poops outside. Be prepared with very yummy treats (dried liver could be in a plastic bag in your pocket) and tons of praise.

    well, I could go on, sometimes I think about writing an ebook just on this topic.

    Do have a vet check if you haven’t already, once in a while it is a veterinary matter.

    And come back here and let me know how it is going, or with more questions if you have them.

    Be sure he gets plenty of exercise and love too!

    Best,
    Rosana

  14. Dear Rosana,

    Last year we moved to the house of our dreams, and after a week living there we adopted an American Eskimo from the local shelter, when we adopted him he was 4 years old.

    He is beautiful, but unfortunately he has been peeing and pooing in every room of our house that all the house smells terrible.

    I take him out every morning as soon as I get up, and keep him outside for a reasonable time for him to pee and poop. We also have another dog (female) that we have for a very long time and she is well trained and very obedient.

    We leave the dogs alone all day inside the house, with limited amounts of water, hoping that this would help in not peeing all the time. But it’s not working.

    My daugher takes the dogs out as soon as she arrives from school but he doesn’t want to poop outside. We even leave him outside for an hour or more and he doesn’t poops, but as soon as we bring him back inside he goes to a certain room and he poops.
    Our carpet looks terrible and smells bad, we have been spending a lot of money steam cleaning all the rooms almost every month. I don’t want to take him back to the shelter. The reason why I adopted a dog from the shelter is to save him from what we all know it could happen with dogs that are not adopted or are very old. I want to keep him but this money spending with cleaning carpets is killing me.
    I need your advice in what should I do to train him to break this bad habit.
    Thank you.

  15. Hi Betty — It seems to me that the attach-Roxy-to-Betty approach is your best bet. That is, don’t give her the free run of the house because she hasn’t earned it. So have her on a longish leash, attached to you all the time she is free in the house and you are home and awake. Need to take a shower? Pop her in her crate or keep her in the bathroom with you. This will require you to split your concentration between whatever else you are doing and Roxy, and it may have to go on for some time, but it is worth it.

    “Fair” is a human concept, very important to me certainly, but I am not sure that dogs think exactly that way

    Please re-read this entire page, and also the page I link to to in my post, and maybe print them out. You will get other ideas that way, like having a vet check.

    And I’d love it if you report back here after a while, as to how it’s going!

    Oh, the nipping… see if you can get around that by coaxing her to get up herself. We had a comfort-loving Basenji who did that, and it took bribes at times and also sometimes a good bit of verbal encouraging. “Sunbeam, c’mon, time to go to bed… Sunbeam, get your little body off the sofa now, the tv is over, come on little girl,” etc. Don’t let the nipping continue or become a habit.

    Best,
    Rosana

  16. Hello Rosana,

    My family adopted a chihuahua mix from the local humane society in april, her name is Roxy. The year before we adopted a chihuahua/terrier mix from another local humane society, his name is Tucker. I take my dogs out together for walks three to four times a day.(sometimes more). I have tried to housebreak Roxy but it is going badly. When we first brought her home she would defecate 7 or more times a day.(All ok movements) Know she goes about 4 to 5 times a day sometimes just three. She has free run of the house for most part, I didn’t think it fair to crate her when my Tucker is roaming about(by the way Tucker is an Angel never goes in the house, though has picked up barking habits from Roxy and is overly protective of me and Roxy on our walks). Oh she is left in the crate when I am not home and in the evenings. I have tried the crate method but she will defecate in her crate as well. I thought the crate was to big so I devised a way to make it smaller to meet suggested size for her. The next morning I woke up to a foul order, Roxy had defecated and possibly ate it than vomited it out. She was a mess the crate was a mess and my home stunk! Needless to say I changed the crate back to the way it was. It has been over 4 months and she doesn’t get it even if I praise her tremendously,(now I have to make sure I praise Tucker for doing his as well because I don’t want him to pick up on her bad habits.) She is also exhibiting some aggressive behavior, if you try and move her from a cozy place..last night she nipped me. I am at my wits end how to I get the message through that she most do her business when we go for our walks…..Please Help!
    Thanks,
    Betty

  17. Hi Angela — It sounds to me like you are going to have to confine her to an area where it is ok if she poops. And start over on being really consistent with praise when she poops where you want her to.

    I would do that for quite a long time (months) before tentatively experimenting with giving her more free run of the basement, at first when you are home, then when you are going out briefly on a non-work day.

    Best,
    Rosana

  18. I have a 5 year old daschund/schnauzer mix. I work 10 hours per day four days a week and while I am gone she has full run of the house, including a doggie door to a fenced yard. I even had a contractor dry deck our deck, so that when it rains she can go out the doggie door with no concerns about getting wet, since she is SOOO afraid she will melt! ha ha

    While I am at work she either holds her pee all day, or goes out into the fenced yard and does it. But what she doesn’t hold is her poop. She does it at least once a week if not more, and usually in the same spot in the basement. The basement is where her doggie door is! I have tried puppy pads. I have tried praising her a lot when she does potty outside. But I guess I wasn’t consistent with the praising method so it didn’t stick. Do you have any suggestions?

  19. Hi Cassie — looks like you have a pretty good understanding of some of the dynamics between Rebel and Asa. And now the poodle is adding complications!

    I think your assesment that the boy are marking territory is probably correct, at least for Asa. No wonder taking them outside doesn’t work, as the peeing isn’t about needing to go potty. I wonder if there are issues between the two boys. I would get them neutered.

    This situation does need some new input, certainly, and if money is tight or you don’t know a good dog behaviorist or trainer, then you could do some reading here:

    http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/behavior-problems

    which covers quite a variety of behavior problems. It’s a site run by Kelly Dunbar, Ian Dunbar’s wife, and uses a lot of his material.

    Here’s a good general housetraining page on that site:
    http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/errorless-housetraining

    I’d be glad to answer further questions in this post, but I do think you may need to work with someone good locally, as you’ve got several things going. It all seems like regular dog stuff, though, and fixable over time. You mention costing you only a little time and effort. It may be more than a little, but then you are already putting in a good bit of time cleaning!

    So hang in there, think it through yourself, and see what you can do. Best wishes and come back if you want to!

    Rosana

  20. Hi, my name is Cassie and my boyfriends and I own two male miniature dachshunds. We have always had a problem potty training them, as they seem to like to “mark their territory” all over the house. The older dog, Asa is completely potty trained, he wont pee puddles, but he’ll lift his leg on corners of the house, furniture, ect, anywhere that the younger dog, Rebel, has been. In turn, rebel “marks his territiory in the same spot Asa does, as you can see this is a vicious circle. We have always told them “NO” and then immediately taken them outside, but nothing seems to work. Rebel has never quite understood to go outside, and will relieve himself anywhere, any time in the house. I’m going to try keeping him on a leash in the house, as you explained in a previous answer, I think that will work. Crating is not an option, as both dogs bark loudly and continuously to where my neighbors are upset.

    I’m wondering if the boys are peeing simply to mark their territory where the other dog has been, or if this can be stopped. I dont have carpet throughout my home, it is all hardwood, so cleaning hasnt been a problem, just A LOT of work, and I’m beginning to get frustrated.

    Recently my boyfriend’s sister had some issues and needed a place for her dog to stay for a few months, so we took her in a couple of weeks ago. She is some sort of poodle, and about 6 or 7 months old. She is not potty trained AT ALL, so anywhere she pees, the boys pee. I’m working with her, and seeing some results. Neither of the boys are neutered, so I’m thinking maybe that has something to do with them being competitive over the only female? I may be way off here. Anyway, any tips would help. We are to the point where we think maybe some professional dog training is in order, but we’d rather not spend the money if this is something that can be fixed here at home, costing us only a little time and effort. Please let me know what you think. Thanks.

  21. Hi Suzanne — having more context is interesting. Life doesn’t always allow for optimal dog training processes, and then we just go on from there. You’ve got a full house!

    Zoe has a lot going for her in the potty training arena, since you say she often does just fine for even long stretches. It’s not surprising that she backslid with the stress of being away from you AND the mat where she was kept.

    I once had to potty train our very independent Basenji puppy in Olympia, WA, when we got her during the long rainy season. She’d go to the dog door into the fenced back yard, maybe even step outside, but if it was a downpour, she’d just go pee on her favorite spot on the living room rug. You could practically see the wheels turning… “Get WET? I don’t THINK so!”

    How did we deal with that? With a lot of enzyme cleaners and the start of the drier season. Plus a few #@!! words.

    So back to your forty below weather. I think some sort of indoor solution is very appropriate and much easier with a dog of Zoe’s size than with, say, a Great Dane. I wonder about a cat littler box, only available in season, or as you mention, those pads.

    Do come back and keep me and other readers posted!

    Rosana

  22. Hi there! Thank you for your feedback and support – much appreciated!!! Zoe is our dog’s name and I am very aware of what created the habit. We got her as a puppy, when I was pregnant with baby #2. We got her in the dead of winter (February) and she crate trained very fast (she never, ever messes in her crate). She hated going outside, but we were diligent with her. There was an old, gross door mat on our back porch when she was a puppy – we live in a VERY northern climate and her little paws froze quickly and the mat gave her a quick easy spot to go on. Two months after we got her, she was doing really well and then suddenly, I was nursing a newborn, potty training a 2 and half year old and training a puppy. You can tell who fell low on the priority list. Anyhow, at times she has gone long stretches without messing in the house, but this summer, she spent a week at someone’s house while we were on vacation…she was kept primarily in the laundy room, where there was a small mat. The caregivers said she was like clock work…she’d be outside, excercised lots with the other dogs, she’d pee outside no problem, but always poop in that same spot. Most of the messes she makes indoors are poop, but at times, she’ll pee inappropriately as well.

    I am keeping a much closer eye on her, we have doggie treats by the back door and with us on walks, so she ALWAYS gets a treat now for going potty outside. We have gone back to potty training basics where if we are too busy to have an eye on her, she is in the crate. We got through yesterday with no messes, so small victories!! She has been checked by the vet and is healthy…I know this is a behvioural issues that I am largely responsible for…I’m hoping now I have the appropriate amount of energy to re-train her. I’m also considering buying some of those little pads for dogs to see if she’d go on those, especially in the winter when we often have -40 weather.

    Thanks again, I will keep you posted on our progress.

  23. Hi Suzanne — I was just thinking yesterday that I should consider writing a short ebook on housetraining adult dogs who have a history of going potty in the wrong places. NOT that I have *all* the solutions but as a former reference librarian I certainly know how to research anything! And this topic seems to be one that comes up a lot on my website.

    So let’s see what we can do with your little girl… what’s her name? And does she poop in the crate? Is poop the only problem, or does she pee inappropriately too?

    Do feel free to use this comment area as a discussion spot, and I’ll be glad to help. Each situation is unique, so things I’ve said in my post and in comments above may be things you’ve already done or they may not apply for some reason — but still, I suggest that you re-read all my answers above and consider whether you have tried them fully yet.

    What you are dealing with is a training situation where she needs to UN-learn what she has already learned, which is that mats are potty spots. If you have had her since she was young, do you remember how this learning got started? But whether or not you know is less impt than what to do next.

    Maybe that rope of yours will fray a bit less if you take the perspective that this IS a different learning situation than a young puppy. This is a more difficult one, but the rewards are great too. And learning how to unlearn a habit is something that we all can use in other parts of our lives.

    Enough of my philosophizing for now. Ideas:

    * Keeping a log for a week or so of exactly where she poops and the time of day.
    * Keeping her literally tied to someone whenever she is loose in the house
    *Having a vet check, even though this does sound like a behavioral issue
    *Any time she does go potty where you want her to, give her a fabulous treat and praise her to the skies

    Well, that’s enough for a start. Do come back. Bookmark this url:

    http://www.rosanahart.com/dogs/housetraining-adult-dogs-who-have-bad-habits.html

    Best,
    Rosana

  24. Hi there! I appreciate your advice and will continue to work with our dog, but we are so incredibly frustrated. She is a 2 and half year old Shih-Tzu and despite regular feed times, being outdoors lots, being walked and crate trained, she continues to make messes in the house, especially on door/bath mats. We love her dearly, she is part of our family, but I feel like I am getting close to the end of my rapidly fraying rope!!!

  25. Sara, that event with the other dog could certainly have triggered Tank’s behavior change, or contributed to it. Dogs are such social beings… the other dog showed signs of illness and then disappeared for surgery and then smelled weird (like the vet clinic) when it got back. Very upsetting. What do we humans say in circumstances like that? “Oh, sh*t!”

    Seems Tank has been saying the same thing.

    Now, getting back to normal is the challenge. Do come back and report on how it goes!

  26. Rosana,
    Thank you so much for the help… We’re still clueless as to what happened to trigger the change, except that our other dog got sick and had to have surgery, but Tank did not APPEAR affected by that….

    We’ll keep working on it and check with our vet. Thanks so much for your help!

  27. Hi Sara — Hmmm… might be time for a vet check, to see if anything physical is going on.

    What happened about two weeks ago? Something clearly did, though it may be insignificant to you, or something you wouldn’t think would affect him, like a loud argument between family members. He HAS a reason for his behavior, even if I don’t have a clue what it is. You may have an idea, or try sitting quietly sometime with him and just asking him mentally what is going on. Don’t laugh at whatever pops into your head.

    Depending on the size of the crate, and him being a small dog, you could try making two parts in the crate, a “potty” part — perhaps cat litter in a plastic bin — and a ‘homey” part with washable rags for a bed. See if he will use the potty part, and you’d have a small step towards the distinction you want.

    You might find a pug forum online and see what other pug owners say. And come back here if you wish!

    Best,
    Rosana

  28. Hi,

    We have a one year old Puggle, Tank. He’s such a sweet dog but we’ve recently had some problems with housetraining. He was doing very well with potty training, but for some reason, in the last couple weeks, he will not defecate outside, only when he comes back inside. And frequently, that is in his cage. For example, today, I took him out as soon as he woke up, he pees outside fine, but will not defecate. Finally, after about 20 minutes outside, I brought him in and fed him. About 10 minutes after he ate, I took him back out for another 20-25 minutes. He still wouldn’t go. I watched him continuously in the house, for about another hour, but had to leave for an appointment. I let him out once more before I left for about 15 minutes, then put him in his crate to leave. When I returned, he had gone in his cage. This is getting to be regular behavior. We are stuck, because we know that most dogs think of the crate as their “home” and usually want to keep it clean, however that seems to be the place he feels comfortable going. Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you!

  29. Rosana, thank you for your speedy response! I’ve already moved forward on your advice and e-mailed a DVM behaviorist in my area that I found through your APDT website. I will do some more of the hunting that you suggest as well, and will let you know how it all turns out! My little Caleb is a cutie and I’m anxious to get him to where we can trust him to have freedom in the house that our other Maltese had. Thank you again so much!

    Dona

  30. Dona, good for you for being determined to work on it as quickly as possible. I think that’s wise.

    I do think it’s possible that your current pup is marking his territory in response to remaining smells from your old one.

    If I were in your shoes, I would talk this over with my veterinarian, just to rule things out, even though it doesn’t sound like a medical problem. I might find Maltese forums online (search any search engine for Maltese dog forum) and discuss it there, too — keeping in mind that not everything said in a forum is to be believed, of course. I might clean the carpets or floors, specially in the area your pup is marking, with one of the enzyme cleaners used after dogs have accidents. I might go to http://www,animaltalk.net, a site run by our old friend Penelope Smith, and go to the directory of people who do psychic communication with animals, typically with a phone call between you and them (the people). I’ve solved several dog problems myself with that kind of help.

    Ulitmately I would find a REALLY GOOD trainer/dog behavioral consultation in my geographical area. Preferably someone who could come to your house but if you live as remotely as I often have, you might have to settle for telephone help. Of course, if you are doing a telephone consultation, you can consider a wider geographic area.

    How do you find a REALLY GOOD person to work with? That could be more work than ultimately solving the marking problem. Go to http://www.apdt.com — the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, founded by Ian Dunbar and others, for a good start. But we (I am a member of this, see the logo atop my page) do not have to be certified in any way to join, so talk to people enough and get references. Ask your veterinarian, your friends, the breeder the pup came from, anyone!

    What you want to avoid is a trainer who is going to tell you that you have to be alpha over your dog… that is outmoded thinking and doesn’t work. And a word of warning — there ARE trainers out there who think physical cruelty is a reasonable training method. They won’t say that usually right off the bat, so have your antenna out.

    So with all these warnings, and even if your budget screams somewhat, I do think this would be a better situation for real live in-person help, or psychic connection if you are inclined to try it, than for friendly and maybe helpful comments via the internet.

    And do please come back and tell us what worked, when you get it solved!

    Best,
    Rosana

  31. We have a maltese that is now five months old. He has good bladder capacity as evidenced by the fact that he can be in his crate while my husband and I are at work and not soil or wet in it. However, oftentimes we take him out, he goes potty just fine, but then he “marks” territory inside within minutes! We tried the puppy diaper and by that found out that he was marking more than we’d realized; he will do just a tiny spot in the diaper, so we know it is not that he cannot hold it..

    We are at a loss as to what to do to stop this behavior. He was neutered several weeks ago, and I was hopeful that this would help. It has made no difference whatsoever.

    Our previous dog, also a male maltese, lived in this present house for 15 years. He was extremely easy to potty train, catching on in a couple of weeks and seldom having an accident. Is it possible our current puppy is smelling our other maltese who just died 7 months ago?

    HELP! I feel like the longer this goes on, the more this behavior will become ingrained and I want to stop it right away!

  32. That’s a good routine.

    Some human food– such as onions, chocolate, grapes and raisins, and some other things — is bad for dogs. But sounds like she might really benefit from what I do, which is make food for my dogs based on recipes from a veterinarian I trust. See my video about this

    http://www.rosanahart.com/dogs/making-dr-pitcairns-fresh-meat-supplement-for-dog-kibble.html

    and here is my review of the book I use:
    http://www.rosanahart.com/dogs/dr-pitcairns-complete-guide-to-natural-health-for-dogs-and-cats-my-review.html

    Best,
    Rosana

  33. Thank you for your advice. Again. I had another question about walks though. I currently take my dog out at least once a day, and me and my family are always outside, so we have her with us. She uses the bathroom while we are outside. Is this a good routine, or should I keep her inside and walk her more instead?
    I also have a question about food. Before we adopted Cocoa, we were told her old owner fed her human food, without realizing that it was bad for her. After we adopted her we gave her canned dog food, because it was somewhat similar to human food. After a couple months of feeding her the canned food, we started giving her dry dog food, but she doesn’t have much interest in it unless we hand feed her the food, but even then she doesn’t always take the food. I’m concerned about her health. Is there another way I can make her take an interest in her food? (I forgot to mention she doesn’t take an interest in the canned food either)
    -Elena

  34. Elena, if you are at home she should ideally be with you, attached to you by a leash that you attach to your belt or clothing… except when you are taking a shower!

    The crate is best used when you are gone but since she hates it now, you will need to do some things to make it a fun place. For example, get a Kong or something like it — a dog toy that allows you to put food into it. Peanut butter (the unsweetened kind) is the main thing I put in it. You can also just put water in it and then freeze it. Give the kong to the dog in the crate, and close her in. At first do this while you are home and can let her out after she gets tired of playing with the kong.

    Hoepfully she will get more accepting of the crate this way, but some adopted dogs may have spent far too much time in crates already, and may never accept a crate willingly. My LarryDog, whom we got at age two, has never wanted to go in a crate. But we’ve tried our Rottweiler Lola a lot, and even feed her in the crate with the door open, and she accepts being crated.

    As for the doggie diaper, try it for the first time when you will be home a while, so you can see if Cocoa accepts it or tries to remove it. If she dislikes it, take it off and then when you are about to feed her a meal, put it on and then put her food down, in hopes that she will be interested enough in food to forget about the diaper.

    Diapers can be a good temporary solution, for example if you want the dog to be loose in your house when you are all gone. And it’s certainly better than euthanizing the dog, which is what ends up happening to a lot of adult dogs who aren’t completely potty trained. They get taken to shelters and not adopted. Very sad.

    So keep on working with her in whatever ways you can, and come back here now and then to report your progress or problems! That way, what you learn can help other dogs and people.

  35. Thank You for the advice Rosana, and I’m sure it will work, but the only problem I have with keeping her in her cage (at all) is when she is in her cage she whines, and cries, and create’s so much noise it’s imposible to hear youself think!
    And there isn’t necessarily an “okay” place for her to use the bathroom.
    Our laundry room is far too small to keep her there, and (as mentioned before) she creates extreamly loud noise when put inside her cage.
    My mom has recently bought a potty training pad from our local pet store, but Cocoa seems to have no interest in it. Is there anything I might be able to do to influence her to use the training pad?

    Most of my friends have dogs too, and one of them has a little Yorkshire Terrier, and she has a bad habbit of useing the bathroom in the house as well. They resolved this problem by placing a “doggy diaper” onto her so she doesn’t “relieve” herself in the home. Do you think this may be a good solution to my problem?

    -Elena

  36. Elena, the fact that you found this page shows how dedicated you are. Now, if you can follow at least some of the tips, that could buy you some time while you work with Cocoa. I think crate training her would be really valuable, but at least be sure she has a place she can be when you are at school, a place where it is okay if she goes potty. This could be a fenced yard, a laundry room with newspapers down for her to use, or a crate.

    Then when you are home, keep her with you all the time… even when you go to the bathroom yourself! Attach her to you as I mention, and pay attention to her while you do other things. This can help.

    It may take a while but it is certainly possible.

    Best wishes to you all!

    Rosana

  37. Hi. My name’s Elena, and me and my family had recently adopted a Bishon Frize who is about 3.(If that’s how it’s spelled) I am 11 years old, and the main “owner” of our dog Cocoa. I am the one who walks her and trains her, but my only problem is training her to use the bathroom outside. I realized that I need to and will take her out mroe to see if it helps, but I was wondering if there was anything else I could possibly do to break her bad habbit. I love her terribly but my mom has threatened to give her away. Please reply to this comment. I am in desperate need of advice. (I will check back soon)

  38. Glad it helped, Michael! Best wishes with Missy and if you learn anything specific from your experiences, please come back and post again!

  39. We inherited a 4 year-old Maltese from my mother who has since passed away. While still living with my mother, Missy was allowed to potty in front of the door on the carpet. Now that she resides with us, Missy has found a new place in our home and hopefully this article (and some other pointers picked up while searching the web) will assist us in breaking Missy of her bad habit. Thank you for the insight.

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