Toilet Training your Rescue Dog – Keys to Successfully 'house train' your Maltese

Is it possible to house train your dog effectively in 3 days? Yes, depending on various factors, but most of all on you, so see if you can get it right. Don’t give up! Give yourself at least one week to see a marked improvement and about two weeks to be sure that the toilet training habit is well entrenched. If you are conscientious and motivated and apply these practical 'housebreaking' techniques, your training will be effective.

Your body language will communicate that you are happy with the action the little one has just taken. Be consistent! Always be quick to praise a dog for doing something right rather than quick to chastise him! This is important in order to give him confidence, he knows that there is a behaviour that pleases you and he will try to understand what it is. This is referred to as positive reinforcement and a dog learns quickest this way.

“No!” For your dog to be able to read your instructions well, it is important to make quick sharp sounds, not shouting, but it can be loud if needed in the beginning to get his attention. If this is not working, clap your hands simultaneously or make a noise with a rolled-up newspaper. Include a gesture, for example; a pointing finger with an outstretched arm, and a stern facial expression. This marks bad behaviour and timing is crucial, it does no good unless it is delivered while he is still in the process of doing the wrong.

Your goal is not to make your dog a nervous wreck, but rather to get his attention when he has started doing something undesired. He will quickly learn that this command for him means to stop what he is doing and to give you his attention. Your goal is to teach him to understand a single command, quickly, without having to reinforce it, this requires consistent reinforcing in the beginning, making sure he always responds to you when you say it.

Read your dog's body language as he reads yours.

This can shorten the process of house training your dog greatly. A dog's usual body language before going to the toilet is walking around and sniffing different spots until he finds someplace that he feels is suitable for relieving himself, he may then lift his leg, or she may squat, or circle a couple of times before passing a stool. The more time you spend observing your dog the more you will understand his language correctly.

Remember too that your dog constantly observes your mannerisms and notices when your mood changes, so it’s only fair that you do the same for him. Instinct: There are three toilet-related mannerisms we will mention driven by canine instinct.

  • a) He does not want to go to the toilet where he sleeps. Here is another key aspect you can effectively use in house training your dog. The main way we use this inborn intelligence of the dog, this instinct to keep himself clean, is by confining him to the area where he sleeps while you are unable to closely observe him.

  • b) On the other hand instinct can result in his marking his territory, this is most commonly noticed with male dogs, but female dogs also practice this same territorial behavior especially when they want to assert their dominance.

When confined to their sleeping quarters and in need to relieve themself they will either whimper or scratch, becoming restless. You need to be alert to this. It is cruel to confine a dog to their sleeping area if they are unable to react when “nature calls”.

If they sleep in your bed with you, you will need to be alert to notice when they get up for the loo. If you become alerted to their need you will need to get up and take them outside. Be patient, wait at least 5 minutes while they find a place and are relaxed enough to be able to go. If they relieve themself outside be sure to praise them for it.

It is important to remove the smell of his stool or urine immediately after if you were unable to prevent it. The problem could also be caused by other odours from animals or humans that they may feel competitive with or want to dominate.

Use washing powder or bleach to remove the odour.

Once you have curbed him from urinating or defecating where it is undesired, immediately take him to where he should go so that he can relieve himself there. Act quickly, but remain calm or he will be too scared to go when you watch.

  • c) A male dog will mark his territory profusely when a female in the house is on heat and a female dog will 'flag' (urinate to leave her scent) wherever she can when on heat. This behaviour can obviously be treated by spaying or neutering, but even after you have neutered your male dog you must still train him out of his old habits. Flagging, however, will stop.

You must get to know your dog’s routine and that requires that you too must stick to a routine.

Once you have established a fixed routine it is easier to understand your dogs timing for going to the toilet. The most crucial times to observe whether your dog needs to go and when you should take him out are:

  • When he wakes up

  • When he has finished eating his main meal

  • After exercise

  • After being confined for even a short period time where he was not meant to relieve himself

Take them out religiously at these times in the beginning!

What you can do when its time to go to the toilet is you can say the same word each time (“piddle time, piddle time...”) in an excited tone, people may look at you strangely if there is anyone around, but many dogs learn to go on command, even if they can only squeeze out a few drops just to please you. The main reason for doing this is to help prepare them mentally for what they must do, and to shorten your waiting time.

I think we all struggle a little under pressure :)

  • a) Always feed him his main meals at the same time.

  • b) Try to put him to bed at the same time, especially if you are confining him to his sleeping area.

  • c) Try to take him out at the same regular intervals to relieve himself.

Get to know your doggy's routine byt the clock