Dr Chris Brown answers pet questions, today: How to house train your puppy.
"Help! I have tried everything to toilet train my eight-month-old Maltese-Shih Tzu cross from taking her outside, to rewards for doing the right thing but she still hasn't got it. The most frustrating part is that she always goes just as I'm getting ready for work when I don't have time to clean it up."
At first glance, this sounds like your puppy is a slow learner. But I think she's got us all fooled. I strongly believe she's learned that going to the toilet in the wrong place actually gets the right result at just the right time. For a young puppy struggling to deal with her much-loved mum heading off to work for the day, the crucial few minutes you stay and fuss over her and what she's done is something money can't
, but mayhem can
Essentially this is all a symptom of her anxiety over you leaving the home for the day. So here's how to stop her stalling tactics. First step is to move her to a tiled area like a bathroom you'll see why in a moment. Then, while you're getting ready, give her a task she loves; whether it's eating breakfast or playing with a treat-ball, getting her to use her mind will mean she doesn't use her bladder. Then, without so much as a goodbye, leave the house as quietly as you can.
With no opportunity for her to see you and then stall you, her weeing essentially serves no purpose and over time she'll realise there's no point. Until that time, the tiled floor means there's no rush for you to stay. Puzzle and puddles solved!