Monday, April 5, 2010

8. Paper-train an outdoor adopted 4-year-old Schnauzer in an apartment

Hi Dr Sing,

I would like to seek your advice on how I can paper-train my 4 yr old male miniature schnauzer whom I just adopted last Friday. He used to stay in landed property and was trained to pee and poo in grass only. Now at my HDB flat, he'll hold his pee and poo and only eliminate when we bring him down to the park.

Though we don't mind bringing him down to the park before we go to work in the morning and when we are back in the evening, we still hope to paper train him as we do not want him to hold his bladder in case we are home late from any functions.

We have tried a few methods :

(a) Confined him to the kitchen balcony with clean pee pads. He refused to pee or poo there. Whined and became very depressed. Only pee and poo when we brought him to the park.

(b) Since he hates to be confined, we let him sleep in the living room with pee pads laid out. This time, we placed a few pieces of tissue soiled with his pee on the pee pads, hoping that he will associate the place for peeing and pooing. He again held his pee and poo till we bring him down to the park.

(c) Once he peed in the living room as he can no longer hold it. We brought him to puddle of pee, made him look at it and sternly told him 'No'. We then brought him to the pee pad and told him pee there. I'm not sure if he registered cos he did looked very guilty when we brought him to the puddle of pee but he may think his fault lies in not holding it long enough to go down to the park instead of not using the pee pad.

Would appreciate your advice on how I can teach my mini schnauzer that it is ok to pee on the pee pads. Thanks!

Name of Owner


Thank you for your e-mail. Your problem is common amongst apartment owners who want their dogs to eliminate outdoors, only that your situation is the reverse. The following guidelines may or may not work for you as each dog has a different personality:

1. Continue to bring him to the grass at around the same time to eliminate. Use the same the grassy patch spot for his elimination area for the next 14 days while you execute the following suggestions:

2. Bring your big pee pad with his urine smell and grass soil mixture outdoors to his elimination area . Place it on the grassy patch where he eliminates. He will avoid it initially. Persevere the next time. Don't scold him or beat him. He needs your patient training rather than loud scoldings or spanking as he does not know what you want.

3. Put him on the pee pad patiently and say "Pee here" firmly just before he pees. You will need to monitor his signs of starting to pee. Reward him with food treats and praises when he finally does it. This will work if the male dog do not lift his legs to pee. If not, you may need to improvise when you are outdoors. How? I don't know your dog's habit or situation and am unable to advise on this situation outdoors. Does he use the bushes as a vertical surface? However, inside the apartment, many apartment owners do what is described for male dog urination, in paragraph 4.

4. Vertical surfaces for peeing in male dogs. This may cause you problems as you assume that the male dog pees like a female dog. The average male dogs don't pee on top of the pee pad. In this case, you may need to structure a L-shaped pee pad (one placed vertically against the wall (backed by a pee pan, for example) in the bathroom in your apartment and one on the floor).

In conclusion, replicate his outdoor situation by using pee pad with his urine smell and grass and soil smeared onto his pee pad. If he pees vertically onto a bush, the big pee pad should be part of the elimination area. Use the same application onto the pee pad when you confine him in the bathroom to pee pad train him when you go to work. Monitor closely and use the pads just when he wants to pee. Food treat and plenty of praises. You will take 2-8 weeks. You will not succeed immediately. But you will, given time and positive reinforcement training.

Le me know if you have more questions and let me know your success.

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