Wednesday, September 22, 2010

198. Toilet training an adult male dog


Hi Dr Sing,

I’ve been reading up your toilet training blog and find it very useful when toilet training my puppy. However, I still have a few queries. I’m a first timer raising up a puppy and hence has been quite stress up. I’ve accompanied my puppy for the first 3 days (almost keeping him within my sight) and observed the following:

My puppy is a mix breed of Chihuahua and Pomeranian, 3 months named Cookie. He was with us since 24 Apr 10.

The pet shop owner came with a crate with wire flooring and a pee pan below. Initially I try to carry Cookie to the bathroom after nap/food with newspapers laid on the floor but was unsuccessful. Cookie usually poos twice a day, 1 in the early morning and another one in weird timing. I realized that he only pees in the middle of the crate; I supposed it’s due to the urine smell. He pooed everywhere though.

Qn 1: Do you think Cookie will poo in the middle like where he used to pee if I spray those anti-pee/anti-poo spray (given by my friend) on those area that I don’t want him to do pee/poo? The spray has a strong smell and I'm contemplating to use it.

Qn 2: It seems like he’s trained to pee/poo in the crate. Is that a good idea? It’s ideal for us since we are working. However, if we bring Cookie out eg. to a friend’s place, will he pee/poo everywhere since there’s no crate?

Qn3: Cookie seems to be stepping hard on his own poo when all of us are asleep. He’s also seems to be shifting them around. I can see portions of it at different areas of the crate. We also caught him eating his own poo once. How do we prevent such action from happening especially when we are all asleep?

Qn4: When I let him out to play in the living room, will it be better to leave the crate door open and let him run to the crate to pee/poo? Or will it be better to lay newspapers on a pee pan (given by my friend) with Cookie’s urine smell at a corner so he can pee/poo when he’s out playing and need not rush back to the crate? I've let him out of the crate twice on 26 Apr and surprisingly, he climbs back to his crate when he's thirsty after running a few rounds. I see that as a good sign of recognising his own den?

Sorry for the long post and thank you for the time to read my email, I would be very much delighted to receive your reply J


Hi Dr Sing,
It's me again. I'm having some difficulties with Cookie's potty problem. He used to pee & poo in at the left side of his crate but recently, he totally stop this habit. Instead, he'll bear with it and wait till we let him out of the crate.

No choice, we had to place a pee pan at a designated area in the living room. Cookie will sometimes pee & poo on the pee pan but he still has accidents and forgot where he should do his business. We've been guiding him and telling him but it doesn't seems to work.

We also try to confine the area and let him out once a while and when we let him out, he'll eliminate elsewhere. Any suggestion what else we can do about it? Btw, he's coming to 8 mths, is he considered adult yet? Is it time to neuter him already?

Thanks for your time reading and replying to my email :)

Thanks & Cherers,


From your email, I have the following observations:

1. Cookie is an adult dog now. He can be neutered anytime.
2. As an adult male dog, he wants to keep his den (crate) clean and so he waits till you let him out to eliminate.
3. As a male dog, he wants to urine-mark his territory (natural instinct). So he pees everywhere. It is not that he "forgets" but that when you are around, he has to behave himself otherwise he may get punishment.
4. As a male dog, he may want to mark his territory with poop although most male dogs mark with urine.

5. Solutions:
5.1. Neutering as early as 6 months may reduce his urine-poop marking but you have delayed this. Still it is not too late although it may not be as effective.
5.2 Neutralise your flooring with white vinegar: water in 3 parts to 1 part respectively.
5.3 Confine the dog to his crate or to a small toilet area for the next 264 weeks after neutering.
5.4 Every day, twice a day, after meals, bring him outdoors to eliminate. Praise and reward with dog treat when he eliminates outdoors in an area not used by members of the public.
5.4.1 Pick up the poop with papers and dispose properly. Going outdoors is a positive "reward" and he will learn not to dirty the whole apartment which is his "den". This takes patience and time. Many owners find the above-mentioned tips to be useful.
6. Adult dogs are harder to toilet-train but you need to have a routine for him now. He must have realised that you are his "subordinate" and this is natural for dogs. Dogs need a firm leader and I believe you are gentle towards him when he is growing up. Now, he thinks you are his follower. Therefore, you need to be a leader and start with him going outdoors at least once a day (morning and/or evening).

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