Ask the Expert: House Training Mat Mystery
Your Pet Question:
How do I get my 13-year-old MaltiPoo to use the new grass mat method to do her business on instead of on the doggie pads that absorb the mess but still smell when I get home? Also, she insists on doing her business in the same spot whether there is a pad down or not, which is totally frustrating! Is this a behaviour matter? Should I scold her?
June Mallam, Ontario
The Expert Says:
When it comes to potty-training, dogs need to learn where to go (outside is best) and what to go on (ideally grass or dirt). Training them to go on a pad indoors means that the "where" is in the house, and the "what" can become the floor instead of the pad (especially if there is residual odour of urine or feces present). Ideally, dogs should “go” outside, but if that’s not possible, ALWAYS have a mat or pad handy and if accidents do occur, clean the spot thoroughly to eliminate residual odours. Scolding doesn't help much, it’s preferable to reward good behaviour (when she goes where you want,) and ignore accidents. Here’s how to have her switch from a pad to a grass mat. Completely cover the grass mat with the pad she is used to using. Then each time you replace the pad, cut a little off of it so that gradually it exposes the mat underneath. Soon she'll be going on the mat instead of the pad without even noticing it.
Jay Thrush, DVM, is the owner of Brandon Hills Veterinary Clinic in Brandon, Manitoba.