The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

House training a puppy easily

Dr Quito and The Contesa groomingWe share our house with three Min Pin dogs. Intelligent, stubborn and a nightmare to house train.

These are dogs that know where they are going. Luckily they sleep a lot. Otherwise they would be firing up the laptops when we are out and becoming Captains of Industry and ordering ground steak from Tesco online.

I wouldn’t welcome another breed into the cottage. As with any brainy beast there are problems. Min Pins can be difficult to house train. When I disappear into the loo with a good book I can almost feel the glare of the laser beam gimlet eyes on the door.
“How come she can sit inside on her throne like a queen when we are pushed outside?”
I sense a sharp short collusive nod through the door.
“If I hadn’t been out already, I’d pee now.”
In the past they did.

The thought of house training another Min Pin nearly put us off getting our last pup, Inca. The Contessa had been marking on the carpets when her nose was out of joint, for six years. By contrast, Dr Quito was a pushover to train at just seven months. How were we going to train the new egotistical addition to the Cottage Smallholder menagerie? By chance, I spotted some Simple Solution training pads (for puppies and adult dogs) in the local nursery garden pet section. I was on an indulgent puppy equipment buying trip prior to collecting our new Min Pin. The pads were pricey, but I thought I’d give them a go. So I put back the chewable rug and invested in these instead. In the UK they are around £20 for 56 pads. In the US (where they are manufactured) they are half the price and available on Amazon.

House training The Contessa seemed impossible. We were eventually referred to a Dog Shrink, who sold us his book and suggested that we kept her in a small cage attached to the cat flap when we were out at work. In this way she would have the option of soiling her bedding or peeing outside. Needless to say, we felt that this route was too hard for her, would block access for Quito and was not an option.

These Simple Solution pads worked for us and the pup. They contain an attractant (all I can imagine is small men in white coats collecting large pees from giant dogs.) We put one in the pup’s cage and covered the carpets with a hefty paper chase of Simple Solution pads. Inca used them immediately. Contessa stopped her protest pees overnight, possibly a reaction to the presence of the interloper.

All was well until Danny worked out how much we were spending on these deluxe items. I got home from work and we were down from ten pads spread about the house to just three. The pup happily peed on the spots where the pads had been. We finally worked out that these pads have to be withdrawn gradually. In the end it took about six weeks to downsize from a carpet of ten to three. The pup was house trained within months. No pees on the treasured carpet. No boundless rage at the end of a testing day. We returned from work, replaced the soiled mats and played with the dogs. Definitely worth the outlay (Danny is nodding as I type).

Inca is a year old now. We keep one in the bathroom as that was her favourite spot and she still occasionally sneaks in there to prove her status. Access to the bathroom is normally barred and soon we will remove the final pad.

Tips and tricks:

  • If your dog does make a mistake and fouls the carpet there is a really good spray made by the same company. It claims to remove the smell and stain. You do need to mop up the mistake and also the solution (after a few minutes). It seems to work and cracks the problem of a dog consistently marking the same spot.

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  1. LuLu and LoLLy

    We are 2 Maltese dogs and we would like to say, on behalf of dogs everywhere, that we appreciate your patience, and also that you have chosen excellent names for your pack, although we do have some concern that Inca might be sometimes confused as to his real identify. Two Paws Up for what sounds like a very loving pack. Love, Your PaLs, LuLu and LoLLy.

  2. 1.I do have a maltese which I have alot of problem in housing breaking initially.But later, I have sent him for 3 months training.Now, he is 2 years old.I believe dog training is essential for all dogs no matter big or small.They are a sense of descipline as they are growing up.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Robert,

    Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving the link to your mother’s site.

    The training pads were wonderful. Inca was house trained within weeks.

    When we need new igloos I know where to come!

    Hi Mildred,

    Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. I buy our Guinea pig feed & hay from SPH Supplies, they offer a good range of products and offer an excellent service. A great company!!

  5. Hi Fiona, long out of date, I know, but for the next pup, my mother supplies the products of which you write – – along with various other animal related products (including doggy igloos!)

    Hope this may be of some help in future!


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