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Disclaimer: The material provided by Bailey on this web site is designed for educational and entertainment purposes only. The information presented is provided with the understanding that Bailey is not engaged in rendering medical or professional behavioral services. Such information should not be used as a substitute for behavioral advice provided by a qualified canine behavior therapist.

Please remember that Bailey's advice, comments, or opinions are solely Bailey's, and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff here at Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs.

Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs is not responsible for actions taken based on the advice provided herein.

Maltese Mayhem

Dear Bailey,

We just got a male 5 month old Maltese puppy about a week ago. He won't eat on a schedule. We have tried all week but he only eats once or twice a day. I have to stand right next to him when he eats and then he only eats for a couple of minutes. Advice?

Also, he's having a humping problem. He and I have really bonded the most out of the whole family. He follows me every where but he also tries to hump my leg and arm and he doesn't do it to anyone else. What can I do? I've heard of staring into his eyes like in a wolf pack but that seems too weird.

Also he hasn't done a bad job at house training. He can usually hold his urine through the night. I let him sleep in my bed or else he'll bark and keep everyone up in my family. Is this a bad idea?

Please try to answer all the questions, because as you can see, we need some help!

Thanks,

Erika D.


Bailey's Reply:

Dear Erika,

Wow, my sheltie head is spinning from all these questions! Okay, first things first. Relax. Have a seat. Take a deep breath. Things aren't as bad as you think they are.

First of all, your puppy is training YOU to stand by while he eats. Smart puppy! I like his moxie! But it's annoying for you, I understand. What to do? If you're certain that he doesn't have anything wrong with him physically (check with your vet), then you can't allow those cute puppy eyes to manipulate you. If he is supposed to eat 3 times a day, then follow the following schedule:

  1. Put his morning ration of kibble in his bowl. Let him see you do it.
  2. Put his bowl down in his appropriate feeding area.
  3. Leave it for 20 minutes while you go about your business (do not stand and wait for him to eat!).
  4. Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the bowl- no matter how much or how little kibble is left in the bowl!
  5. Repeat this schedule for his lunch and dinner feedings.

The thing to remember is this: no healthy dog will starve himself! Your pup will figure out that he only has a short opportunity to eat when the bowl goes down. Your pup will adapt to this feeding schedule before you know it.

Second issue: your dog mounts you and you alone. Staring into his eyes will do nothing but give you dry eyes. Solution? Get enrolled in a basic obedience class! This will help your pup learn appropriate behavior, and assert your position in your home "pack".

Third issue: you want to know if it's okay if you let your dog sleep in your bed. I have no problem sleeping in my human's bed! It's quite comfortable, actually. There's nothing wrong with it- unless your significant other has a problem with it!

If you are worried about the barking, I have some bad news: it'll get worse before it gets better. If you want the barking to stop, you must stop rewarding it by picking him up and letting him on the bed. Once you begin ignoring his barking (don't talk to him, don't look at him during the barking), your dog will bark more and more to get your attention (since it worked in the past). Get yourself some earplugs if you think that will help! Eventually, he'll figure out that barking doesn't work anymore, and he'll settle down on his own. You may also want to provide him with his own cozy spot to sleep in, like a crate or dog bed. Give him a stuffed Kong to work on to keep him busy as you go to sleep!

Speaking of Kongs, I'm gonna check if my person can stuff one for me! Sounds yummy!

<bark!>

Bailey

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