I have a 4 month old feist/dachshund mix and I've had her since she was 7 weeks old. I started training her to use the bathroom on puppy pads because I didn't want her to go outside and get hurt by our bigger dogs.
I finally had her going on the paper, but she got more playful with our three cats and decided not to use the paper. She uses it every now and then. We've tried scolding her when she doesn't use it and giving her treats when she does but that hasn't work. We've used stay-off aid from the pet store and it didn't work either. We've also tried to get her to go outside but she's so scared of being outside that she won't use the bathroom at all.
But it all started when our 3 cats finally accepted her and began to play with her. They use the litterbox and always have. I don't understand. How do I get her to use the puppy pads again?
Hi Rebecca This isn't that unusual, puppy pads are not very practical and often cause more problems than they solve I'm afraid.
I'd really recommend crate training your puppy, and getting her used to going outside to eliminate. I know that she's scared of being outside right now, and you have bigger dogs out there, but she really does need to get used to that.
Then, to keep her separate from the big dogs for now if you think it's necessary, fence off a part of your yard for her to use as her 'potty spot'. Take her out there whenever it's time to 'go' and stay with her, encouraging her as described on my Potty Training page mentioned above.
Puppies are creatures of habit, and you'll need to be patient with her. It will take time for her to 'forget' the old, bad, habits and build up the correct associations to build new good habits.
I'd also recommend introducing her to the bigger dogs, one at a time and with two people present, and let them get to know each other. Little dogs often are very brave and have big personalities, and even large dogs can be gentle and tend not to be aggressive with puppies. It's better to do this now than to wait until she's an adult.
You might also want to read my Socialize Your Puppy page, as if she's a bit shy she could probably benefit from some more socialization and confidence building activities.
I wish you the best of luck with her, and hope everything is back on track soon.