Complete newbie here. I'd love some advice from an experience owner/trainer. This is our situation:
I have recently (2 weeks ago) adopted a middle-aged maltese cross. He's quite lovely, although a little timid and submissive and doesn't seem to know how to play (no idea about his past so maybe that will change when he is more comfortable and enjoying longer term stability with us). He is reasonably well mannered and knows some very basic obedience (sit - 90%, come - 50%, both 100% during training with treat sessions) although we're enrolled in obedience classes starting next week to get this a lot better. He is housetrained - will not relieve himself inside and if he's absolutely busting he will sit at the door and bark until he's let out (this is a huge for him as he does not bark at all otherwise).
Yesterday for the first time he pooed on our verandah (three times!). I'm trying to work out why, and how to approach getting that to happen downstairs on the grass only.
- A few days of torrential rain have meant he hasn't wanted to go downstairs to the grass (doesn't seem to like getting his feet wet!)
- It's only been a week since our fences have been fixed and he isn't yet used to taking himself to the yard.
- Up until yesterday he only did his business during his daily walk and wees when I took him to the yard for a wander around. He's also changed food and has now gone from 1 to 3 or 4 movements a day.
- Stairs. I don't think he has an issue with stairs as he goes up and down them when I'm with him, but I haven't seen him choose to use the stairs without one of us going with him. Can stairs be an issue?
- He likes to be near me, and I'm usually upstairs.
- The verandah is actually outside, so maybe he's confused about outside, and being on dirt/grass. His foster carer had a lowset house where the grass started just a few metres beyond the door.
Can someone point me in the right direction? Do I go back to basics with toilet training or is there a hurdle (stairs/separation/routine) I just need to address and he'll sort himself out since he already knows not to relieve himself in the house?
Thanks in advance!