Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Housebreaking, redux

My wife and I have fostered god-knows-how-many puppies over the last several years, keeping them warm and fed and socialized until they're big enough to be altered and adopted.  In the process, we've typically had them very close to potty trained by the time they went back to the shelter (by the age of 8-10 weeks, mind you).  Thus I've adopted a very smug attitude towards housebreaking:  "Oh, if you're having problems, you must not be trying hard enough."

Two weeks ago, we brought home The New Puppy.

(I think you can see where I'm going with this.)

It was so easy to house train the foster pups.  Ohhh so easy.  *sadly shaking head*  And I think this is why:  They were foster pups.  Of course we adored them and spent hours cuddling and playing with them, wishing they could be ours forever.  But we knew they'd be going back in a matter of weeks or months (even days, sometimes), and so we didn't mind putting forth the SUPERHUMAN amount of energy that is flawless housebreaking.  We also let our own pup, Mesa, the ridiculously cute Golden Retriever, toddle around much more of the house than the foster puppies ever had access to.

Typically, they were granted one new room (say, the living room, or the bedroom) after several days of no accidents in their current living spaces, and only for 15 minutes at a time--and only when we knew their bladders were empty.  Whereas I love having a new "Velcro Dog" and am delighted to have Mesa follow me around everywhere, even if that means I occasionally forget to make sure that whatever she's chewing under my desk while I'm working is okay.

The moral of the story is that puppy training is easy.  It's tedious, and it may occasionally require an egg timer, but it can be boiled down to a few simple rules.

1)  Never take your eye off puppy.

2)  If you're taking your eye off puppy for a second, put him in the crate.

3)  If you're taking your eye off puppy for more than an hour, put him in his comfy puppy-proof room (e.g, a bathroom, the laundry room) with his crate or bed, toys, safe chewies, water, and a potty area.


So far, while taking our eyes off puppy, we've sustained a chewed a/v cable, a chewed credit card, pee in the middle of our bed (no, it's not because she's salty because we pet the other dogs or other Cesar Milan-type nonsense), a joyously unfurled roll of toilet paper, a dug-up bed of moss roses (see photo), and a puppy garbage fiasco after she (very quietly) learned how to open the lidded trash can in the bathroom.  I blame the work-to-eat toys.

It's not as bad as it could be.  She is getting potty trained and chew-trained, slowly but surely, under the increasing diligence of the sheepish humans.  And hey, it's nothing compared to my first dog as an adult, who in our first two years together (yes, two years; I never learned) chewed up two cell phones, my eyeglasses, about sixty paperbacks, all the windowsills in my apartment, and a couch, down to the wooden frame.

Nope, this new kid's not bad at all. But maybe next time I can just remember to... oh, that's right.  Never take my eye off the puppy.


Blogger Phil said...

"Never take my eye off the puppy" is a great rule to follow. Unfortunately for me, I've followed that rule and it has just resulted in me watching the little puppy pee on my floor. But, then again, I wasn't following the egg timer rule :). Thanks for sharing your helpful thoughts on potty training.

November 14, 2011 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

I got a German blood hound puppy. But I noticed that it is some of lazy and messing in house due to its laziness. I have to take it to dog training east bay for its training. Because they good in town in such dogs training like I have.

January 9, 2012 at 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Jaime said...

Hi Phil, thanks for your great comments! Yeah, it's hard to catch 'em in time ALL the time... Best of luck with your new pup!

March 25, 2012 at 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Jaime said...

Adam, try the East Bay SPCA by the Oakland Coliseum; they have good, affordable puppy & adult dog classes to help you through the rough patches.

March 25, 2012 at 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Jaime said...


Phew! We made it! Mesa is now a happy, confident 7-month-old who has earned her freedom in the house unsupervised. The yard, however, may be a different story. We'll have to take precautions with the new moss roses this spring. ;)


March 25, 2012 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Jamsmith said...

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May 28, 2012 at 4:08 AM  
Blogger PetLoverIndia PLI said...

Excellent! it is very useful post and tips for puppy training. How to train your puppies is a question asked by almost all dog owners. It seems everyone has advice and tips, and opinions on the best way to train your puppies.

Puppies learn very fast with proper training. The primary few days at home are very important for puppies and the examples you set now will last a life span. Following these basic techniques as soon as you bring your puppy home will make sure a positive housetraining experience for you and your puppy:-

* Ensure you give your dog lots of consideration and attention when he’s doing the right and good thing. Praise him plentifully when he’s been a good boy.

* There is nothing intrinsically incorrect with telling your dog “no,” it’s just that it doesn’t give him sufficient information. Instead of “no,” instruct him what you want him to do.

* Give your puppy recurrent admission to his toilet area for preventing soiling inside house. Reward the puppy for do so - give a special treat.

* Nourish your puppy with 2 – 3 meals per day. Leave food out for 15-20 minutes then take away the leftover food. Never leave food out for puppy to eat at will. This helps you find out when she’ll have to go potty.

September 17, 2013 at 3:40 AM  
Blogger Amber Butcher said...

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September 15, 2017 at 6:21 AM  

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