This is the messy saga of an uh-oh during the house training of Miss Sweetie.
Miss Sweetie is the other of Wiggles’ puppies that is with us and, as her name indicates, she is sweet. She is not as sharp a tack as her brother, Doodlebug, but that’s all right. She had no plans to go to Harvard anyway.
Unfortunately, she used her brain power to associate her crate with her bathroom. We tried all the suggested techniques for breaking this habit to no avail. We couldn’t figure out her schedule and she wasn’t giving us any clues.
We would spend up to half an hour outside, waiting for her to do her “business” while everyone else was doing theirs, and nothing. We would put her in her crate and, within five minutes, BINGO! She was probably wondering why we kept her outside when all she wanted to do was go into her crate to pee and poop.
About 25% of dogs surrendered to shelters are given up due to house training issues. That was not going to happen to Miss Sweetie. We are the humans. All we needed to do was pump up our brain power and walk in patience. Patience. It sounds so easy.
We reassessed our clumsy efforts by focusing on making sure the crate did not smell like a bathroom to her. It smelled fine to us, but she has a much better nose. Figuring out her body schedule, especially in the mornings, was the next challenge. After weeks of failure, BINGO! The good kind.
I took her outside earlier and by herself. That was a key. When she joined the others in the yard, she got distracted by all the play and never got down to business. When she was the only dog in the yard, she focused. She walked around, she sniffed, and BINGO!
With every success, we poured on immediate praise and watched for the brain change that would let us know that she no longer considered her crate her bathroom.
One day when she and Doodlebug were out together, Doodlebug obliged us with a potty visit of his own. We showered him with praise. Miss Sweetie walked up to us and stared. “Where are my head pets? Why aren’t you loving on me?” It was difficult to ignore her, but it was harder to walk in on her using her crate as a potty.
She looked at her brother for a second, walked over to where he had just peed, sniffed diligently, moved over three more feet, and right before our wondering eyes, she squatted and peed. BINGO! The brain/body connection was made. We instantly lavished her with praise. Miss Sweetie had just graduated to the next level of bathroom hygiene.
Her house training has been frustrating and long. But it wasn’t her fault; we had fouled up somewhere along the line. Yelling wouldn’t help it. I wouldn’t want someone yelling at me about that sort of thing.
It came down to consistency and patience – ours.
“…let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:4 KJV
Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.