I haven’t blogged in a loooooooong time. But I can’t think of a friendlier place to go for a little advice.
It’s about my cutiepie, very well behaved dog, Honey.
Honey’s 10 months old. I’ve had her for four months. When I got her, she mostly went to the bathroom outside. I encouraged that. It wasn’t a problem since I worked from home at the time. She still had occasional accidents; maybe two or three times a month. But I bragged that my puppy was housebroken at a young age. Everything was fine.
When I took Honey away with me for the holidays last month, I realized that she wasn’t nearly as housebroken as I thought. She peed and pooped all over my mama’s house for the entire two weeks that we were away. (Thank God Mom has hardwood floors and not hard-to-clean carpet.) Upon returning back to New York, I decided to try weewee pad training. It made sense on all fronts. I’m going to be working from home less and less, I don’t want a dog walker during the day, and it’s not fair for Honey to have to hold it for long stretches.
I started the weewee pad training by taking the pad with me outside so that when Honey started to go, I’d move her to it and say “Potty!” as she did her business. This was, of course, accompanied by a treat. I’ve read that most dogs will eventually start to associate the pad with pottying. She never did go on the pad voluntarily. But she didn’t struggle when I put her on it. I did this for the first two weeks of January.
A week ago (the third week of January), I decided to keep Honey in the house for a few days so that when she peed/pooped, I could correct her and put her on the pad. This made perfect sense to me in my head. But alas, my plan ain’t workin’.
Honey has been holding it like her life depends on it. At night I put her in her crate and during the day I watch her closely in an enclosed area. At first, she would hold it, maybe, 12 hours and then let it rip. I’d catch her. Put her on the pad, where she’d finish. I’d praise her and give her a treat. I’d even leave all the stinkiness sitting on the pad for a few hours, hoping that would reinforce the pee/poop spot.
This past Tuesday, miraculously, I caught Honey pooping on the pad unprompted. Yay! I praised her like crazy. She was happy. I was happy. Everybody was happy happy happy. I thought we’d turned a corner.
I continued to watch her closely the rest of the afternoon, and that evening after I fed her, I felt certain that she would go again. But she held it. Ohmigod, she held it. Eight hours, then 10, then 12. I was getting sleepy. But I didn’t want to crate her without her going first. It seemed cruel and unhealthy.
So I put Honey in the crate, and set my alarm to wake me up every hour to let her out. I did this all night. I woke up. I let her outta the crate. She jumped around happily. I pet her. We walked over to the pad. I pointed and said “Potty!” She walked over to the pad and stood there looking up at me for her treat. No pee. No poop. Just her standing there. I walked away. So did she. After a few minutes of hanging out near the pad, I put her back in the crate and went to sleep.
The next morning I was sure Honey would have to go. It had been, like, 20 hours by then. I sectioned off the room so that she was in an enclosed space. She sniffed around. I watched. She sniffed around again. I watched more closely. Nothing. Twenty-two hours. Then 24. Ohmigod, how can she hold it for this long?
Then came my dilemma. I had a meeting out of the house and I needed to leave. But Honey hadn’t gone yet. If I took her outside, I knew she’d go, but that would’ve completely defeated the purpose of getting up every hour and trying to catch her in the moment. So — oh, how I hate myself for this — I put her in her crate and left. When I came home, she’d peed in the crate. *sigh*
I felt so badly that I immediately took her outside where she peed a gallon more and pooped every ten steps. Every time she did, I put her on the pad, said “Potty!” and gave her a treat. She was so happy to be outside.
That night I didn’t crate her. After all the peeing and pooping she’d just done, I didn’t think she’d have to go again until after I woke up the following morning. Boy was I wrong. During the early morning I smelled some stankness and immediately regretted not putting ole’ Piss-in-the-House in her crate. She peed in the living room and pooped on my ottoman. (Thankfully the ottoman happened to be covered with a towel.) But Honey? She couldn’t have been a happier dog.
This was yesterday morning, mind you.
Maybe an hour or two later as I pulled together a load of laundry — after all, I had to wash the towel she pooped on — Honey jumped into the pile and peed again. I wanted to kill her, but I was too exhausted to do anything, including putting her on the pad and shouting “Potty!”
So last night I broke. I took her outside. She peed and pooped very quickly. I did not crate her last night. And this morning, I took her outside again. She peed and pooped like old times. I’m still taking the pad with me outside and I’m still putting her on it and saying “Potty!” and giving treats. But I’m beginning to think my girl’s never gonna get this.
I should note that left by herself in the apartment, Honey will potty any and everywhere. It’s my presence that seems to be the problem. But is it too late to fix this? What more can I do? I’m at my wit’s end.
If anyone has tips, I’d love to hear ’em.