Last week, I was privileged to work with a man who had just adopted a shelter dog, who had already fallen in love with him – and oh – who had difficulty moving around much.
>Insert Personal Pet Peeve Here< Often when I read training books or listen to trainers teach in seminar, they are geared toward the able bodied with lots of time on their hands. And somehow I live in the real world where sometimes people can’t move around easily and/or work for a living. And yet they want a dog to love – imagine their gall! Deep breath -
Anyway – he had adopted a five year old five pound adorable mixed something or other and he was having a hard time with the house breaking. “They” had said “Sammy” was housebroken already, but as I told the daddy, sometimes dogs are housebroken in one place, but not another; and sometimes people lie. But since we knew Sammy was healthy, via the vet checks, we were ready to housebreak!
I said, “where do you want him to go?” (which is, as you know, the first decision to be made in housebreaking) He looked at me sheepishly and said, “the cat’s litter box, if that’s okay.”
Okay? Your dog, your house, your rules. It IS okay. The litter box was handy, kitty had gone to his great reward in the sky, Dad could get to it, could wrangle the cleaning of it, and Sammy could manage to get there with no issues. What’s to worry about? Why would it be wrong?
We decided together to start with puppy pads in the litter box – they have an ‘attractant’ in them to lure doggy over there to pee on them. Later, he said, maybe we could use litter? Yes, we can! Whatever works out best for him and his already adored doggy who sits on his lap and gives him love all the time. And for you and your dog. In case you were wondering.
We set a schedule of feeding times and walk on the leash to the litter box times. A small jar of treats by the litter box was set out to reward Sammy when he did a good thing there. Then there was practice time.
Keeping Sammy on a long leash in the same room Dad spent his day was important. He doesn’t need to run off and pee anywhere else in the house. We learned some games to work off energy that Dad could do. Once Sammy gets used to going where he is supposed to, he will get more freedom, but right now its more important he keep his happy home than have house freedom.
And I always wonder why people ask me if what they want their dog to do is ‘okay’? I’m not the dog police. I’m there to help your dog fit in with your family and your needs and help you understand the doggy brain just a bit more. That’s it. I don’t judge! Ask my friends….
Check out the puppies and dogs at www.longroadkennel.com