Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Puppies: Proving I Suck at Potty Training Since 2007

Sometimes I meet people who tell me that they can potty train any dog in a weekend. I'm never quite sure how to respond to them, but I'm pretty sure it's a mixture of wanting to yell “BULLSHIT” and “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY” because I suck at potty training dogs. I'm not sure why this is; the concept is simple enough. Take the dog out on a regular schedule, watch them like a hawk in between times, and confine them when you can't.

Either both of my dogs are difficult to potty train or I suck at this whole thing. With Maisy, born in a puppy mill and then lived in a small cage at a pet store until I found her at about 14 weeks, it made sense. She had always just squatted and gone where she was.

Pyg, though, lived in a foster home for a good six months. He likely had some potty training before I got him. Even so, I'm finding myself struggling with him, too. I know part of it is that it's December in Minnesota (read: cold), and I just don't want to bundle up and go out regularly. And I'm clearly not very good at supervising him.

"Just wait until I figure out how to open this window, Squirrel."
A big part of this is Pyg's absolute determination that he will not be confined. Perhaps I should have named him Houdini, because he is an escape artist. The first day I had him, he scaled a four-foot tall x-pen. Then, he went through three baby gates, which had been placed floor to ceiling in the kitchen doorway. I would have loved to have seen that.

Crating worked for awhile, but two weeks ago he figured out how to get out of a wire crate. I'm not entirely sure how he did it; the door was tightly latched, all the bars remained straight, and it was not otherwise destroyed or popped apart. I assume he slithered out somehow, but until I can get him reliably crate trained (a work in progress), he is now left loose in the house, complicating the potty training.

I know this too shall pass. Maisy, impossible as I found her potty training to be, now has a bladder of steel. She rarely has accidents, even when she's got a UTI. I can potty train a dog. I can. But until that happens with Pyg, I'm grateful for belly bands, maxi pads, and my steam cleaner.

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