Monday, March 1, 2010

Housetraining Abby

One of the most frustrating things about a new puppy is housetraining it. I do not claim to be an authority on the matter, but I will recount the ways I tried to housetrain Abby. As I noted earlier, I lucked into finding a way of keeping Abby from going to the bathroom during the night. But sleeping takes up around a third of the day which leaves around 16 hours of dealing with a puppy’s random and erratic potty habits.

When I woke up, the first thing I did, even before tending to my own duties, was to immediately take Abby outside to the backyard. When I say ‘take’, I mean picking her up from the bed, bringing her outside and placing her down on the ground. In the morning, Abby didn’t need much coaxing into using the bathroom. The moment I put her on the ground, she did her business. I only had to do this the first week or so after we got Abby. However, at night, before we went to bed, getting her to ‘go’ was a chore.

It was very frustrating to leave a puppy out for a half an hour, only for it to immediately relieve itself the moment it returns inside. I asked my cousin, Nikki’s owner, what to do, and she said to always praise Abby every time she would use the bathroom outside. As silly as it sounded, I gave it a try since my method was obviously not working. So, the moment we woke up, I’d ask Abby if she was ready to go ‘pee-pee’. Then while she was doing her business, I would say ‘good girl’ and ‘pee pee’. I’d use a singy-songy voice that was pleasant to her ears. But at first, even that wasn’t enough to entice her at times. Embarrassingly, I would actually pee in the yard myself in order to coax her into peeing. As cooky and eccentric as this sounds, it worked.

Once Abby got into a routine, she would regularly go outside about 90% of the time with no problems. It was the other 10% that was the most difficult addressing. One thing I do know about housetraining is that it takes time and persistence.

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