It Is Easier to Just Clean It Up; Another Look at Potty Training
I tend to write about life experiences, ha ha. I guess that is how we all learn. And, I don't always have a scheduled plan about what I am going to write about from week to week.
So I've mentioned it before and I will undoubtedly continue to mention it ;) my bestest friends have just recently gotten a Yellow Labrador Retriever puppy for their family.
They wanted my Fury, but I keep telling them we are a "package" deal and I am not sure they are up for the "me" part of that package!
They had had him for about 5 days before my last visit (I try and visit about once a month because I steal and love their children).
We were briefly discussing potty training when mom mentioned that the kids thought "it is easier to clean up a mess" than to get the puppy out and keep it from happening.
I guess I had never had anyone say that to me before.
Just a little background on me, I am a little bit OCD when it comes to cleanliness. Don't get me wrong you wouldn't want to lick my floors but I need to shower twice a day and keep things as clean as possible.
The TV Show Hoarding can just about put me into a creepy tail spin. Want me to clean your house... invite me over and put "Hoarders" on the TV.
So I have never even had the thought cross my mind that letting the dog pee and poop in the house would be easier than just taking the time to get him/her outside.
I Bet They Aren't the Only Ones
Now I can see where a 7 and 8 year old kid might think this; but I also got to thinking that I bet they are not the only ones!
I would guesstimate that this is a similar thought process for people with little or small dogs.
You see it is hard to ignore the turd of a Great Dane steaming in the middle of the living room floor; but it's easier to ignore if you have a Yorkie that goes behind the sofa or even out in the middle of the room.
I once worked with a lady with Shih Tzu's and she didn't mind just picking up their poop. Sometimes they went on their potty pads, but most of the time they did not; she just traveled behind them picked it up and flushed it.
So as with any new puppy my friends wanted to do the best thing possible and feed it the best possible dog food and get it started off on the right paw.
I am not going to name brand names only to say that recently this dog food has come under fire for its ingredients. And, like his wife says, the husband was drawn to the bag because it was the prettiest shiniest blue bag they could find.
It touted high protein and natural ingredients along with being grain free. Let's just say it would not have been my choice.
But beyond all of that was the most severe and disgusting smell associated with the puppy's poop that I have ever smelled.
Don't get me wrong, no puppy poop smells like roses; but this was just rank, rank, rank and extremely loose and difficult to clean up.
The second after the puppy sneaked off to poop; you KNEW by the lingering smell it was somewhere to be found.
The problem is, not just the horrid smell, the problem is that the puppy is also leaning it is easier to sneak off for a minute and poop rather than go to a door or do a little dance or hang out on a leash.
They were imprinting this puppy to poop in his house and that it was easy and perfectly acceptable. What else would he expect? He doesn't come with radar or a conscience that tells him not to!
And the longer the habit persists the harder the habit will be to break! It becomes what he first learns is right and THAT my friends is very hard to change.
The Day After I Got There
They had been keeping the puppy downstairs in the kitchen away from the upstairs bedrooms; this made it hard if not impossible for them to hear him when he first stirred.
Since I sleep on the sofa (it is much more comfortable than it sounds) I could hear him immediately and get him out BEFORE he screamed. He went from screaming several times a night, to gently stirring maybe once.
I was also in charge of him during the day.
The father figure is a police officer and so he works at night and sleeps during the day. If I had not been there he would have had to be confined to his crate.
They weren't as "on board" with keeping him on a leash or tie down (it was too much work) but after having to crawl under the sofa where my friend was sleeping and pluck a puppy who was shredding the bottom of the sofa (brand new sofa I might add) a couple of times I was DONE with their method.
So on a leash he went and I tied him to my big dog's aluminum crate while I worked. Meaning I could watch him; never ever would I leave him alone so he could hurt himself or strangle.
Next I brought over all of his toys and my big dog toys and let him have things to do.
Did he pitch a fit?
YES! Even my friend woke up mid sleep and said... "what did he do?" but thankfully since he too is a dog trainer he understood why I was doing what I was doing.
And, from here I could keep him from chasing the cat, grabbing shoes, eating the sofa, pooping in the corner and doing other dangerous things.
It also ensured that he could get used to his leash. Before I came he hated his leash, after a day or two he wasn't fazed at all by it for more on help with your new dog or puppy and his leash click here.
It May Seem Easier
It may seem easier to clean up after your puppy or your dog rather than keeping an eye on him or teaching him.
But eventually people get tired of stepping in poop, or their house smelling like poop, or perhaps they get new carpet and move.... but they are left with what THEY created a dog that has no problems pooping and peeing in the house and a habit that is almost impossible to break.
So DON'T DO IT
Do what you have to, to teach your dog. My little lab puppy Minion; was leash trained, learning sit, and not having accidents when I left.
If left to his own devices, in about 2-3 months he would be found on death row begging for a new family to love him because his old family didn't spend the time it took to teach him just some simple basics. (not him of course since he is owned by dog trainers) but most dogs.
This is probably the #1 reason dogs in this country are euthanized, they aren't clean and people don't take the time to teach them the simple beginnings of this behavior.
These cute dogs get adopted and returned so often because they can't be house trained that finally they are euthanized.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.