Hopeless frustration…

I am so frustrated right now, with very little hope of actually finding a solution for my frustration.  It’s an insignificant problem I have, but I’m so frustrated, I just need to vent for a little while…

Does anyone want a dog?

I am not serious, of course.  But I am so frustrated with this process!!!  Two steps forward, one step back.  All the steps back are killing me!  It’s true, Pal is much more trained than he was a few months ago.  But two weeks ago, he was doing great!  Now it’s back to accident after accident.  WHAT IS THE DEAL?!?!?!?!?

Last week, he kept his crate clean and dry every single day.  This week, I have come home to a wet crate both yesterday and today.  Two weeks ago, he was free to sleep wherever he wanted in the apartment, and he had no problems.  For the past week, he has had an accident every night.  Two weeks ago, he was only having “evening accidents”–when I was home and awake–about once every 3 or 4 days.  Now he’s back to once a day or more!

WHAT DO I DO????  Maybe there is a logical solution, but I don’t know what it is.  Last week was most likely a fluke–he seems to have a strong inclination to pee in his crate, and he has ever since I got him.  So I’ve been thinking that it might be best to wean him away from the crate, so of course I’ve been leaving him out when I sleep.  At first, that seemed to be working, but now I don’t know!!!  Do I put him back in the crate, knowing that he will probably pee?  Do I just ride this out, hoping that this is a phase that will pass?  Do I set my alarm for 2 a.m. and take him outside?  (I’ll tell you right now, the answer to that one is NO!)

I have left him home alone, not in the crate, at least once a day for about 2 weeks now, while I work out or go to the store or something.  He has never had an accident.  Should I trust that?  Should I start working up to leaving him free in the apartment all day?  It seems silly to think that I would do that, when he’s gone back to having accidents at night.  But he’s such a strange little creature!  I always thought I would start weaning him away from the crate when he earned it, when he finally stopped peeing in the crate.  But that’s clearly not going to happen…He seems to have “pet store puppy” syndrome, where he has learned that while he’s confined to a crate, that is the place to do his business.  So the logical answer seemed to be finding a way to move him OUT of the crate.  And we suddenly took two giant steps forward…no accidents at night, fewer hours of guilt for crating him, fewer accidents in the day…  But the step back is killing me!  Suddenly we have accidents every night, accidents in the day again, guilt for thinking about crating him more again, and guilt for letting him get in a habit of having accidents!!!

All the websites say that if the puppy has an accident, it is the owner’s fault for not watching him.  Well, I will take fault for the accidents that happen between 4:30 and 11:00 p.m., and from 6:00 to 7:30 a.m.  But I obviously can’t be watching Pal and teaching preschool at the same time, and if I watch Pal all night long, I couldn’t watch him OR teach preschool during the day!!!  At the same time, when he pees in his crate or has an accident while I’m sleeping, I wonder what I should be doing differently.

WHAT SHOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY????? 

You want to know my new plan?  When I get frustrated like this, I always have a “new plan” pretty quickly.  My new plan is to take away his water at 8:00 or so at night.  I know that some of you are thinking “Oh my gosh, she can’t RESTRICT his WATER???”  Well, I ask you, what would you do?  And I know that some dog owners actually only give their dogs water at meal times.  I’m thinking that if he has nothing in there, there will be less likely be an accident during the night.

And I give up–there’s nothing to be done about peeing in the crate during the day.  I guess I just got my hopes up last week.  All I know is, this is NOT what I signed up for when I got a dog!  I was told he would be housetrained in 14 days, which I didn’t totally believe, but it’s been more than four months.  I was told he wouldn’t pee or poop in his crate, which obviously isn’t true.  I was told leaving him alone for 8 hours while I work was no problem, and it’s turned out to be quite a problem when combined with crating for 6 or 7 hours at night as well.

It doesn’t seem like the kind of problem you can pray about, does it?  It’s my own stupid fault for getting talked into getting a dog.  It doesn’t seem like I should even bother God with this one.  It’s a silly problem, a pointless thing to be frustrated about.  Clearly it’s not the worst problem I’ve ever had in my life.  On the other hand, this is the most hopeless I have ever felt about a problem I’ve had.  It’s the first time I haven’t been able to see even the possibility of a solution.  Maybe I should go pray…

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