My Stupid, Stupid Dog!

When will it end???  It’s been three and a half years!  What am I doing wrong???

I want a dog.  Really.  I even want this dog.  Don’t let my frustration tell you otherwise.

I’m just…jealous.  Jealous of the people who have (seemingly) perfectly housetrained dogs!  I know a dog named Marty who rings the bell at the back door when he wants to go out.  I know a dog named Gracie who has the run of the house when her owners are gone.  I know a dog named Sophie who doesn’t even have a fence!  She just goes out and comes back to the door when she’s done.

So, why does Pal not have a clear communication about when he needs to go out?  Why has he had at least one accident a day for the last three weeks or so?  What did I do wrong when I was training him?  Is there anything I can do now, to start over, or train him from here?

It’s time for some research.  It’s time to think about what dogs need, and what Pal needs with his particular personality.  I’m slipping into teacher mode…If the student fails, it is the teacher’s bad teaching, right?  🙂

When I first got Pal, I read many articles online about how to housetrain a puppy.  But now, I need to know how to housetrain an adult dog.

The first thing that comes to mind is from the show It’s Me or the Dog.  Sort of like Supernanny, but for dogs!  Fun show to watch, that’s for sure!  Anyway, the expert lady says that dogs misbehave while the owners are away because they are insecure.  They get worried and stressed, and then they have accidents, chew things, get in the fridge and eat the food (no, seriously!), any sort of naughty behavior.  Pal only has accidents when I am away or when I am asleep.  He never does it when I’m looking, or even when I’m near.  It fits.  Also, dog lady never encourages the owners to crate train.  In fact, I’ve seen her criticize owners for putting dogs in crates while they are away.  I don’t agree, I think that if a dog is going to lay around and sleep all day anyway, what’s the difference between laying on the couch and laying in a crate?  Also, what if the dog feels more secure in the small confined space?  But, I have always envisioned a dog that didn’t need a crate, that I could just leave when I left and he’d be fine.  Like Sophie, Gracie, and Marty!  So if I can use dog lady’s advice to get a dog like that, I’m going to do it.

The second thing I’ve thought of is, I was minimally involved in training Sophie.  And I mean, minimally!  But Sophie stayed with us sometimes when I lived with her owners, Becky and Blake, in college.  One thing I remember is that Becky or Blake would take Sophie out first thing in the morning, and then whichever one of us would leave last would take her out again right before we left for the day.  I haven’t done that with Pal except for the first few weeks.  But if I had to hold it all day from 7:30 until 4:30, I’d want to go to the bathroom a couple of times before 7:30!  Also, I remember a couple of years ago when I visited Blake and Becky, I got the impression that Sophie got a walk around the block every day, maybe even every time they took her out, I’m not sure.  I know with Pal, I routinely take him out, and stand there until he does his thing, and then go back in.  And occasionally we go on a two or three mile walk.  He probably gets the same number of miles, over time.  But maybe little dogs need shorter walks, but every day.

What about sleeping arrangements?  Dog lady advises against letting the dogs sleep in your bedroom, much less in your bed.  Marty and Gracie sleep with the owners, I don’t think Sophie does.  I used to think I didn’t care one way or the other, but the last few days I’ve shut Pal out of my bedroom, and it’s the best sleep I’ve had in a long time!  We all know I prefer not to sleep alone, but it’s different from sleeping with a person.  As you roll and move in the night, a person rolls and moves with you.  Or, you end up away from each other so that you can roll and move separately without bothering each other.  Pal doesn’t do either of those things.  He just lays, still as a rock, right in the middle of where I want to put my feet, completely in the way!  He’s only 15 pounds, you wouldn’t think he could take over so much of the bed.  I love cuddling up with him on the couch, but I could live without him taking over my bed!

The things unique to Pal’s situation, compared to the other dogs I spoke of, are that he can’t just go out in the backyard by himself.  When he goes out, I go out.  Also, I am the only person who lives here, and I have to work of course, so he can’t go out whenever he wants all day long.

Reminder to self…Pal is a great dog!  The housetraining is the only thing I have to complain about!  🙂

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