Turns out, it was me.

Yes, I was the one that was stupid.  Of course, this is exactly what I expected.  I knew there had to be something I was doing wrong, because my dog is very sweet!  He would never pee on my floor, right?  😛

According to my research this evening, there seem to be two main issues at work here.  One, who is the pack leader?  Two, what does Pal’s little doggy body want to do, instinctively?

I’ve noticed a strange thing the last few days.  Since I’ve not allowed Pal to sleep in my bed, I’ve noticed that when we go for a walk, he walks just about a step behind me, instead of leading the way in front of me.  I didn’t connect the two things until I read some of the articles tonight, but it all makes sense.  If I am the leader, I get to walk in the front.  And according to dog culture, if I am the leader in charge of walking and sleeping arrangements, I need to be the leader for everything.  So, when I asserted my role as leader for sleeping arrangements, Pal recognized me as the leader for walking as well. 

And how does this relate to housetraining?  Because if I am the leader, I get to say where it is okay to go to the bathroom!

After reading all these articles, I took Pal for a little walk, and I made sure that I went out the door first, and that I led the way while we were walking.  I also crouched down and gave him a little bit of petting and praise after he went.  So, he knows that I am in charge, and he knows that I am happy when he pees on the grass.

Now, Pal’s little dog instincts tell him to release some energy in the morning and the evening, before he stays home for the day, and before he goes to sleep.  Therefore, I was right on with the walking.  He needs a walk before I leave in the morning and a walk before he goes to bed.  He needs more opportunities to go to the bathroom than I’ve been giving him.

As far as the crate versus no crate…  I still don’t have an answer.  A few articles said that whenever I can’t be supervising the untrained dog, he must be in his crate, whether I’m away or I’m sleeping.  Another article said that if my dog must be unsupervised for both nighttime and work hours, I should use the crate at night and leave him out during the day.  That was a first for me, and it’s backwards from what I’ve been doing.  I think the bottom line is, until I can trust him not to pee on my floor, he must either be supervised or in the crate.  If I am walking him sufficiently, being in the crate shouldn’t be a big deal, since Pal likes it, and he sleeps 18 hours a day anyway!

Yes, this would be so much easier if I could just let him out the back door five or six times a day, or if I was home all day long most of the time.  Maybe at some point in my life one or both of those things will be true.  But no one said this would be easy.  Basically, that life I lived before Pal, where I lived every moment for myself, for my immediate gratification, is over!  🙂  And that’s not a bad thing!  Being responsible for Pal has definitely been a journey, and it continues.

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