I haven’t mentioned it because I didn’t want to jinx it….but Wheaton goes all day at work without accidents AND without needing a pee pad!
He’s been accident free for MONTHS but I am still surprised when I don’t find a puddle. And it was actually something I was really proud of yesterday…I was away from my desk doing some training in another part of the office and it was getting late in the day, I thought for sure I was going to come back to my desk and find an oops….Wheatie use to get a bit anxious if he could hear me but not see me and he’d have a little pee…especially late in the afternoon when it’s been 7 hours since he peed. But he didn’t. He and Daisy were still curled up in the dog bed, cozy as could be, patiently waiting for me to finish and pack up. By the time we left the office yesterday it had been a 9 hour day with no mid-day pee break….and no accidents!
At home when I go out and leave them I still put a pee pad down cause sometimes he will still pee if left alone….but even then it’s not all the time like it use to be. This is a BIG deal! Being a puppy mill rescue he was never trained, for 4 years he was kept in a wire cage, he just peed whenever. Add to that; the abuse, the neglect, the health issues, the fear and the anxiety….I was happy with the progress we have made…I wasn’t going to push him! I was happy that he peed on the pads. I only needed to put two pads down near the back door and that was his area. He doesn’t pee anywhere else (usually….he’s not 100% but the odd pee on a throw rug isn’t that big of a deal considering). The idea that he barely uses the pee pads now is amazing! But it’s the all day at work – accident free – that is proving to me that patience and understanding is exactly what my boy needs on his journey.
I have never pushed Wheaton. We have only done what he is comfortable with…if I try something and he is uneasy, we stop. I have never taught him “SIT” because he didn’t like being touched so if you went to touch his bum for sitting, he’d cower or he’d run away. It was more important that he learn the commands “STOP” & “COME”…he knows those words. So when it came to potty training the key was consistency and praise…no reprimanding! No FEAR. The LAST thing you want is your rescue to be afraid of you. I just made it a priority to watch him and take him out frequently so he’d pee outside, and if I left them I always made sure to put the pads out. If he peed on the floor when I was home, I was at fault for not recognizing his “tells” – not him – and I think that is the key. We are the human…we are responsible!! IF our dogs do something we consider “bad” well they’re being a dog…we are the ones who understand consequences! Your dog likes to eat shoes…well what’s better…taking a chance and leaving those leather shoes out or putting those leather shoes away in the closet? For instance, the other day I moved stuff off the washing machine so I could do laundry. In those items I moved were two bags of dog treats. I moved them to a lower spot that was totally within reach of little sniffers. I didn’t think anything of it cause I was home. Of course after I finished the wash I didn’t remember to put the treats back up. Well, cut to 3 days later and I had to leave the dogs at home while I went to an appointment. I came home to two chewed up bags on the floor…with NO treats inside!! That’s not Wheaton’s fault! And yes, I KNOW it was him because Daisy doesn’t care about sniffing around the house looking for things to eat – she likes two things – sleeping and belly rubs. In Daisy’s world treats are brought to her…she doesn’t look for treats! Wheaton did not find those treats and think “oh if I eat these, and part of the bag, I’ll probably have a bit of a tummy ache. I should wait till Momma gets home and gives me one.” Duh! It’s my fault for leaving them low & accessible!
I really don’t believe in all of the ALPHA stuff…especially not with a dog who is already fearful and anxious. You want trust, praise and patience…and understanding. Getting Wheaton, or any dog for that matter, to do things because they fear you is really a fool’s way of training (in my opinion).
Is your dog going to misbehave…absolutely. Is your dog going to pee on the floor…yes, a thousand times yes. Is your dog going to bark and do other things that you find annoying….yeah, of course…ummmm, they’re dogs for crying out loud!! If you want a quiet, perfect pet, that never pees on the floor…may I suggest a goldfish!
Now, don’t get me wrong, Wheaton gets told “NO” but never in a way that will evoke fear. Wheaton cowered at every sound and every movement when he first came to us. It was my goal to make him feel safe and protected so he would cower less and less. He’s still wary of strangers and he will duck away from a head pat, he hates hands coming at him from above – hits come from above- but he will welcome a slow gentle hand coming upwards and scratching his neck.
He will always have his issues (don’t we all) and he may always be anxious and skittish…..
It’s my job to provide him with a safe place.
Last week I was sick with a cold and he was by my side all the time.
He was meant to be my boy. I am so thankful for him.
I have two furry loves of my life.
I’m so lucky.