How Not To Housebreak Your Puppy

By far the #1 reason that dogs are ousted from their homes is owner frustration at being unable to housetrain them. Invariably, it is the dog who pays the price for their human's ignorance.

The housetraining process can be as easy or as hard as the human makes it. If I wanted to set my new puppy up to fail, I would begin with an impulsive, unplanned purchase. I wouldn't waste time in advance researching any breeds, talking with responsible breeders, reading any canine behavior books or websites, or getting my house ready for the new family member. I'd just spontaneously "fall in love" with a puppy one Sunday afternoon at the mall. With my new puppy, some designer puppy food, and a couple of cute doggie bowls, I'd head for home with the certainty that this was a match made in heaven. I'd let my new little pup explore the house while I was busy fixing supper I want him to feel at home, after all.

I'd put him out in the yard after a bit, but would see no need to go out with him. I'm pretty sure he'll scratch at the door or cry when he's ready to come back in, which of course will be his signal to me that he has finished doing his business. And sure enough, that is exactly what he does. So far, so good. What a good puppy I have!

Since I'll be gone 9+ hours tomorrow at work, I want to spend some quality time with my little guy tonight. We sit on the floor and play and I give him treats and we both have a big old time. This is going to be a piece of cake - what a good boy !!! Pretty soon he settles down to take a snooze so I get involved answering my backed-up e-mail, and don't notice when he gets up, trots nervously in circles, and pees behind the couch. (Since I didn't go outside WITH him earlier, I was not aware he'd been holding it for hours.)

At bedtime I take him out again, this time accompanying him so he won't be afraid of the dark. But now, after his nap, he is wide awake and playful so we play some more outside at his insistence. He must not have to go because he doesn't.

I let him sleep in the bed with me so he won't be scared his first night home, and he snuggles right down and dozes off.

What a GREAT puppy!!!

I had not leashed him to my wrist, though, so I slept blissfully through the night while he got down and roamed the house twice once to pee again behind the couch, and a second time to poop in the most remote, and therefore acceptable, spot he could find which happened to be on the new white carpet in my guest room.

Well, you get the picture. But I'M still thinking things are going GREAT. God, I love this puppy!!!!!

It is not until mid-week that I discover the evidence to the contrary in the guest room and behind the couch. I am quite angry with this pup and I yell at him/swat him with a rolled-up newspaper/or rub his nose in it, according to whatever conventional dog-rearing wisdom I was raised with. He hid under a chair and wouldn't look at me for a couple of hours but by time for bed he was ready to cuddle up and sleep with me as usual. He must have learned his lesson because when I checked in the morning before leaving for work, there was nothing new deposited on the guest room carpet nor behind the couch.

I had a very hard week and had to put in some overtime at work, but my little guy was always so glad to see me when I got home and he made no more messes in the guest room or behind the couch.

On Saturday morning I clean my house. This dog is HOPELESS. He's been peeing and pooping all damn week behind the drapes in NEARLY EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE. He's doing this to spite me, and after I have been so good to him. He has the best dog food money can buy, complete freedom to do anything he wants to all day while I'm at work. He could have a better life here than most people's children have, but he just doesn't appreciate it, and I can't live with a sneaky dog who destroys my house. I call the pet store but they refuse to take him back and give me a refund. But they did have the nerve to try to sell me some carpet cleaner and a book on dog training!!! Like that's going to help!

Well, I've just got to cut my losses. The Shelter is open till 4:00 PM. He's only three months old and still cute. I'll say I'm allergic - I just won't tell them about his behavior problem and somebody is sure to adopt him. Bye, bye, little guy. Have a nice life!!!