House Training

(by Holly


When I look into your eyes, you melt because I am a puppy. That is my job – to be cute, adorable and fun. But soon you will find I am a conniving, sneaky little activity that can become your worst nightmare – IF you don’t understand me and take command. I hope the following helps you to continue to melt when you look into my eyes and be happy forever that I came into your life.

Let us start with where I came from. My ancestors were wolves. Wolves live in dens and, like me, don’t want to mess up our dens so we go outside from our home to make our messes. If you close up my den for a long time I will have no choice but go in my den, right? Okay, let’s start with some basics:

I am a baby so I need to feel secure. You need to buy me a den (crate, like you take on the airplane) that is just being enough for me to stand up and turn around.

I need to be warm and secure so put a nice towel (but nothing YOU want to use again) in there, but something that can be put in the laundry because I still can have accidents.

Since I am a baby I need to get lots of rest and feel secure in my den. If you have little children, please have them not bother me when I want to sleep or pull me out of my den.

Think of me and treat me like a real baby. Until I am old enough to be ready for potty training (8 wks for me, 18 mos. for a baby – give or take a little), I am only learning the basics but can’t actually be expected to hold it for very long. You can teach me and encourage me but please don’t expect too much until I am mature enough to hold my bowels and kidneys.

Since I am a baby, you need to take me out (change my diaper) frequently. I need to eat every 2-3 hours (depending on my age) and I will always need to be outside after I eat (approx. 30 mins. later).

I am so happy to have new loving home and I want to please you so you will be happy too. The only way I know you are happy is for you to tell me so. When I go outside and do a good deed, please praise me with excitement. I love your being happy with me and will try to do it more often once I see it pleases you.

Oh, and don’t ever scold me after I am bad. I don’t understand anything unless it is at the very moment I am doing bad things. You will make me afraid of you and I will just not understand what I did to deserve your displeasure. I will jump hoops to get your approval if you just give me a chance. So, praise, praise, praise me when I am good.

Oh, I forgot to tell you. I am new to this world and everything is exciting to me. Those things you call butterflies, snails, and that grass that feels so good to my tummy, I might be playing in or among those things and may not realize what you want me to do. But don’t despair, I eventually will have to go (do the right thing for you) so don’t give up.

If, by chance, I have just been determined to aggravate you with my play, and you are tired and I am not, just bring me inside to my crate. I will not feel it as punishment only a delay in getting to go back outside later. With 15-20 minutes and take me again outside. Maybe by this time I will actually be ready to hear your praise. If I am brought in too early, be sure not to let me run around the house so I can make a mistake because I will have not have learned anything by letting me play and then doing something to not please you.

At night (around 8:00ish) my food should be taken up. I need some time for everything to come out before bedtime, if you know what I mean. Make sure I have been outside frequently before I go to my bed so we can praise me in the morning. If I am free and clear I can make it 7-8 hours easily . . . BUT when you put me in my den be sure to keep me nearby so you can hear me just in case I need to go in the middle of the night. Remember babies need to be changed until they get old enough, just like me.

Oh yeah, bedtime is bedtime. Don’t pt me in there and then come back feeling sorry for me when I cry. I will soon be saying “it worked” and every night thereafter I will be saying “it worked last night,” etc.

Now the dilemma of what to do with me while you are at work. Remember I am a baby and you wouldn’t let a real baby roam the house while you are gone. I am different in that I don’t have to have a babysitter, but I can get into a lot of “stuff” if you have it available for me, especially given the time to do so. Although many grown ups think that we cry all day awaiting their return, well, let me tell you exactly what we do. SLEEP (80% or more of the time) just like a real baby. When you get home remember that I have stored all of my energy up to play and romp with you.

Now that you know it is for my own good and that I will not think you are cruel, you are ready for what I now have to say.

During the day, if you are going to be away for a long time (4 hrs,. or more) I need to be given a place to go that is safe. Put me in a small bathroom or utility room and leave my den (crate) inside the room with the crate door propped open, after I have been fed and have gone outside. Be sure to leave food and water inside my playroom. The reason to do this is that my tummy is too small to make it without food and water for a long time. Remember, I can’t hold IT for a long period of time either, so I may not be able to hold it until you get home, but at least I am not going on your new carpet or tearing up the toilet paper. When I get older I will be getting smarter and know what is expected of me and I will be ready to hold it until you get home.

Why not just put me in my den and be done with it you ask? Because it is too cruel to leave me inside my crate all day and because I will eventually need to go to the bathroom. Remember, I do not want to go in my den so you need to give me an outside. I know, it isn’t “outside” but is better than my den.

Okay, now you ask “what about shorter periods of time.” Anything short of 3 hours is okay with me if you want to put me in the crate. Since I sleep a majority of the time, I will not starve for a few hours in the crate. Just be sure I have eaten recently and have been taken outside to do my “business” first.

Remember, I can be an important part of your family if given a chance. If you have children, please teach them to be very gentle and nice to me. If you teach me what I need to know you will not be disappointed in me. If you give me one-on-one attention, I can learn things very quickly. I may even learn to ring a bell if you leave it at the door when I go outside. I will amaze you what I am capable of doing. If you repeat the name of my toy, I might even learn its name and bring it to you. Just give me your time and I will give you my devotion.

Your friend,