I misspoke the other day when I was telling a friend that I “have so many issues with having a puppy in the house again that I don’t know where to begin.”
Oh yes, I do. I know exactly where to begin.
All I have to do is look down, look over – look anywhere – and see the evidence of this little home invader: little puddles, everywhere I look.
He sits down, he makes a puddle. He gets up, he leaves a puddle. Puddle, puddle everywhere. He can even make a puddle while he’s on the run – he’s that “talented.”
Now, my intention is not to be gross. Far from it. But after being blissfully untethered from a dog for seven years now, housebreaking a puppy is the single most frustrating experience in the world, at least to me.
And it cannot be remotely compared to potty training a child because at least toddlers wear training pants.
So now a roll of paper towels are tethered to my side because there are puddles, puddles everywhere. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say our little Havanese is a closet beer drinker.
I have faced similar challenges with previous puppies. After several confounding experiences, I trained a yellow Labrador with relative ease by hanging large bells on the back door and ringing them like an over-caffeinated Santa’s helper, every hour, like clockwork, before taking the puppy outdoors.
Within two days – and this is no exaggeration – this genius lab was trotting to the back door, ringing the bells himself and leaving his puddles outdoors.
But not this little mophead. Not only is he fighting this behavioral expectation, he seems to have taken note of the fact that he is the only one in the house who is being singled out for this practice and is now launching a full-scale protest, as in, I’ll show you.
Case in point: the other day, after standing outside with him in the bone-numbing chill of the night air for 35 minutes, watching him sniff, sniff here and sniff, sniff there, I finally gave up and brought him indoors – where he promptly deposited a huge puddle on the floor. Miller Lite? Blue Moon? Maybe someday he’ll tell me the name of his favorite brand.
My daughter thinks I must be “more patient,” but it’s been a few weeks now and we’re not making any progress. Only I have made progress; I think I’ve come one step closer to strapping little surfboards on my socks and shoes. I am beginning to fear my own floor and carpet.
So once again, I find myself appealing for ideas, suggestions – anything to make this torturous transition to dog ownership less stressful – and less wet.
And yes: I know all about those cheese-and-bacon puppy treats and other so-called incentives that I have stuffed inside what I call the “bribe jar.” I’ll make him a five-course steak dinner with a side of stuffed mushrooms if he would just get with the program.
In fact, I’ll make a five-course steak dinner with a side of stuffed mushrooms for anyone who can suggest a sure-fire housebreaking technique – and one that works with lightning, break-neck speed. To heck with patience.
You already know that this little Havanese wears coats and scarves. A pair of training pants is next. Just you wait.