I’m finding myself fretting over strategies for house training LeeLoo. At my previous home, I had a dog door. It hadn’t occurred to me that LeeLoo wasn’t really house trained because she reliably went outside to eliminate on her own. Now we are in a home without a dog door. Due to a variety of factors, I don’t feel like getting a dog door is a good idea. I do think it would be best if she were properly house trained, but it’s not going to be easy.
Even though I really didn’t want to do this, I have been training LeeLoo to use potty pads if I am not home. The problem is that it can be hit or miss. Also, I don’t know how to get her to understand that I don’t want her to eliminate in the house if I’m giving her permission to do that in a certain area of the house. However, it’s better than having the carpet used as a doggy toilet, super gross.
Most of the advice for house training our canine friends focuses on puppies and keeping them in small spaces. The theory is that dogs don’t want to eliminate in the area that they sleep and eat in. This method makes sense to me, but I have some concerns. LeeLoo has had severe problems with separation anxiety. What I’ve learned the hard way is that once LeeLoo finds her safe places in a house, she needs to have access to them. When I’m not home, her anxiety and worries can lead to a lot of damage if she can’t get to the area she deems safe at that time.
My dog trainer helped me brainstorm different ideas. Because LeeLoo does not eliminate in my bedroom, which is where she sleeps, we were thinking I might want to train LeeLoo to stay in there when I’m gone. We talked about different ways to get LeeLoo to feel comfortable and want to stay in there with the door closed. But what if someone knocks on the front door? What if there is a thunderstorm or loud construction outside? These extraneous noises could result in a completely torn up door with a hole in it and a dog with bloody paws.
For now, I am only going to focus on house training LeeLoo. All of the other training will have to wait, unless we are practicing a behavior that she knows well enough that I can reward her with extra pets or a favorite toy. I will not give her treats for anything other than eliminating outside. The treats are extra special, like boiled chicken breast. I am hoping that focusing specifically on this behavior will make my expectations more obvious to LeeLoo. I think she will catch on more quickly to what she needs to do because she will be motivated to earn her treats the only way she can.
I need to give LeeLoo more time between eating and going outside to eliminate. Basically, I need to figure out how to establish a functional schedule. How much time does LeeLoo need between eating and go outside to eliminate?
Her food and water are now in my bedroom. Once I wake up, we will go outside so LeeLoo can eliminate. Then, we will go back to my room, and I will feed her breakfast. LeeLoo will eat while I get ready for work. Before I leave, LeeLoo will go outside one more time to take care of any elimination needs.
Currently, it is a struggle to get LeeLoo to eliminate outside before I leave the house. Once I leave, she immediately uses the potty pads. I found this out by accident when I forgot my phone at home, but realized it just as I was pulling out of the driveway. As soon as I walked in I saw that after all the time she spent outside, she still eliminated in the house. I’m really hoping that this morning schedule will help.
Dinner is a bit trickier. I’m not sure if I should feed her in the late afternoon or early in the evening. It will take some trial and error to figure that out.
Now that I have my plans for house training typed out, I feel better about my approach to solve this problem. Hopefully, it won’t be long before I am writing about LeeLoo’s success with house training. Then, we can get back to the fun stuff.