Thursday, March 6, 2008

One Step Forward, Three Steps Back

Just to catch you up on the last few days, Theo has been developing some good and some bad habits. Tuesday when I came home in the evening he was not as good as when I came home at lunch, but he wasn't too bad. He had peed quite a bit, and kind of all over the place, but at least his puppy pad was still intact. Unfortunately, he also had another accident in the evening when he failed to tell me he needed to go outside. Overall Tuesday was better than Monday, and I was proud of him.

Wednesday was full of even more mixed results. The morning started off typically with Theo whining to get out of his crate after my alarm woke us both up. It turns out in the time to get up, pee, and throw on some clothes, Theo peed in his crate. Noooo! His record for peeing in his crate was spotless, and now he had peed all over his spotless record! I washed his bedding, and hoped that it was an isolated incident. When I came home at lunch he was the very model of a dream puppy. Not only did he not make a mess, but he didn't even go! His pen was spotless and I took him outside to go potty right away. What progress!

Of course, then I had some issues with walking him. He was being a total brat! He just wouldn't walk! He seems excited to be out, and trotted along for about a block, but after that he just plopped down on the ground and wouldn't move for the world. He wouldn't come when I called him, not even for a treat! I thought maybe it was too hot outside for him, but I tried walking him again in the evening and he did the same thing. I think he just doesn't like being so...tethered. Hopefully he'll get over it because it's great exercise for him. Another problem might have been his harness. Previously I've walked him using just his buckle collar, but yesterday I used his harness because Husband said he thought Theo was pulling too hard. Today I think I'll go back to the collar and see if he walks better. I don't think I'm a big fan of the hardness for Theo. He dislikes it just as much as his collar, but he can actually get his mouth around the harness to chew it up.

So by the end of lunchtime yesterday Theo was pretty even: he had soiled his bed and refused to walk, but he had also made such progress in his house training. Well when I got home in the evening, it was like hurricane Bladder had blown through the kitchen. There was pee everywhere. His puppy pad was shot (but, again, still intact at least!), there were puddles everywhere, his toys were soaked. Some of it must have been water because I've never seen so much pee come out of him in such a short timespan. It was so disgusting. I don't know why he felt the need to make a hot mess out of his pen and then just sit in it, but he did. Ick! And to top it off, he also peed in the kitchen rather than telling me he needed to go out...again. But on a plus side, he did play very nicely throughout the evening and went into his crate without too much trouble.

I was hoping that, overall, yesterday would have provided some progress for him, but this morning he had again peed in his crate. I feel like for every step forward, he takes three steps back. I'm just at a loss. I don't know why he's doing it. I don't know how to make him stop doing it. I don't know how to teach him to tell me when he needs to go outside. I'm hoping that he continues to learn to be more independent, and not stress out while I'm gone.

It's kind of a surprise, but his house training has just become such an important issue for me (and it's stressing me out!). I feel like anywhere else where he's lacking, we have plenty of time to train him, but the house training I just want done right now. It's not just that I don't like him peeing all over the house. It's more like I feel this is such an important milestone, and really shows how well we are training him. And since he's not at all house trained, I feel like we're not at all training him well. Arg! Am I being too hard on myself? I mean, he's only 11 weeks old, not even 3 months yet. Maybe I should wait another month until I start being hard on myself.


Manda Girl said...

You are being too hard on yourself. Now, having said that - pugs are the most difficult breed to train, so I'm not one to judge.

I took many a frustrating weeks/months/years before getting it right. We switched to the litter (yesterdays news) to avoid the shredding of the pee pad (but then they chew on the litter like it's candy - so gross). I honestly can't suggest anything - because everything we tried didn't work. Stay strong!!!!! It will work out!!

Lynn said...

Ok, I have a few comments for you, but first, you're too hard on yourself. Don't worry, same thing happened with me. One day you'll look at Theo and think, he's been good with pottying! It happens gradually, and I think you're doing fine.

Ok, for potty-training, I'm on a schedule with Lucy. Every two hours or so, we go out. Doesn't matter if she pees or not, we always go out. She's a very quiet dog, and she doesn't let me know when she needs to go out, so until she figures it out, we're on a schedule. For the first few weeks (months), she would just pee and poop in her ex-pen. Recently, she's learned to go outside, or just hold it (sometimes). She's still not reliable. I think for corgis I hear they're not reliable until 9 months? It really does come with time.

Unless you have a halti-lead or a gentle leader type of harness, I generally think harness cause dogs to pull more, not less. It spreads out the pressure, so it's not all at the neck. I'm trying to imagine him getting the harness in his mouth.. he must be quite the acrobat!

Really, don't worry about the housebreaking. It does take a while, and some dogs pick it up faster than others. My Samoyed figured it out in a day (at 7 weeks). Lucy on the other hand... well she's almost 16 weeks old and pooped in the kitchen yesterday when I wasn't watching carefully. It does get better though, so hang in there! We're here for your poopy frustrations!

Oh and if it makes you feel better, yesterday Lucy accidentally bit my bf's nose and made it bleed!

Jenna Z said...

It's been a while since I had a hand in housebreaking a puppy (we got Sully as an adult) but my gosh, he's so young! You are being way hard on yourself and on him! Theo doesn't have full control yet. At this age he can go maybe 4 hours, 5 hours VERY max. So overnight it is hard to expect him to hold it so very long right now. I have a feeling (and I could be really off base) that when he is being left by himself, he is being left in too large of an area. He isn't getting the idea that this whole area is house area, not potty area. In too large of an area (just like in too large of a crate) he can potty and still have tons of space to go about his other business. Does he have run of the whole kitchen? Also, at this age (and in the early stages of housebreaking any dog), it's all about HIGH praise when he goes potty outside! Inside messes, while they suck to clean up and are annoying, do not mean he isn't learning. He learns when he gets praised outside. Inside you just clean up the messes until he gets the hang of it. Once he completely understands potty is for outside, then you can be annoyed at the messes inside. And I think it's way too early to expect him to tell you he needs to go out. He doesn't know right now that potty is an only outside activity so why would he know how to (or even why to) ask to be let out? I think you should slow down and enjoy the puppy stage! Wipe up the pee, praise him up good when he goes potty outside and relax a bit.

As for harnesses, I don't think they are good for walking. They allow a dog to pull MORE, not less. Think about what we put on a dog (or a horse for that matter) when they are pulling a cart or sled. A harness because it makes pulling easier. I only suggest harnesses for dogs that have trachea problems or for dogs to wear while they have some sort of physical issue with their neck, like stitches.

JuLo said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! I agree that I'm being way too hard on myself. I think I'm letting stress of work sneak into how things are going with Theo. Bad me!

Jenna, I definitely make sure not to scold Theo when he has accidents. I'm disappointed, but I never put it to works. Shredding his puppy pad, however, I can when I catch him doing it! Hehe. He does not have run of the whole kitchen. No way! I've got him in a pen that's just big enough to hold is crate, the puppy pad, a big bowl of water, and a couple of toys that are ok for him without supervision. I think the accidents are more related to stress than confusion.

I'm surprised that he's been having accidents in his crate because it's the first time he's done it. He went two and a half weeks without having a single accident in his crate, so his bladder was able to handle it before.

He definitely gets praise when he goes outside. I've got him so well trained in that department that he comes running to me for a treat everytime he goes! Hehe.

I'm glad everyone has the same idea of harasses as me. We only have one because the breeder suggested it when we went to go pick him up. She said he wasn't collar trained, so he would probably find a harness easier to deal with. Lynn, imagine wearing a necklace on a rather short chain and then trying to get it in your mouth using your chin. That's what he does. An acrobat indeed! And by the way, it was definitely the harness that was causing the problems with the walk because I took him for a walk today using his collar and he was a dream!

Lynn, I keep the same schedule with Theo, but when I'm at work I can't come home every two hours. I wish! I've been trying to train Theo to let me know when he needs to go out (or at least to tell me when I ask) by saying "Out" everytime I let him outside. So sometimes when I say "Theo, out?" He'11 bark at me in affirmation. The only problem is, it's hard to tell sometimes if he's barking yes or barking just to bark. Hehe. And Theo totally bit my nose yesterday too! Ouch! I was having a bad day and it just was the last straw so I started crying a little bit. Theo came up and started licking the tears off my face. Awwww.

Manda, I know what you mean! Theo likes to try and eat wood chips and rocks. Yuck!

Adrienne said...

My corgi also had some leash walking issues. when we took her for obedience training the trainer had us put the collar high up on her neck and she responded wonderfully. it takes A LOT of work to get her to stop pulling. because corgis are used to herding, they always want to trot ahead. try walking with the collar a few steps in the house and be extremely consistent. when he begins pulling in one direction, stop, change direction and say "let's go" and RIGHT at the moment he catches up to you reward him. you can lead him with treats a little bit but don't use that as a training habit. it was incredible how quickly our corgi roxanne caught on, it was her one difficulty with her training and after the training session it was like a switch flipped and angels sang and peace reigned and she suddenly got it. she was TERRIBLE with the pulling, absolutely frustrating and exasperating, but we never resorted to the choke collars. we even had a front lead harness, but she hated it. a simple collar high on the neck and consistent training is especially important for corgis because of their strong "run" impulse.

Ivy & Bryson said...

Boy, reading your post brings back memories of when we first got Bryson! He's an adult when we first got him, and he's suppposed to be house-trained, it still took us a good week to get him to understand the pooping/peeing routine completely. I can imagine with a puppy that young, it can take considerably longer.

Just keep at it! One thing I learned having Bryson is they teach you to become a more patient person.

I remember a time when we first got him that he just refused to walk. Just sat there and look at me like "I'm just not in a walking mood". And the more I yank his leash, the more he pulls back.

What worked for us eventually is (1) Patience (2) Try to walk in a different direction/ in circles (seems to diffuse their determination) (3) Taking agility/ rally classes. Somehow it got us working together as a better team. (4) Reverse psychology! Now, if I tell him to come and he doesn't, I just put him in a stay for a few seconds, and when I release the stay, he'd come sprinting towards us! Works like a charm ;)

And with all that said, it takes time. I'd say it took us about 3 or more months before we feel like we're "in sync" with Bryson.

Good luck! Stay zen!!

JuLo said...

Ivy, I'm so glad you had the same issue with Bryson and it's not just me. Hehe. I was expecting the opposite problem with Theo, which is, of course, pulling. None of the books tell you what to do when the dog won't walk at all. Heh. But he's gotten tons better in the last few days. It still happens, but it's easier to get him to move again.

Adrienne, thanks for the info! I'll definitely try out your method when Theo starts pulling, as I'm sure he eventually will!