Charlie knows what she's supposed to be doing in the alley beside our house. It's a 30' long x 5' wide, beautifully gravelled space with no purpose other than being bathroom to our dog...it's as if the original owners of our house knew that 25 years later a dog would live in this house and so they built a bathroom just for her!
She totally knows what she's supposed to do out there.
The challenge is that she doesn't really connect that bit of outside knowledge with her impromptu desire to pee on the kitchen floor if we fail to catch the little signal she's giving off that millisecond before it's too late. It can be very frustrating. Now, the good news is that her voiding product is actually quite tiny - she is a small dog, after all...plus, because she is on a raw food diet, she doesn't drink a lot of water (hence tiny little loonie-sized messes on the kitchen floor) and her body uses the raw meat so efficiently that her bowels produce tiny poops.
But still...I want this to be a non-issue altogether at some point soon.
Little dogs are notoriously difficult to house-break. Charlie's doing ok in that she's got about a 90% success rate, but that success is (to be frank) mostly because we (read: I) strive to be vigilant about every possible time at which she might need to do her business.
She can be a stubborn little thing (like her father, I always say). If I catch her in the kitchen just as she's about to squat down, and rush her outside, she'll refuse to do anything other than sit there like a lump for a full 45 minutes before finally grunting up at me and 'giving in' and going about her business...which I know full well she's been holding with amazing bladder strength for that whole 45 minutes. Several times it's happened where she'll hold it, hold it, hold it (up to 70 minutes one time!) and then we engage in a staring contest for about five minutes, which concludes only when she breaks eye contact, makes that little growly-grunt sound up at me, and then goes about her business. (Little shit...and I say that with much affection and a half smile.) She doesn't know me well enough yet, clearly, because she doesn't seem to understand that I can out-wait her any day of the week. Any. Day. It's possibly not just her father that exhibits some sign of determination.
The vet tried to assure me this week, at her first check-up, that these next few weeks are the critical ones for small dogs - the age at which their brains just 'click' into gear when it comes to toiletting issues; but what the vet didn't realize about me is my generalized anxiety around the whole thing. All I can think about now is well, what happens if we can't accomplish it in the next few weeks...will she never be fully toilet trained..will we miss the window of her brain? I'm rather pathetic, really.
The truth of the matter is that she really is doing pretty well. She's hard to motivate with treats because she doesn't like treats all that much...even the tried-and-true wieners are scorned. But just this week I finally found some raw, dehydrated, grass-fed liver treats that her delicate palette seems to deem acceptable for a post-urinating reward system. That's helping.
We've just put up a bell by the garage door, and I'm hoping that eventually she learns to ring the bell when she needs to go out...but I'll believe that when I see it.
P.S. Any tips are greatly appreciated.
Some of the pictures below are a little blurry (thanks iphone), but you get the idea of her adorableness!!