Monday, June 15, 2009

Ask Billy: Potty Training Follow Up

Abbie Bella with the grandson's pacifier.

We first met Abbie Bella in April when her mom Judy asked Billy for potty training advice. Abbie is now seven months old, has graduated from her first obedience class and been micro-chipped and spayed. Bravo Judy! Training your pooch, fixing your dog and giving her permanent identification is not only responsible, but will help keep her safe and healthy.

Judy has been following Billy's advice for about two months. Here's a progress report:

"Abbie was sleeping with me, but then she would get up all the time and I would have to get up to make sure she wasn’t tinkling or pooping on the carpet. I was losing a lot of sleep and couldn’t handle that. Since May 29, I have been putting Abbie in her crate in the bedroom right beside my bed, close to my pillow, where she can see me. First, we will get in the bed, cuddle and play awhile and then I will crate her for the night. Abbie now sleeps through the night without having to go out before 6am. On the weekends, we tend to sleep a little later, but she whines when she needs to go out. I take her out and then come back to bed for awhile and she usually goes back to sleep!"

Way to go Judy! Billy is a firm believer in crate training. Abbie is safe when she's in her crate. She's also learning to control herself because she wants to keep her personal space clean. Just be sure to race her outside as soon as you open the crate door. Praise her and give treats when she goes to the bathroom outside.

"I'm following Billy's advice and taking Abbie out right when I get in the door at home, after eating and on an hourly basis up to bedtime each night. Abbie's been getting the hang of potty training, but we did have two accidents this past weekend, both in the hall, but I am trying to "watch" her more and take her out more. It’s been a long time since I had a puppy to care for and I was used to my older dogs going and coming as they pleased out the doggie door."

Every time Abbie goes out the doggie door, give her a treat and make a big fuss with lots of praise and kisses. She'll learn that using the door brings all sorts of positive attention. Positive reinforcement is a wonderful thing!

Moreover, a few accidents is not bad -- potty training is a process that requires patience! Judy agrees and notes that it has been a long time since she had a puppy in the house. She writes, "I think Abbie will eventually understand, I just have to be patient while she is learning. She is a puppy and I am trying to think of her like the grandson as far as 'potty training' is concerned. He is learning too and still has accidents. Puppies are like children at least mine are."

Although Abbie's potty training is progressing well, Judy tells us that once Abbie's paws hit the carpet she sometimes has an accident. We're not sure exactly why carpet confuses Abbie. Perhaps, her super-powered canine nose is able to detect smells or urine lingering in the carpet from other dogs. There's a chance that when she was a new pup her cage was lined with a piece of carpet, a mat or a towel and she's used to the sensation on her feet. The fact that she has been recently spayed could be the reason. The spaying procedure removes the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. Occasionally a dog will suffer a potty training setback after this type of major surgery. (Here's an informative article about the spaying process.)

Judy, no matter the reason for a setback, keep trying and continue your routine--you're doing a fabulous job! Don't get frustrated and stock up on Petastic, our favorite stain and odor remover. Your patience and care will help Abbie become house trained quickly and let her know how much you love her!

Tell Abbie we're proud of her progress and give her a hug from her friends in Happy Dog Land!

If you need advice or have a question about dog care, send it to Billy at We'll post the answer here. Please include a photo of your pooch so we can show him/her off to everyone in Happy Dog Land.

1 comment:

  1. Abbie is just too adorable!!
    Good luck to Judy. I remember it takes MEGA-patience.