Monday, January 17, 2011

Housebreaking in Winter

It's been a few years since we've had a puppy in the house and I had forgotten all about the challenge of housebreaking in winter. Add on to that a 2 pound California born Chihuahua puppy that thinks behind the potted plant in the living room will do just fine when it's 38 degrees and raining. I'm not a big fan of puppy pads...I want them to learn to go outside. In the summer it's great. Doors are open. The yard is a pleasant place to take your time and watch a puppy meander around taking their sweet time doing their business. But in winter it is all about who can make it back to the door first.
I am very lucky though as most of the housebreaking and crate training was done by my son and goldilocks so Bijou has no accidents of the #1 kind but she was still having a few of the #2 kind...well a lot really. It was my fault, I wasn't paying attention. I know how to housebreak a puppy and have taught a few people to housebreak their puppies. When I did obedience classes at our civic center I used to tell people that if the puppy had an accident to roll up a newspaper and hit themselves on the head and say-I didn't watch the puppy, I didn't watch the puppy, I didn't watch the puppy. I would say it very dramatically like I was going to say to hit the puppy with the newspaper.....it got a laugh every time.

I wasn't watching the puppy.

Needing inspiration, I plopped myself down in front of the TV to watch my favorite dog trainer, Victoria Stilwell. She was at a rich couple's house on Long Island that had four little dogs that were pooing and peeing in the house. So imagine my surprise to see author, fellow blogger, and now TV celebrity, Terry Golson, and her clicker trained chickens. She gave the couple a quick lesson in clicker training using her delightful little hens. She was very funny...and I like funny.
Victoria didn't tell me anything I didn't know (it just sounded better with her lovely British accent) but inspired me to put Bijou on a schedule and set a goal of no pooing in the house. It has been working quite well. So far we have only had half an accident, if you can imagine that.

I've been watching the puppy.

11 comments:

Terry Golson said...

Just to clarify - I did not teach them about housebreaking hens! :) An impossibility, I think.
My chihuahua mix is also not happy about going outside - which is currently a slick of ice leading to 18 inches of snow. We have to shovel a potty area for him, and even then, when it's raining, we go out with an umbrella. Who's trained who?

goatgirl said...

Yes, some dogs are excellent people trainers.
I used to have a Flat Coated Retriever, I swear, was training me for MY obedience trial championship.

Holly said...

Tell Bijou that she needs to be grateful not to live in NW Pa.

She'd get lost in the snow!

goatgirl said...

I'll do that Holly. She is so smart she'll understand me.

Chris said...

We don't care if he goes potty in the house...we want more pictures of him...more pictures! :))

Marigold said...

I hope you don't get carried away and start trying to train the goats. I don't like training. I think it has to do with being a free spirit.

goatgirl said...

Marigold, I gave up training goats long ago so no worries.

goatgirl said...

although, anyone...and I mean anyone..can be clicker trained. Even you goats.

Verde Farm said...

I feel your pain. I knew how to train my dogs and 4 years ago I bought not one but two puppies during the winter and lost my mind. I did everything wrong. I used the pee pads--even though I hated them and that was a big mistake. I love the clicker training and it was working--I just needed to hit myself with that newspaper. 4 years later--we still have issues from time to time but it is all mommy’s fault!

Amanda said...

Very, very cute... the pictures and your story. My daughter and I help out with training animals at local shelters, so as I was reading this post, I was wandering where you were going with the newspaper thing. You caught me pleasantly by surprise, and I laughed out loud. :)
Oh, and we too are Victoria fans as well. Love her!

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

lol! you're funny! All puppy training is hard. It's so easy to get distracted and not pay attention. I have a one year old. Been through that.