This past month has been full of triumphs and amazing awakenings for us with our new dog, Zip. He came from a pound after he was turned in when his frail older owner passed away. We were unsure what we were getting into but once we had decided to take him we knew that this first month would be a learning process for both him and us. It has been much more time consuming than we had experienced before when we adopted a shelter dog. Each dog before Zip has had a set of adjustment and learning curves, but Zip’s are for the most part things we have not experienced before.
The best we could tell Zip was a 100% indoor dog before he came to our house. This was a first for us. He was startled when he walked on grass the first time. He walked funny, because the grass to him felt funny. Fortunately he quickly learned that he loved the outdoors and would gladly go outside and flop down in the grass.
I am going to repeat the observation, Zip was a 100% indoor dog before he came to our house. We did not have to figure out how to show him where our door to go outside was. We did not have to figure out the magic word to tell him it was time to take care of business. All of this was because, it quickly became apparent that he was worse than not house trained, he was indoor trained. We kept logs of all input and output trying to figure out his schedule so we could beat him to an “accident”. We used the crate and the umbilical method both which had worked with past dogs who had been house trained but need a brush up when they arrived at their new home. He had no idea about either method and fought them both. We would sit outside, tried walks, and even the in/out only for the toilet method trying to help him get the gist of what we were asking. No matter what we did, he refused to do anything and then he would immediately perform when we gave up and took him inside. Each time he would wag his tail and if he could he was smiling as though he was doing the right thing. It was almost laughable if it wasn’t so wrong. Recognizing the problem I first tried the puppy pads thinking if he used those and then I put them outside he would get the idea. He did not use puppy pads in his past life either. If he had a choice between doing it inside on the pad or the floor. The floor always won. This was how he was trained.
Zip is now well on his way to being trained. Our combination of scheduling, umbilical and crating had him, not giving up was the key to our success. His original schedule required hourly stops and nightly runs. He now can go for longer periods of time including the whole night. We are trying to figure out how to get him to ask to to out. When he sits at the top of the stairs and then heads down when everyone is active upstairs it is a sign he his heading for the door. He will wait a few minutes for you. You need to notice that he has gone to the door, because the clock is ticking. So far it is working, with no accidents in the past week. Now we really want him to learn to bark or something so we notice that he needs attention. Only once have successfully taught a dog to bark on command and then to go outside, so odds are not in our favor, but we know things could be much worse.