Potty training problem solved

first snowfall
Keisha after her first snowfall

I thought I’d write an update about how Keisha’s potty training is going.  She gives really suttle clues to us when she needs to go out, but she will still just go in her crate sometimes without even trying to let us know too.  I was considering paper training her, but thought if she wasn’t trained to go on paper, I would rather not teach her at all, and continue teaching her to go outside.

Tonight I got an email from her breeder telling me that for the last three nights that she was with her breeder she slept in a crate next to her bed with shredded paper in it, and that she spent the days in the kitchen and she was paper trained! 

I had not been leaving anything in her crate because she just chews it up and tries to dig through it, but tonight I put some paper in her crate, and almost right away she went on it!  She’s been going on it ever since!  At first she shredded the paper, but she hasn’t been too bad since.  I will gradually move the paper outside, and hope she will learn more easily this way.

She has also learned to “come” today.  Now she knows “sit” “down” and “come”.  I’m making sure she has a firm grasp on the commands and are reliably obeying them before I start teaching her a new one.  She also had diarrhea for awhile, and I had to stop the training.  She has had medication for this though, and I am happy to report that she is completely better!

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Potty training problems

flexi leash
Keisha taking herself for a walk with Sophie’s FlexiLeash

Keisha is doing great!  She has learned how to sit, and is learning how to lay down.  She’s very smart, and we are constantly trying to stay one step ahead of her!  The only problem we are having is teaching her not to pee in her crate!  She doesn’t seem to care at all if her crate is wet.

Her crate is right next to the door that leads to the patio.  I have a litter box outside the door that Sophie uses, and if Keisha is put out there the first thing in the morning she will pee there.  If she is left out there long enough she will also pee.  The problem is she don’t understand that her crate is not a good place to pee.

When she pees outside I praise her a lot, give her one of her favorite treats, and she gets to play.  She realizes this because when she pees, she runs inside to get her treat.  When she pees in her crate, I tell her “no” and put her right outside.  She will usually hold it, but after awhile she will go.  She also pees a little outside and acts like she’s done, but as soon as she goes back into her crate she pees.

I have the divider in her crate and it’s only big enough for her to turn around in, but she will still pee and lay down in it.  I tried leaving the puddle in her crate, and thought that if she realized that it wouldn’t be cleaned up right away and that she had to lay in it she wouldn’t want to do it, but she just wined for a minute and layed down in it!  I even tried letting ehr out with Sophie so she could watch her, but then she just wants to play after watching her intently for a few minutes.

I cleaned out her crate with stuff that takes odors away, but that didn’t work either, so the next step I’m thinking of trying is to teach her to go on some paper that will be put in the far end of her crate, and gradually move it outside.  I hope something works soon!

Someone suggested that she could have “learning difficulties”, but I know I don’t have to worry about that!  She can learn other things easily, but is just having some problems with this.  The same person also suggested that some dogs are impossible to housebreak, but I think any dog can be trained if you know what motivates them and can find something that works for them!  I’ve just got to find out what works for Keisha.

I was reading about how puppies can’t physically “hold it” until they are at least 12 weeks old.  She has another couple of weeks to go until then, so I’m not too worried about it yet.  I’m sure things will work out fine.  I was also reading about the Misty Method of potty training for puppies.  If puppies of that age can be potty trained, I’m sure Keisha can!

And that is why her nickname is “Stinky”!

Dog litter box

SwheatI live in a condo in Toronto, and there is very little grass around.  There is a park about a block away, but I don’t want to go there at night and it isn’t very convenient having to go there every time my current guide dog, or my new puppy has to go out. 

I came up with a solution that solves this problem when we moved in.  I decided to build my yellow lab a litter box!  A lot of people must have thought I had totally “lost it”, but I thought it would work quite well.  I could put it outside on the large patio area I have and train her to “go” in it. 

We went to Home Depot and bought the material and I made the box.  I know you can get “dog litter”, but I wasn’t sure where, so I filled it with kitty litter.  It took a few days to get her use to using the litter box because she got so use to going on grass, but after a few days she was using it when she needed to go!  Now I just open the door, and let her out and she comes back in when she’s done!  I also put the litter box under the balcony that is above this floor so it wouldn’t get wet when it rains.

There are two cats that live on this floor, and they come around my patio and look in the windows.  One of them even comes into the condo if we leave the door open!  They would sniff around the box and I tried to keep them away, in case Sophie would not want to use the litter box if she knew the cats had used it.

The next time I got some kitty litter, I found some Swheat Scoop Natural Litter.  It’s made from naturally processed wheat, has no clay and still clumps so it can be easily removed when wet!  Sophie used to get the other kitty litter stuck between the pads of her paws, but this stopped once I started using the new litter!  If any gets on her paws when she coems back inside now, it can easily be vacuumed up! 

I’m going to train the puppy to use the litter box too.  It will be a lot easier, and come in very handy, not only when it snows, but just because I will just have to let her outside.  I’m not planning on letting her out there without using a leash though, because she could easily slip out underneight the fence.  I’ll have to think of a way to “husky proof” things out there!

Collar or Harness?

harnessI have been thinking about if I should use a collar or a harness when I get my puppy.

I’ve been reading as much as I can about huskies and most people seem to be trying to teach them not to pull.  I can understand why you’d want to do that, but in my case I want the puppy to pull.

When she grows up she will be helping to pull my wheelchair, and I think it will be easier to use a harness right from the beginning and let her pull when walking, than use a collar and teach her not to pull so much.

Many of the sled dog owners seem to teach their dogs to pull when wearing their harness, and to not pull when just wearing their collar.  I think this will be the best way to teach my puppy.  That way she will pull when working, but when she’s not she will know to walk on a loose leash. 

She will also get use to wearing both a collar and leash, which will make the transition from her harness to her working harness a lot easier when she is fully grown!

I’ve chosen the puppy!

puppy
puppy at 6 weeks and 2 days old

I emailed the breeder about which puppy I want tonight.  I had been thinking about it for a few weeks now.  There were four females and two males in the litter, and I had already narrowed it down to the females from the very beginning.  The reasoning behind this has nothing to do with one sex being better than the other when being trained, but I didn’t want a male puppy that would climb all over my current yellow lab guide dog, Sophie until I had the puppy neutered.  I want the whole process to be as stress free as possible for her.

From the very beginning, I totally fell in love with the puppy in the photo above!  I thought about one of the other puppy’s as a possibility, but I still had a nagging feeling that if I never got the puppy in the photo I would always regret it and wonder where she was, how she was doing and what could have been if she was mine.  

I received an email from the breeder yesterday asking if I was still interested in the these puppies because some people were going to see them on Sunday.  This made me think even more about the puppy I wanted.  The first thing I thought about was how I couldn’t let the puppy I really wanted all this time go.  I knew then that I had to choose that puppy!  I’ve spent nights thinking about that particular puppy, and something in the back of my mind just couldn’t shake the feeling that this was “the” puppy for me.  I know that I have made the right decision and don’t have any regrets.  I also know that if I sent the email to the breeder saying that I wanted the other puppy I was thinking about, I would have regreted it as soon as I’d hit the “send” button!

Now I just have to think of a name for the puppy!  I can’t just keep calling her “the puppy” all her life!  I’ve been looking for a “husky” name.  A name that when you hear it, you think “husky”.  If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them!