Alright. It's been 17 and 19-years, respectively, since Charlie and I have raised puppies.
But I don't remember it being this difficult. Of course, when we raised our first puppies, our efforts (and energy) weren't diluted with lots of little people. Charlie and I must have had more stamina then, in those days before we potty trained four children in three years.
Almost two decades ago, I don't remember the housebreaking that neverrrr seemed to end. We've had Louie for almost three months and it seems like just when we start to round a corner with him, he'll poop half his body weight smack dab in the middle of our kitchen floor. These days, we're literally pooped out.
We've been trying to crate train him. In that, he is in a crate when we're not around and during the night. When we're around, he's sequestered to our kitchen, which has both exits blocked off with gates and he's taken outside no less than eight times a day (Charlie estimates ten).
Here's a snippet of our typical morning schedule...
6:15 AM = Louie wakes up. Yelp. Yelp. Whimper. Whimper.
6:16 AM = Charlie, God Bless The Man, gets out of bed, gets dressed and takes Louie for a walk.
6:17 AM = I tell my husband that he is the bomb diggity before I stretch out across the entire bed and fall back to sleep.
6:45 AM = Charlie has walked Louie around the neighborhood, picked up the morning paper off our driveway, poured himself a cup of coffee and is sitting at the table, reading the headlines.
6:46 AM = Before the dog has even EATEN his breakfast, he'll poop on the floor. He gives absolutely no sign, no warning. One minute he's wagging his tail, the next minute, he's squatting in the middle of the floor.
6:47 AM = Awoken by my husband's aggravated sighs and tones, I force myself out of the most comfortable place in the world and stumble in to the kitchen where I grab a roll of paper towels.
Note: our paper towel usage has gone up three-fold in the past two months and I've watched more Cesar Millan than any other personality on television.
Today, Louie was outside running around our yard for several hours. He came in, took a drink of water, went outside again. He came back inside and immediately created a puddle. There was no scientific or psychologic evidence this was about to occur. There was no sniffing, no circling. And it wasn't even near our gate exit, but right there by the refrigerator.
This past week, when I was flying solo, I could feel my patience with the puppy beginning to wear thin. After he'd pooped on the floor three times in two days, I snapped. I told the children on the morning of the third day that they needed to take THEIR dog for a walk and they could not come back in to the house until he'd done his business, outside. If, in typical fashion, they sped walked around the yard and brought him back in and he promptly pooped on the floor, I'd put the dog in to the car and take him straight to the country (aka: pound).
I was 90% serious.
Perhaps, the children and Louie would sense that I was on the verge? Perhaps, Louie would pick up a tone in my voice that would facilitate his cooperation?
Instead, once he returned to the house, he chewed the zipper off his doggy bed and crawled inside to hide.
I'm hopeful that once we get through this "housebreaking" stuff, and Louie grows up a bit, he'll be able to suppress his desire to jump on everyone and gnaw things that shouldn't be gnawed (e.g., hands, chairs, cabinets, shoes, non-designated stuffed animals, Legos, etc.). I'm very hopeful that one day soon, he'll be a fantastic - lower maintenance - addition to our family.
In the meantime, it's that 10% adorably cute factor that keeps him around.