I now understand why 637 people told me, "Glad it's you and not me" when I said we got a puppy and need to potty train her. Had I known it was going to be this hard to housebreak a puppy, I seriously would have thought twice about getting a dog.
I have asked long-time dog owners and the vet; searched the internet for advice and tips; looked up dog books for information and we are -this- close to throwing in the towel.
We take Maisie outside and use the same word every time we take her out. We give her positive praise when she pees or poops outside. We have her outside for 15 to 20 minutes, freezing our tushies off, only to have her take a dump on the floor not 5 minutes after we come back in the house.
She has an irritating habit of searching for cat poop in the yard and eating it. Talk about butt breath!
She has definitely calmed down and is not so crazy-goofy anymore, but she still has her moments when the kids decide to run around the house and she joins in on the chase. We've had to remind the girls again and again that dogs chase and they catch what they chase which results in bites. Poor Middle has been the recipient of several bites and that alone makes me want to say good-bye to dog ownership. Her arms look terrible with all kinds of scratches and teeth marks and I pray they don't leave scars. Let me add that Middle has finally learned to stop flailing her arms while she runs and has not had any recent bites from Maisie.
I have days when I ask my husband to remind me again why we wanted a dog. Oh, right, to alert me when something or someone is around or to bark when phone rings or someone is at the door. Is that all?
Then the husband hears on the radio that lots of people are giving up their pets because of the economy and they can't afford the costs of pet ownership and that makes me feel bad, to contribute to the problem if we get rid of the dog. And what would that teach our kids, to get rid of something instead of trying to work things out?
So please, tell me, is there a foolproof way to potty train a dog? Like fast? And how do we get her to stop eating cat poop? Our outdoor cats are polite, they do their business in the woods, not in the yard where we play, so we've been keeping her on a leash now when we take her outside, but we really want her off the leash when we are at home.
I'd appreciate any advice or tried-and-true tips you can offer us. Thanks!