09 March 2010

Bathing With A Drowned Rat

Get away from it for a while and you forget what a FULL-TIME job it is, raising a puppy. When he's awake he's full of spit and vinegar, chewing on Lucy's ears, chewing on anything he can get his muzzle on, exploring this "new world" he now finds himself in. We have had success in the past limiting the amount of chewing on unauthorized things by having "Cheweez" distributed all around the house and making sure he has one near whenever he decides to come to a stop. We have lots of rawhide chews and one Nylabone. He likes the rawhides, but only shows interest in the Nylabone when I hold it for him. Dogs are just like people when it comes to stuff like that...
A pedigreed Schnauzer we regularly dog-sit loves that stupid Nylabone and has both ends of it almost completely chewed off, but neither Lucy or Yogi seem to have much interest in it at all.

I use the tried and true method my parents used.
It worked for all the dogs and cats we had when I was growing up, and it has worked for every animal I've owned since.
If you can catch them in the act of peeing or pooping, you immediately grab them up, shout NO!!, rub their nose in whatever it is they've exhausted onto the floor, and escort them outside while saying the words you want them to associate with going outside to do their business. We use "Go potty, OUTSIDE!" We gently set them down outside and hope they still have something more to "exhaust". If they do, it's time for great praise... "Oh... WHAT A GOOD BOY! SUCH A GOOD BOY!" This praise is normally met with not just a tail-wag, but a wag of about 1/4 of the rear of the dog.
If we have success with "Go potty, OUTSIDE!", we always have a treat waiting when we come back indoors... either a piece of these new "Pupperoni's", which all dogs seem to absolutely love, or a Milk Bone of some variety. (I bought two boxes of different "Milk Bone" treats this week because with two "proofs of purchase" I can send off for a free ID tag for Yogi's collar.)

So I know this housetraining method works, but there's an eventual problem with it:
The four-legged student pretty quickly begins to have a snoot that smells like "Go potty, OUTSIDE!" This is particularly noticeable when Yogi is trying to do what puppies always do... get as close to your face as is possible and slather me or Sara Jean with kisses. Uck.

So it's bath time. I have a method that works for me here, too.
I bathe him, then hand the finished product to Sara Jean for drying/brushing, and then wash "Go potty, OUTSIDE!" off me. I use a healthy amount of baby shampoo for his head, so as not to irritate his eyes. On his body I use what his "Poppy" uses... regular old "Zest" soap. It lathers well. It's mild enough that we've never had a skin problem on any dog we've owned, and of course... important for me... IT'S CHEAP.

I scrubbed his head down with the baby shampoo. He doesn't like that very much. Then I lather the rest of his body up with the Zest. You can see the puzzled look on his face as I scratch/massage his body with all those suds...
"I'm I supposed to hate this bath, 'cause this actually feels pretty wonderful!"

In this shower we have one of those shower heads on a flexible hose, so the dog-wash process is accomplished with me sitting, Yogi between my legs, in the tub. I hose him down good to remove all the shampoo/soap, then yell for "Mom" to come grab the sparkling clean subject of my attention and towel dry/blow dry him while I lather my own body up. By the time I'm done showering, Yogi and Lucy are doing hot laps between the living room and kitchen. Obviously, getting a bath isn't TOO terrible.

I feel pretty good too, and wish I had the energy to join them in their hot laps.


Rita said...

Did anyone ask for a mental image of you in the shower with your new pup? Ewwww. At least you didn't go into detail about what you wash your own hair and body with. Thanks for that.

cj said...

GB -

Crate training is also a good send for housebreaking. Dogs do not like to poop where they live, so if you crate them, they will do all they can to avoid pooping inside the crate. That makes it easier for you to take him outside and encourage him to poop outside.

But, I know what you mean about puppies. They are something you need to survive...


Rita said...

And apparently CJ has no problem with the mental image you blog about. I figured she's chirp in here and back me up.