Sunday, January 22, 2012
Urban Potty Adventures
When you gotta go, you gotta go. But's that easier said than done when you've got four paws in the heart of a sprawling metropolis. Housebreaking a puppy or newly adopted adult dog can be a frustrating challenge, especially when you add in the element of an urban environment.
it's a (concrete) jungle out there
As with housebreaking a puppy anywhere, urban pet parents should rely on a consistent schedule and lots of patience. Expect your new addition to make mistakes, especially early in the training. And expect housebreaking to take at least a month, often more (especially if your new dog is an adult). While your dog is learning when and where to eliminate, it is important that you either actively watch him, or keep him in the comfort of his crate to avoid unwanted accidents.
out of bounds
One drawback of housebreaking in a condo or apartment can be a lack of quick access to the outdoors. In the early stages of housebreaking in the city, it's best to have a backup potty place indoors, such as a piddle pad, for your puppy to use if he can't get outside in time.
holding their own
Remember that puppies can't be expected to hold their bladders as long as adult dogs. A good rule of thumb is one hour more than your pup's month of age. When it's time, take your pup outside to the same spot each time. Talk to your dog and let him know that it's time to go potty, using the smae phrase each time to cue him. Praise him when he's done a good job, and reward him afterwards with playtime or a long walk.
are we there yet?
If your pet is new to city living, you may face and additional challenge-the lack of green space. Many dogs understand that grassy areas are the place to go, and a move to the concrete jungle can be confusing. In these cases, find the closest dog park or grassy area (not the nearest flower bed if you'd like your neighbors to welcome you) and gradually acclimate your dog to city life.
no train, no gain
Many urban dwellers can train their dogs to use a litter box, much like a cat. Real or artificial grass boxes are available and can be very convenient, especially on cold winter nights. Don't let this stop you from continuing training, though, so your pet understands it is also apporpriate (and preferred) to go outdoors.
Fetch 2011 No. 3 Issue 9