Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's tough being this cute all the time!

Q. A woman asked me to talk to her son’s 1-year-old puppy who refused to pee outside. After all of these months, the puppy would pee on the floor each time that they would bring him inside after a walk. He refused to do his business outside.

A. The dog was very leery to talk to me. He was completely uninterested and distrustful of me. It took time to warm him up but he did agree to talk to me in the end. It turns out that he had lived many traumatic experiences in his short life at the hands of people and had since decided that every person was a threat and wanted to harm him. He hated being outside for walks, especially in parks because people would always come over to visit the cute little puppy that he was. It terrified him when strangers approached him. He told me, 'They will all harm me. You'll see!'

He knew he was supposed to do his business outside but would get so scared that he couldn’t relax enough to relieve himself. I tried reasoning with him about how most people are really gentle but he wasn’t having it. I bounced the idea off of him about if he’d do his business in his own backyard instead of in the house. He answered me that he didn’t feel that it was his back yard!

I suggested to the people that they paper towel up any urine that he leaves on the floors inside the house and wring out the paper towel in the backyard, being sure to mark out the whole perimeter. Then I suggested that they contain him to his own backyard rather than walking him. Using distractions such as playing catch or ball or brushing him in the back yard until he gets more confident and comfortable with the idea of being out there, seeing it as his territory and using 'his' outside bathroom.

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