This is a blog. One day I hope to have enough to publish it as a book. Maybe I will actually do it this time around.
Author: Mary Austin Fowler
Illustrator: Laura Fowler Pelletier
In Memory of
My father, Carmi VanRenssalear Austin born in Dale, NY 1903, who inspired the love of dogs in me, but didn’t know how to house train one. And my mother, Elizabeth Jane Moore Austin, born in 1910 in Batavia, NY, who taught me about God and life. But did not know how to house train a dog either.
My brother who stole Mitzi’s heart right out from under my nose.. You are older, and you took advantage. At least you went off to college a few months after I got her, you sly guy you.
Before I was given my toy fox terrier, no one at our house ever had a pet “house” dog. But all my young life I would take out a bucket to sit on next to the chained up hunting dogs Spot and Joe. I remember they loved to be stroked and be given table scraps.
Old Joe died when I was about 11. A tearful lady rapped on our door and claimed she had braked fast enough to avoid hitting our old beagle mix in the road, but he had dropped dead in front of her car from fright I guess. .
I felt sorry for Spot. He howled more and I knew he missed Joe. Spot loved attention more than the other hunting hounds Dad had. He had been somebody’s indoor pet who was often let outdoors off leash to explore his Attica, NY neighborhood. Dad brought him home to rescue him. There had been too many complaints about his affinity for hauling off people’s boots, and the dog warden wanted him gone.
After I got off the school bus, I’d leash him, drag him from his pen to our kitchen and sit down on the congoleum floor with him.
Mom didn’t want Spot in the house. The doggy smell I guess.
The front porch door opened and out tumbled 5 tiny mostly white puppies, down the steps and onto the lawn. I sat down and they crawled all over me. One stayed on my lap a lot longer than the others, licked my face, and followed me wherever I walked. I was asked which one I wanted, despite the fact that they were merely 6 weeks old and not ready to leave their mother, I chose the one who wouldn’t leave me alone. She “picked” me.
Mitzi was never really house trained. I hate to admit that. My mother would be “crying in the sink” in embarrassment were she to read all I am going to reveal. But its true. At least after a year or so, Mitzi was at least respecting the house and “going” only in the cellar. It took a very expensive renovation of the hardwood floors and throwing out of all our throw rugs.
Finally there were no exclamations of “CRAP!” coming from anyone’s lips because of finding one of Mitzi’s land mines. Nor did anyone get wet socks from stepping on a christened throw rug. I imagine much cruder words are zinging around world wide for the very same reason. Swearing is never going to solve anything. Although no one was allowed to swear in my house, my parents must have been very near that point.
I hope to identify all the ways we failed in the house training process, and guide you through the way you can avoid our errors.
There are many who speak like piercings of a sword, but the teachings of the experienced promotes understanding (inspired from Proverbs 11 and 12)
KNOW WHAT YOU NEED
We didn’t have a single piece of small dog training equipment. In fact all we had was one heavy chain leash, a collar on each hunting dog, a chain on each dog, and hay filled dog houses made with wood. They had old cooking pots to eat and drink out of. Dad fed them dried kibble stored in a clean galvanized trash can with a lid on it.
It would have been a dreary existence for these dogs, were it not a fact that they got loaded up in Dad’s station wagon and taken small game hunting a lot. Dad would lift the trunk lid, let the dogs off their chains and they’d eagerly jump in.
Dad mixed hot water and dry dog food up in a pail, and served each dog with a restaurant sized spoon. I remember that Dad insisted they sit on a “stay” command and wait while he filled each of their bowls. If one dove for the food bowl before released with OK, Dad would say “No” and bop him on the noggin. Before Mitzi arrived, that was the limit of my experience in “training” a dog.
So ahead of time you’ll need the money to buy your pup, maybe register him with a licensing body like the American Kennel Club, and the money to license him with your town clerk once he reaches the age your state dictates. At the very minimum, you will need a flat buckle collar, leash, untippable food and water dishes, and a place for him to be when he cannot be supervised.
A large easy to clean floor covered with disposable papers for your pup’s activity indoors, and a regular place for him to sleep are next on the list of important needs.
” I looked upon the dog.. He was chained outside and dirty and he walked in his own wastes. When I saw him I considered the cause. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest. (Proverbs of a dog trainer)
A DOG WILL ADAPT WHEN HE IS RAISED CONSISTENTLY
Mitzi didn’t have any limits placed on her when we were home. She had no collar, no leash, ran in and out of doors when we did, and sneaked off to eliminate in the house without us EVER noticing her doing it. She followed me anywhere I went. She slept with me under the covers so far down everybody marveled how she didn’t suffocate.
When we had to leave her alone, she was shut her into our small kitchen with an easy to mop floor which had bee half covered with newspapers.
A dog will start learning when still with his breeder, his siblings, but especially his mother. He should have started to understand that his mother and his breeder could come and go whenever they wanted to. He learned that his mother was big and could pin him down when ever she wanted to if her got to nipping her too hard. He learned (to varying degrees, depending on how many days his mother and siblings interacted with him) that.some other being besides himself was the “leader” of the pack. He learned that he could not get out of his pen without his breeder’s help.
Train up a dog in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Inspired from Proverbs 22)
We did not know anything about the breed, the way Mitzi’s littermates and the mother dog interacted, or the “breeder”, other than she was a “nice” lady who lived with her parents in a farm house.
The person who enabled your dog’s mother to “have pups” is called the breeder. The breeder is responsible for their health, safety and mental development. This takes knowledge that the mother dog-puppy interaction is critical between 5 and 7 weeks of age. Shortening this interaction time allows the pup to behave in an undisciplined way which can often lead to suspiciousness (lack of security) or aggression (lack of knowing when to respect other beings)
A wise breeder knows that the pups need the mother dog a minimum of 49 days.. For if he does not, he will suffer the wrath of his puppy buyers and a ruined reputation. (Inspired by Proverbs 27)
KEEP YOUR STANDARDS HIGH
Find knowledgable people who breed, live and work with your chosen breed of dog. Attend local dog shows, and competitive events. Talk to the breeders who give full disclosure of their breeding stock’s shortcomings as well as their assets. Look for a breeder who can tell you how they selected breeding stock. What traits they were breeding away from as well as those desired. Visit the pups before you make a decision to get one.
Breeders who are keeping a pup from the litter for future breeding or competition, will have more rigid standards when selecting the parent dogs than those who produce pups purely for money. If a breeder can give correct answers about his pups and he knows you care to get the BEST you can afford, he is more likely to sell you a pup.
‘Wise is the buyer who seeks out a breeder who seeks to breed his best female to the best male and seeks to match each pup with the owners who are most likely to appreciate them with proper care and training “Proverbs of a Dog Breeder”)
DON’T FALL FOR IT!
ALL puppies are cute. But pups grow quickly into dogs with physical or mental problems if the breeder hasn’t selected good parents, doesn’t feed the pups right or removes them from their mother younger than 49 days.
An only “For-Profit” breeder will allow any warm body to mate. They are in the short term business of making adorable babies they can sell as soon as they can eat solid food which can be as young as 4 weeks. Internet venders, pet stores and breeders that are breeding more than 3 litters a year should be considered carefully. No one needs a dog for their breeding program that often…
They will breed dogs with unknown genetics (untested for some OR ALL of the known breed disease issues), and will try to woo you with claims of having bred “Championship” lines. A pedigree (family tree) where one or two dogs have a major breeding kennel in their registered name, or a few with abbreviations for titles earned in dog shows IS NOT a particularly novel or rare thing.
” Narrow is the path, and few are worthy. It is best for a breeder to have one excellent dam to breed to a quality sires for specific reason other than just making warm bodies. (“Proverbs of a Dog Breeder”)
YOUR DOG IS ABOUT TO BE PICKED UP
When my mother and I visited and picked up Mitzi, she was freshly bathed. I smelled the soap on her. She was 6 weeks old, clean, and adorable.
First thing on arriving home, we let her run where ever she wanted. Soon we discovered she would squat to urinate right in front of us, which she got scolded for. She never ever went near the door to the outdoors if she had to “go”. Soon she began to disappear and return quietly. Later we would discover that she had made some sort of deposit in a distant room. We were forced to isolate her to the kitchen where the floor was less easily stained by her mistakes.
Ask yourself if any of these questions are true:
I) Does your dog avoid his and other animal wastes?
II) Does your dog eliminate his wastes where you want him to?
III) Does your dog let you know when he has a need to eliminate his wastes?
IV) Does your dog let you know when he is completely finished eliminating his wastes?
V) Does you dog have the ability to delay eliminating his wastes when needed?
An animal’s behavior reveals the ability and perseverance of his trainer. If the breeder doesn’t start your puppy right, then you will have much more work to do to train him. (A Breeder’s Proverbs)
HOW A DOG ENDS UP BEING EASY TO HOUSE TRAIN
Any dog given the chance will avoid wastes . The key phrase here is “given the chance”. The breeder should have been an expanding amount of room given to the pups as they developed the strength to walk. The better the pups walk, the better they move away from where they sleep when they feel the urge to eliminate.
A breeder who doesn’t increase the space for pups to move to, keeping up with their size and mobility, will cause pups to have no choice but to be constantly stepping in puppy wastes. If your pup has grown “used” to a constant smell of urine and poop on himself or around himself for his first weeks of life, it is NORMAL for him, and he will become oblivious to his waste products. He will not notice that he is walking in, sleeping in and playing in and around his own eliminations.
Breeders are so important concerning whether a pup is easy or difficult to housetrain. So ask to see where the pups are being raised. If you are not allowed in that place, perhaps its because its small, and smells. The way pups are raised DOES make a difference.
Ask the breeder to let the mother dog out with the pups at 7 weeks. Watch how she acts. If she were taken away from the pups too early, she would NOT interact with them at all. She’d make a run for it.
What does the mother dog look like? She should show slightly pendulous mammary glands (when the pups are 7 weeks old anyway). A sign that she has been with the pups and had been allowed to discipline them.
If her mammary glands look like a non-nursing female, then she probably had zero to minimal interaction and this will show up in the way each pup develops mentally.