View Full Version : housebreaking & sprained ankle - advice?

March 6th, 2008, 11:44 AM
dear trainers, i found this site from chazhound and the information is super! i got my puppy sammy almost 2 weeks ago, she's 13.5 weeks old now. since she got home we've been working hard on housebreaking using the "umbilical cord" method - she's constantly tethered to me or to something in a room where i can watch her, and i take her out everytime she starts sniffing around (and after naps, eating, playing, etc). she has done reasonably well, although still having an average of one accident in the house per day (usually when i was not paying close enough attention or did not move fast enough). i also tried getting her to ring a bell to let me know she wanted to go out, but she just kept pulling on it and playing around so i abandoned that plan.
ANYWAYS... all that background to say that yesterday morning when i was taking her out after a very snowy night i sprained my ankle badly! the poor pup was so startled when i started crying and she was very well behaved while i waited for my ride to the hospital. because i couldn't take her out, she peed and pooped in the house which of course made me very sad - but i know she had to go.
so, i am now laid up on the couch for a few days and was wondering what i should do to best continue my housebreaking program -- i live alone, and while i have friends and a boyfriend who is devoted to sammy, they can't be here all day long. she is also shyer about going to the bathroom with others, so we had another accident in the house as well. i just don't want her to forget everything she learned if i can't get her out when she needs to go! this morning i had my boyfriend take her out several times and play, and then i crated her until someone else can come help - but i don't want her in the crate all day long!
any ideas or suggestions? (hopefully this is not a long term problem, but the next few days could be crucial since i've only had her for 2 weeks)

March 6th, 2008, 12:12 PM
Yikes! Sorry to hear about your ankle... housebreaking is hard enough when both legs are functioning!

I'll give you my thoughts, then I'm sure Dana will have something to add. First, I'm going to ask what I always seem to ask first... is installing a dog door an option? That would certainly make things easier, since she could take herself out to potty.

If that isn't an option, you may need to just religiously use umbilical cord training and crating and have people come over as frequently as possible to get her out. Even if that means she needs to spend more time in the crate than you'd like for a while, I think it may be a necessary evil while you're healing up.

The other option would be temporarily doing partial indoor potty training (http://thehousebreakingbible.com/training/indoor-potty-training.htm). You'd have her go potty outside whenever it's possible, but give her a potty spot indoors until you're back on your feet. A sod pad (check them out on this page (http://thehousebreakingbible.com/training/indoor-potty-options.htm)) may be a good option, since the grass will keep your puppy thinking grass is the place to go, which should make transitioning back to outdoor training easier.

Another thought if you have any really good friends who owe you a favor... any chance someone can keep her for a while during your recovery? If you leave her with someone who's willing to be responsible about keeping her on a housebreaking program, you can then get her back on track at your place when you're back on your feet and ready to resume your training.

Or maybe you could contact some trainers in your area and have someone keep her for a bit to do some housebreaking/training with her? It may not be cheap, but it would be worth checking out to see if it's an option. I'd suggest getting referrals from local vets or groomers to find a good, experienced trainer, and it would probably be best if you could find someone willing to keep the puppy at his or her home instead of in a kennel.

Keep us updated!

March 7th, 2008, 06:44 PM
Dear Rebecca -- thanks for the feedback! Unfortunately, a doggie door is not an option since I don't have a fenced in yard. So far, the crating and keeping her tethered to me have worked pretty well - I've kept her on the couch with me when she is not crated (she's never gone on it, just the floor...) and that has gone surprisingly well -- after the first day, we have not had any accidents in the house (although apparently she peed in her puppy class today, which she went to with my boyfriend... ;-))

Hopefully, I will be able to get back to regular walking late next week, so she won't have to be crated alot for too long...

Thanks again!

March 7th, 2008, 07:49 PM
Glad to hear you won't be off your feet for too long and that's she's been doing well! Sounds like you'll be able to make this work without having to do anything drastic.

And I'm sure she's not the first puppy to pee in class! I wouldn't worry too much about that one... just be sure she gets a chance to potty before class starts!

If you have any more questions, let us know!

March 8th, 2008, 08:55 AM
Of course I spoke too soon... She had two accidents in the house last night (I think she drank ALOT after her puppy class, which is later than we usually take up her water) and one this morning! Hopefully, we'll be back on track soon!
I do have one more somewhat unrelated question -- have you found that Nature's Miracle actually works? I've been using it diligently to clean up any accident sites, but she seems to go right back to the same spot in my kitchen! Are there any other similar products that are more reliable?

Thanks again!!!

March 8th, 2008, 09:37 AM
Sorry to hear about the accidents! Don't get discouraged... just try to be a little more careful about that water intake.

Nature's Miracle seems to be the most widely used pet odor neutralizer, and I think it's pretty good, but there are plenty of others to try if you're finding it ineffective. Keep in mind that your puppy returning to that spot may be habitual and not related to residual scent in the area. It isn't unusual for dogs to develop a habit of thinking there's a spot in the house where it's okay to go, since they've gotten relief by going there in the past.

There are some solutions to this problem in this answer (http://thehousebreakingbible.com/training/housebreaking-faq.htm#onespot) in our FAQ section (http://thehousebreakingbible.com/training/housebreaking-problems.htm).

March 8th, 2008, 10:45 AM
That makes sense -- when she is tethered to me when I am in the kitchen (where she has had her accidents) she doesn't have a huge range of motion, so it may be just habit. I will try feeding and training her right in the spot -- I've been feeding her in the crate so she associates it with good things & doesn't go there, but I hope she's got that at this point, so I will switch that!

Thanks again for the fantastic advice!

And here is a picture of Sammy, just for your enjoyment -- she's an Australian Labradoodle --


March 8th, 2008, 10:49 AM
What a great pic! She's adorable!!

March 9th, 2008, 08:27 PM
Wow, that is a cute puppy! I am so glad to hear that you are mostly working it out ok, even with your injury.