Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Jingle All the Way

The trickiest thing in raising these puppies is knowing when they need to go outside to potty. After many, many accidents, I decided to order a set of jingle bells to hang on the door. The puppies might not be able to talk, but I figured with time, they'd see the pattern, and be able to alert me when nature called. 

The pattern would be simple enough. Need to go out? Ring the bell. Wait by the door. Go out. Take care of business. Come back in. Ta-da. Simple, right?

Look how tiny Sami was the first week we had her.

Well, Sami caught on first. Unfortunately, her interpretation of the pattern was: Want to go out to play? Ring the bell. Wait by the door. Go out to PLAY. Return to the house way too soon. Ring bell once inside because she wasn't quite done playing. Ugh.

Bristol was a little bundle of wrinkles. Now he's a big boy who is filling out those wrinkles.

Over time, they are catching on. Sami has mastered it, I think. Bristol is still a little hit and miss, but I have to say, I'm thrilled that we have had several accident-free days in a row. Luckily, Sami rings the bell when she needs to head out, and Bristol's body is nearly on the same schedule as hers, so he benefits from the trip outside, as well. 

Bristol uses the bell, but mostly I now understand that whether they ring the bell or not, I have to get them outside quickly right after waking up, after a big play session, and after they eat. May I clarify one thing about going potty after they eat?

Bristol even sits while eating. No sense wasting all that energy standing. (10 weeks old)

It took me much longer than it should have to figure out "after they eat" meant going potty immediately after they eat. I made a huge assumption, which was oh, so wrong, that if the puppies eat, they need a little time for things to move, so to speak, through their little digestive systems, so I would set a timer for a set amount of time after they'd eaten before I took them out. Guess what? 30 minutes was too long of a wait. So was 20. And 15. Yes, it took awhile for me to understand that when the puppy experts say to take them out AFTER they've eaten, they mean, RIGHT after they've eaten. All of those post-meal accidents were on ME, and I knew that from the beginning. The real trainee has been me all along, not the puppies. It took me so much longer than it should have for me to learn the timing of going outside.

A few weeks ago, I was taking a video of Bristol ringing the bells on the back door. I thought it was funny because he looked like he was just chewing on the strap and bells, and I sent it to my kids asking them if they thought he really needed to go out, or if he just liked playing with the bells. The joke was on me, though. I had barely sent the video when I had a big puppy puddle to clean up. Who needs to be trained when housebreaking puppies? ME, that's who. 

Jingle Bells. Jingle Bells.

Bristol and Sam are 4 1/2 and 5 months old now. Here at home, living with them day in and day out, it's hard for me to see the progress and growth they're making until I step back, and see just how far they've come. 

They've doubled in size, and quadrupled their night time sleeping periods. I can remember letting them out every two hours at first. I didn't think I'd survive that first week. There's a reason people become parents during young adulthood, and not in their late-fifties. Last night, I'm happy to report, they slept a whole eight hours. What! I know. 

We're hoping Bristol will be more consistent with his bell ringing, and that Sami will keep leading by example. Then we'll be jingling all the way, and I'll be smiling even more.


  1. I've trained myself,to just let my dog out. She came to us already potty trained (wouldn't that be nice) at 8mos old. But we still needed to know her pattern.We only had 2 pee accidents and they were our fault.

    1. I was contemplating adopting an house-trained dog. Now that we have our puppies, I can't imagine life without them, but there are definite perks to having an adult.

  2. I am living with a dog for the first time in my life, and will be left with him when the woman I'm subletting from goes to Ireland for a couple of weeks in August. Well, not exactly "left with him." Someone will be with him most of the day, and she just wants me to let him out in the morning and at night to pee. I am going to talk to her about this method, because from reading your posts, taking care of dogs is not that easy, and you have to get the timing right. I'm a little nervous about it, but at least she doesn't have carpets.

    1. I hope you have a good experience! You'll be fine. No carpets? BONUS!


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