Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Making progress

With each new foster dog, I go through moments where I feel uncertain of my abilities.  With Pager, as each piece of furniture has been peed upon in succession, I've wondered about whether I really know anything about this housetraining thing. 

But then, after a few days of "Catching her in the act," saying "whoops!" and whisking her outside, and bestowing lavish praise for each outdoor wiss, we haven't had an accident in days. 

The first few days we left her in there, her crate looked like this at the end of the day.
Yes, she somehow pushed the crate floor out of the bottom, while also shredding all the newspaper and upturning her water and food dishes. 

After a few focused Crate Appreciation Sessions--in which I feed her hot dogs, which she is starting to like more, inside her crate while sitting nearby and leaving the door open--she is starting to be able to relax in there.

Unlike Sandy and Collette, Pager came to us with no training. So I had to start from scratch with Sit.

Didn't seem to be making progress until Fozzie, who of course wanted in on the training session fun, came over to demonstrate.  

Then something "clicked" and she's been avidly sitting ever since!


Fozzie, what a leader you are.

Perhaps the most exciting development is her enthusiasm for food. She's still not the undiscriminating chowhound Collette and Sandy were, but she is now much more interested in all the things you'd expect her to be. 

Even yummy antibiotic-laced tuna! 
Fozzie: Where's MY Cephalexin snack?
Sure makes things easier to have a dog who likes to eat!

And inspires my confidence to see how patience with simple techniques pays off. 


  1. Way to go, Fozzie! Helpin' the new girl!

  2. LOL I love the crate picture, oh you poor thing to come home with that. I know that with a new dog house training would be my battle. There was always an older dog at my house when a new one came in and they followed the other dog out the doggie door - there wasnt ever any potty training to be done. Sounds like you are doing an amazing job. Food driven dogs are always great.

  3. Hi Kirsten, you're doing great with Pager. It great to see that patience and kindness used in training yields great results with time and a bit of repetition. Food (treats) helps too.

  4. OMG it looks like she has an aversion to the crate!! Poor little punkin, I can only imagine what she's been through before making it to you Kirsten. I know you will find a way to get through to her, it sounds like you are well on the path!

  5. It's so funny you posted about this because I am totally getting ready to head to the grocery store to pick up some hot dogs for my own "crate appreciation sessions" with Polly Pocket!

  6. We learn something new with each foster!

  7. Isn't it great when dogs learn from each other? Makes our job so much easier. When they're learning what we want them to, of course. I see that Maggie learns from Hurley so I've used joint training sessions to give her a head start on what I'm teaching. She's now a twirling fool and can shake pretty darn well thanks to Hurley showing her the ropes. (Yes, I know it's a little weird that my 15 month old dog shows my 6 year old dog new tricks. He's a genius, what can I say!)

  8. Glad Pager is improving :) I am often amazed at the amount of chaos a dog can cause inside a crate.

  9. Such a heartfelt and beautiful post.
    My highest praise for all the hours of time you put into each dog. Most of all, all the love :-) X X X

  10. I can totally relate to this with fostering Kylie! That's quite the accomplishment she was able to push the crate tray out! Kylie always got blankets but for the first several weeks she would totally soak her crate with pee and usually poop. One day magically she just stopped. It was amazing! I would say, "Yay! All dry!" When I came home like she was a kid who was in pull-up training. I don't think I did it--she just realized she didn't want to sit in her own mess. And as for sitting I literally had to call my friend and ask, "How do you teach a dog to sit?" I had never met a dog who didn't know how! Keep up the good work!


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