Grandma’s Puppy Camp

I am dogs-cat-bunny-and-puppy sitting for my daughter.

I am happy to report that New Puppy flies in and out of their dog door with no problem. She also pees and poops outside happily and regularly. But, New Puppy does not seem particularly concerned about also peeing inside.

As a little background, I was not allowed to have pets growing up. Thus, the start of my adult life proceeded through the following rapid sequence: graduated from college in May, first career-type job started in July, rented my first post-college apartment, went to the animal shelter and adopted a puppy. I have basically had dogs ever since.

At first, I only adopted puppies. But, when my young daughter’s beloved Black Cat died, I was regularly checking the kitten status at the shelter. I had been told that “kitten season” was delayed because of the cooler weather. On one of these stop-bys, there were still no kittens, but I immediately fell in love with a 5-year-old Coton de Tulear dog. (We did eventually get a kitten too, the one who grew up to be White Cat.) Oh. My. Goodness! I had no idea how much easier life could be if you adopted an adult dog who was already housebroken!

After Little Dog passed on, there was a puppy adoption again. Then, my two current dogs were adopted as adults.

So, it is not surprising that my daughter’s first two dogs of her own have been adopted as adults. She is amazing with animals and, of course, she got to experience housebreaking the puppy we got while she lived at home.

But, life is kind of busy with a 1-year-old and 3-year-old and both parents working and life, and they have only had New Puppy for about two weeks now.

The best way I have found to housebreak a puppy is to use a crate when you are not home or cannot watch them like a hawk. If they are out of the crate, confine them to the room that has the doggy door and don’t take your eye off them. The second they start to sniff for a pee spot or squat, one sharp “no” and hustle them out the doggy door (with lots of praise and love when they finish outside).

New Puppy and I were doing pretty good with the peeing because she generally wanted to stay in the same room with me. But, after I fed her, I knew she was going to need to poop — and dogs are notorious for seeking a bit of privacy when pooping inside a home. Looking around, I realized I could slide the couch down to block one doorway and slide her crate down to block the other doorway.

So, here we sit. In this one room, all together. Of course, all three dogs seem to be happiest right around my feet and Gentle Giant sits and pants his hot breath right across my hands on the keyboard.

We only have about 30 hours left of Grandma’s Puppy Camp, but I figure whatever progress New Puppy can make in that amount of time is probably the best gift I can give to my daughter and her whole family right now. (Plus, I am kind of sick, so the sacrifice is not that big.)

Wish us luck!


New Puppy did great in the remaining 30 hours. No start-to-have-an-accident episodes at all. Hopefully, the little bit of additional learning she achieved will stick and transfer once regular life resumes and she again has freer roaming privileges.