Operation Poop Patrol

Things with the new puppy are proceeding nicely, more or less. He has enough energy to power a small city, but there are five of us, and we’ve been able to tag team it well enough to keep up with him in most regards.

But not all.

And that “all,” of course, refers to housebreaking the pooch. For the first few days, we were in sheer response mode. Do whatever we could to try to keep him outside when he had to do his business. I’m sure if any of us had housebroken a puppy before, this wouldn’t have been as big of a deal. We’ve talked to people who have, and I think once you’ve done it and know what to expect, it gets smoother. But none of us had, and so we might have known the theory, but not the practice. Still, we were holding our own during the day. There were some accidents, but we were getting better at figuring out when to take him out.

The night was a whole different story, however.

For the first few nights, we just sort of put him in his crate and hoped for the best when the morning came. Spoiler alert: the morning always held poop. Sometimes just on the bottom of his crate, but sometimes all over Ferris as well, along with a nice coating of pee to make sure it all stuck.

I spoke to my brother (who also got a puppy last month, and who’s about 4 weeks ahead of us on the training regime.) They were taking their pooch out multiple times at night in a system that even involved baby monitors. Did I really need to go to those extremes? Couldn’t Ferris just . . . learn to hold it?

After doing some more research, I confirmed that not only could Ferris not “hold it” for an entire night as a puppy, but the more he just pooped his crate, the more he’d get used to the process. Puppies have a natural dislike of sleeping in their own filth, but if you let them do it enough, they’ll adapt. I most definitely did not want to be training Ferris how to soil himself every night.

So we called a family council. After some discussion, we divided out the night. Tomas would take the first shift, taking Ferris out for a walk at 10pm (after putting the dog to bed at 8 or so). Denisa would get up at 2am to do the same, and I’d follow it up by getting up at 6am and taking care of Ferris for the morning until I had to go to work. We’d reconvene the next day to see how it played out.

Here’s the rundown: Tomas put Ferris to bed at 8, on schedule. When he went to take him for a walk at 10, Ferris had already pooped the cage. He cleaned that out and reset. When Denisa went to take him out at 2am, the cage was clean. When I went to get him at 6am, he had peed the cage. Verdict: failure.

But that’s why we make changes to our plans. Yesterday, we decided to tweak things. Instead of putting Ferris to bed at 8, we had Tomas put him to bed at 9:30. He walked the dog right before, but Ferris declined to poop. When Denisa got him (not at 1:30 instead of 2), the cage was clean! She took him out and he took care of all necessary business quickly. She put him right back to bed. When I got him this morning at 5:30, the cage was still clean! I woke him up, took him out, and he once again got full marks. True, trying to edit a manuscript was a bit trickier when my co-worker kept wanting to eat it, but we made do until it was time to get someone else to come watch Mr. Drooler.

Yes, there was a pee accident around 7:15am, but I’m still going to count last night as a victory. The first night we didn’t have a huge mess waiting for us at some point during the night. Now we just have to keep doing this every night for the next few months or so, and we’ll be kind of sort of good to go!

It’s a good thing the whole family loves this dog so much.


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