So it is when you adopt a puppy, or in our case, when your puppy adopts you, the first thing they say to do is potty train. Labs are easy to potty train, they said. Use plenty of positive reinforcement, they said. I went to the pet store and read the book on labs, asked Google about 100 times. Same thing. Labs are easy to potty train. They respond well to positive reinforcement and kennel training. They do not like to dirty their own space. Well, I hate to be too cliché and say that our Daisy is unique but … um, she’s unique.
Kennel. Check. Positive reinforcement. Check check. Positive reinforcement treats? Check check check. Crazy puppy lady acting like an enthused maniac in the apartment yard complex every time the puppy peed in the grass? Yep. That was me. “OH BOY! GOOD GIRL, DAISY! THAT’S A GOOD POTTY! GOOD POTTY IN THE GRASS!”
Don’t rub their nose in it when they have accidents, they said. Ignore the accidents and rush them out to the grass, they said. Crazy apartment lady running peeing puppy outdoors. Don’t mind me! After the first month, I was ready to buy stock in Bounty paper towels. Deposit? What deposit? Oh, and good thing it was our own furniture she chewed up, but don’t get me started. Yet I digress. Puppy teeth. Perhaps a post for another day.
As I said, I read the book, asked Google, asked friends and family about potty training. The most consistent response was positive reinforcement and be consistent. I was CONSISTENTLY POSITIVE! Positive that our puppy was never going to get it. Kennel train, they said. Let them out every four hours in the beginning, and as they age, they can make it longer stretches. Home at lunch to find pee in the kennel. Leash on excited puppy, Daisy taking me for walks around the apartment yard. Crazy puppy lady yelling, “GOOD POTTY DAISY!” while chasing said puppy running away with leash. Late back to work with mud on my shoes. Boss gives a questioning look. “Don’t ask,” says me. Frazzled lady feels less positive by the minute. Checks Google.
Dear Google, “How to potty train a Labrador retriever.” Nothing new. Thanks, Google. Sleepy positive reinforcement apartment lady letting puppy potty in the middle of the night feels something slimy on foot. “AAAAACK! HONEY! THE DOG JUST DIARREAH’D ON MY SLIPPER!” GROSS! YOU TAKE HER OUT!” Fiancé groggily takes over. “Oh, and babe,” I poke my head out “Make sure to be positive and give her a treat.” Tosses treats to fiancé while heading in to wash slippers.
The next morning crazy not so positive apartment puppy lady calls in sick to work because of puppy with diarrhea. “I’m sorry. I just feel like it would be inhumane to leave her in her kennel covered in her own poop.” Yep. I was that lady. Thinks it over wonders who to call while running pooping puppy out to the yard. “GROSS! GOOD POOPY DAISY! THAT”S A GOOD POOPY” in an exacerbated out-of-breath tone. Decide I can take her to my friend’s house. She has a fenced in yard, other dogs, and is home! Perfect. Talk to friend and get the green light. Okay. Put work clothes on, load puppy into Jeep. Arrive at friends. Run poop-covered puppy into back yard and ask friend for cleaning supplies and really good deodorizer. Spends next 30 minutes cleaning out Jeep. Arrives at work. Sniff. “Crap. Next stop, clean my shoes.”
Phone beeps. Text from friend with a picture of Daisy having a blast in their backyard kiddie pool. The pool was designed to be a water bowl for her dogs, but Daisy gets in it all fours every time she wants a drink and splashes and jumps around. She’s having a blast. Crazy puppy apartment lady smiles and laughs. What a cute puppy. God love her.
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