Housetraining Misadventure #1

When I initially asked about housetraining, my breeder replied that Shibas come housetrained. To be honest, I didn't really believe her. I've read three puppy books and numerous online resources about housetraining -- it takes some time and it's not easy! I was expecting to be taking Loki to eliminate every 2 hours and also expecting some accidents. Little did I know what I was in for.

In my first couple days with Loki, my housetraining experience was most unexpected and very stressful. Since he is only 8 weeks old, he has not yet received his full set of vaccinations. Because of this, it is a health risk to take him outside to eliminate as there are some very serious contagious diseases (such as Parvo, which can be deadly to a small pup). So, instead of him going all over the place like other breeds, my problem was that Loki refused to go both indoors and on the balcony. He only wanted to go outdoors.


Trial #1: Paper. I wanted to paper train him but he absolutely refused to go on the paper (the expensive commercial puppy pads kind). He wouldn't go in his exercise pen and he wouldn't go on the balcony. The first day home, he went 9 hours without eliminating at all. Finally, we gave in and took him outside. And as soon as he was taken outside, he both peed and pooped.

Trial #2: Paper with poop. Well, we didn't want to repeat going outdoors, so I took some of his poop to smear on the paper puppy pads that I put out on the balcony. That didn't work.

Trial #3: Gravel. We tried getting him to go on gravel outdoors, since most dogs go on grass, so gravel was probably safe from contagious diseases. That didn't work.

Trial #4: Pebbles. We went to Home Depot and bought a bunch of pebbles to put on our balcony. That didn't work.

Trial #5: Waiting. The only thing that worked was to wait Loki out. I kept feeding him every meal and giving him water right on schedule. He actually ate most of the meals and took the water. After one evening of relaxed play with Yun and I, he was walking back to his pen, stopped, and then peed on our carpet. Well, I guess the play relaxed him enough! Our feelings were mixed - although we were upset about the mess, we were happier that he finally went. After a couple more accidents, he made it to the balcony and now pees on the paper. As for poop, he sure put up a long fight. He held in his poop for over 24 hours while still eating all his meals. Finally, after an enormous amount of stressing (probably on both of us), he went on the pebbles on the balcony! I was so happy that I excessively praised him as he did his business. I think he probably saw this less as praise and more of a victory dance on my part. He made a really funny noise at me (it kind of reminds me of a seal call), as if to say, "Shut up!"

Trial #6: Sod. Before he successfully went on the pebbles, Yun and bought some sod from Home Depot to see if that might work. So far, the sod has really puzzled Loki. He doesn't get why there is grass on the balcony.


So, now Loki has this beautiful toilet area on our balcony. It's only been a few days and housetraining on a balcony is far from perfect, but we've made huge improvements. He has now peed on paper and pooped on the pebbles. The sod still confuses him. And as I type this up right now, he's on another poop strike.

Here's a hypothesis of why the paper didn't work. When I initially thought of the exercise pen, I thought it would make a great place for him to hang out if both Yun and I needed to be gone all day. So in one corner I put his bed, in another corner his food, and in another corner a puppy pad for him to eliminate on. However, Yun thought that Loki ended up associating the paper as part of his den. Going with this hypothesis, we've now taken that away the puppy pad from his exercise pen. So if there are other potential Shiba owners trying to paper train, I recommend that you don't put anything paper-like in or near his den.


Melissa said...

Haha this post really made me laugh. Soo cute.

Xarien said...

I don't understand why there's sod on our balcany either!!

temporal said...

Damn. I'm in the same boat as you. Got my 8 week old Moshi 2 days ago and he didn't arrive housebroken! Peeing isn't much of a problem but poop... oh boy...

Will try turf (as we call sod) untill he's been vaccinated fully (2 weeks time).

John said...

Hi, we are also having trouble with our 8 week old Shiba. We live in an Apt in New York City, and can't take him out until he's vaccinated. What is happening is that when he has to go to the bathroom (and this is after he is holding is for a long time), he get's so frustrated/anxious that he runs around the apartment biting us! Finally after 10 minutes of this he'll finally just go on the floor.

Any tips on how to get him to use a pee pad, calmly?

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