February 9, 2014
Outdoor toilet for doggies in the winter. Brrrr. Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman
The Most Valuable Thing
You want to know what is the most valuable thing in the world to a Shih Tzu parent? You’re probably going to say a good vet, or a good dog walker, or a good groomer (that’s second most valuable). But the most valuable thing in the world is…pee pads. Whoever invented these should receive a knighthood at the very least. Let me explain.
When Ling Ling was a wee puppy, just a few weeks old, we lived in a condominium, no back yard, but with a totally fenced and completely cement-block-surfaced front terrace. We didn’t want to be cleaning up wee poops and pees in the house, but it was hard to force the poor little dog outside in the tempestuous weather we were having at the time.
So Ernest and I bought pee pads.
Training, the Easy Way
It was amazingly easy to train Ling Ling to the pee pad. Once she saw it, and once we put her on it a few times after she peed somewhere else, she caught on quickly. From then on she was totally trained to a pee pad. This made it absolutely a breeze to take her traveling with us. As a matter of fact, we cleared a space in our van in the back to put her bed and toys; we also placed a pee pad at the edge of the space. She used it as necessary, and we never had to worry about stopping to let her out for potty breaks.
I do believe that we might have the only dog in existence who will play outside in the grass, then run into the garage to use the pee pad and rush outside again to continue playing. We aren’t messing with that habit either.
Nearly two years later when Oreo joined us, Ling Ling was the one to train him to use the pee pad, which by now was kept in our garage. Ernest put a doggie door from the back foyer into the attached garage and then another one from the back of the garage to the back yard. Thus, it was easy for the dogs to get into the garage whenever they wanted.
“At least I’ll look nice when I’m freezing my butt off going potty.” Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman
Oreo wasn’t quite as devoted to pee pads as Ling Ling. He preferred to use the great outdoors. But in 30 below weather he was quite happy to use them.
Sometime later, we rescued Tilly Tot. She is an older dog and thoroughly house trained. We didn’t want to break her of the habit of going outside because we thought it would confuse her. However, I have a hunch, which I can’t prove yet, that she has used the pee pad on really cold days. We’ll have to see. On days like pictured above, I can just imagine her saying, “You want me to go WHERE to pee?”
Unexpected Christmas Presents
There are some drawbacks to this wonderful practice, though. It was shortly after we moved to our present home in Esterhazy. It was Ling Ling’s first Christmas, and she was thrilled with all the decorations and the mysterious excitement circulating through the house. We finally put the tree up and stood back to admire it. Then Ernest reached in and laid the beautiful white cloth decorated with shining stars around the base of the tree. Of course, we had no presents wrapped yet to go under the tree, but we were satisfied with our job and went to bed.
“I am sooo embarrassed!” Photo credit: Laurie Hamilton
The next morning, I heard peals of male laughter from the living room. I jumped out of bed and ran down the hall to where I heard the hilarity. Ernest stood there, still laughing, and pointed to the base cloth under the Christmas tree. Deposited on it with careful precision were two round pee spots and one largish clump of Shih Tzu poo. I joined in the laughter. Ling Ling had mistaken the cloth in all its white glory for a pee pad.
We disposed of the Christmas tree-skirt-turned-pee-pad and purchased another one that day. This cloth was a startlingly bright red, with flashy green mitts and sprightly-looking, brown squirrels appliquéd onto it. We judged it right, and that tree skirt has survived, unsullied, every Christmas ever since.
Note1: One little addendum that will make a big difference to this story. Shih Tzus stay relatively small (between approx. 9 to 16 lbs.) and can keep on using puppy pee pads after reaching full maturity. Don’t try this with Great Danes!
How about your puppy? Did (or do) you have issues with keeping your home unsullied?
We’d love to hear any funny stories you have about you, your pet(s) and potty training.
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(Next week watch for “Praise for Shelter Pets”)
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Sandra Bell Kirchman
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