Louie and Kasper are five-month-old Yorkshire Terrier puppies – the cutest you can imagine. Their owners’ previous Yorkie had been quite a handful which they readily admit was due to overspoiling, and they are determined to get it right this time with their two little puppy brothers. They have made a very good start in quite difficult circumstances.
The lady owner is bed-ridden and although immobile she has her wits about her where the dogs are concerned! The gentleman has a lot to do without worrying about puppies as well, and I could tell from the the puppies’ behaviour that he has really been trying hard.
The current situation is that the puppies tend to fly all over the lady in her bed and she’s not strong enough to stop them. The puppies have the door to the garden open all the time and don’t seem to know the difference between toileting indoors and outdoors. They have not actually been taught. I have just been strongly reminded with my own three-month-old Labrador puppy Zara that it is hard work! But put in enough effort for a couple of weeks and the job is usually done.
Because she was toileting all over the place, I made a chart, entering every time Zara ‘went’ and where. It soon became apparent it was far more frequently than I had thought – about fifteen times a day for pees alone. The more free space a puppy has, the slower it seems to learn, so during this time while I was working at my computer I had a puppy pen around us so she couldn’t creep off quietly to toilet. Any time Zara had a mishap, it was my fault – not hers. As soon as she awoke she needed to be taken out. As soon as she broke off from playing or chewing and started to prowl around or sniff, I took her out. In the space of ten days she has stopped toileting indoors altogether. The breakthrough came the day she connected my command which is ‘Go Pee’ with actually peeing, leading to a reward.
When I am out Zara is always contained in her crate, and she has never toileted in there. She is also contained at night time. If caught young enough, dogs prefer to toilet away from their beds.
There are other minor issues that could develop as the Yorkie puppies get older, like potential trouble between them over food. Kasper is more nervous but more possessive and dominant – that’s him peering out from under the lady’s bed. Louie is more confident but is the barker. Already the owners have the situation well under control when the carers and nurse come, and they need to do the same when family and friends visit. It’s about leadership/dog ‘parenting’.
That will do for now. The gentleman has more than enough on his plate at the moment.