Wednesday 15th July: Two new recruits

Today I make the dreaded trip to AFCD to get the new hairless pug, Fugu, an updated license and rabies shot.  Kathy from the office comes with me to hold Fugu while I go into the kennel block, and I come out with two new recruits.  Izzy is beautiful Hong Kong Collie that was surrendered to AFCD when her owners had a baby, and Parker is a typical black and tan “village dog” who has been waiting for too long.  Both are very sweet natured dogs, easy to handle and uncomplaining as most dogs are, even though they are confused and scared.  I can tell that Izzy is toilet trained when she has a very long pee as soon as we walk out of the gates.  Even at our own HKDR kennels, where there are dogs running all over the place, Izzy and Parker cope remarkably well.  Maybe the fact that they are both mature dogs (Izzy is 4 years old and Parker probably older) helps.

I left behind a very unhappy dalmation, desperate to get out, and I promise him that I’ll be back.  He’s overweight and wearing a collar, so he’s been a pet that has been dumped on the street for whatever reason.  If he was simply lost I’m sure the owner would have been to AFCD to collect him by now.

Imogen, the scared dog who befriended puppy Likki, recognizes me and wants to go out for a walk.  This is huge progress, and even though she’s a bit nervous when the buses roar by, she’s remarkably accepting of the leash.  There’s been such a dramatic change in her from the time she first arrived at AFCD and now, and I’m sure that it won’t be long before she’s happily running round with the other dogs.

Poor Fugu is a mess, but his pitiful condition works in his favour as he is offered a foster home while he recovers.  We’re all very happy to see him go as he really needs a comfortable environment and more attention and care that we can possibly give him. I’m sure he’ll find a good home before too long.

I bring the two last Lorry Pups back to Lamma to make some more space for Imogen and Likki.  As with all the pups I have had, they instantly know not to dirty the inside living area and to use the newspaper at the end of the balcony for their toilet needs.  I suppose it’s the furthest point from where their “nest” is and they instinctively move away from their home to pee and poo.  I think this natural behaviour is the way that in the wild the location of the den wouldn’t be so obvious, and given the freedom to do so the pups would probably move even further away.  I know that the puppies recently moved downstairs from the bedroom are already using the far end of the garden as their toilet, as all the other dogs do.

 Puppies that are given the opportunity to toilet train themselves naturally will do so, but most puppies that are living in a home don’t have the environment that enables them to do this and they quickly unlearn their instinctive behaviour.  I know from Minky and Sparkle, who will only use newspaper inside, that once a puppy has forgotten what nature intended, toilet training can be difficult.  Dogs that have been kept in cages or restricted areas since puppyhood and are forced to dirty their own small space, will continue to do so.even when they have the opportunity to relieve themselves elsewhere.  Luckily it’s possible to teach even an old dog new tricks, including toilet training, but it can be frustrating to start with. 

Many of the calls for help from new adopters are to do with toilet issues, when after hours of trudging the pavements the dog comes in and promptly pees or poos inside.  The only way to deal with this is through patience and repetition.  However hard it is not to react angrily, ignoring mistakes and praising successes is the best way to break bad habits.  Take the dog out frequently so that it almost inevitably has to relieve itself outside, heap praise on it when it does so,  then bring the dog back inside.  Most dogs should reasonably quickly make the connection between going out and what they’re expected to do, and if the short outings are frequent  the dog’s bladder should never be full enough for it to feel the need to pee inside.  There will be accidents, but in the big scheme of things a puddle of pee isn’t the end of the world, even though some dog owners seem to think so. As with everything in life, there are two extra senses that need to be added to the basic five: a sense of proportion and a sense of humour .

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3 Responses to “Wednesday 15th July: Two new recruits”

  1. Denvy Says:

    Yes indeed. A puddle of pee on the floor can be cleaned up so quickly. The next time an adopter complains, tell them my story – Milkshake peed on the sofa once too many times! The sofa!

    • Sally Says:

      I’ve been through many sofas – or should I say the puppies have – but which is worse, a pee on the sofa or a pee on the bed?

  2. Linda Says:

    Yes, I like your last sentence. A sense of proportion and a sense of humour. The world will be much better if more people have it.

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