White Dog supervised Steve this weekend as he connected plastic garden lattice with zip ties and pulled it into an oval to create a temporary potty enclosure for Tiny White Dog. The idea is to give her a place where she can go about business in privacy and without a leash without yet having access to the entire yard and its myriad of hiding spaces.
Bella is a former breeder mill "producer" who never was leashed trained and only since being rescued and fostered (for the past four months) has received any potty training. She is still struggling with her shyness, the newness of White Dog Ranch, and of having a true family. The first few tries at "business training" resulted in poor TWD sitting and shaking until she was brought back inside and allowed the solace of the open crate.
Today we tried a different tactic. About 90 minutes after breakfast Steve carried Oso out and placed him in the pen. Oso is calm, unflappable, and moves slowly. He also at 12 needs to sometimes be reminded to attend to elimination BEFORE the urge is upon him.
Steve then brought Bella out to join her brother. He talked gently and told them his plan and then left them unattended for 10 minutes. As we watched, out of sight, five of the minutes were spent with both White Dogs looking confused. Then Bella stood up and circled the fencing; she climbed onto the concrete block that acted as a gate stop. Then she daintily stepped down and pooped! And as we jumped up and down congratulating ourselves, Oso left his mark! Double success!
Things did not go so well before Steve went to school this afternoon, but when Michael tried in the early evening he reported at least the pups seemed comfortable together and that Oso had set a good--but unfollowed--example.
It is 90 minutes since dinner and we are following what we hope will develop into a routine. Paws and fingers crossed that despite the darkness and cold, Bella and Oso will do what is expected.
In the meantime we know it is a process and Tiny White Dog is dealing with so much newness. We are patient and we would NEVER get upset at inside-the-house mishaps. But constancy and routine seem like a good way to help Bella establish some order in her life.