Yesterday I went over some of the challenges of potty training a puppy as a blind person. As I said in that post, potty training is probably the greatest challenge with regards to raising a puppy when you are totally blind. However, I do have to say that Hermione has blown all of my expectations out of the water and I am so proud of her.
*Knocks on wood*.
It's been just over 24 hours since we have started training Hermione to relieve outdoors instead of on puppy pads. We had to wait a week after her second set of shots before she was safe to be out on the ground where other dogs may have done their business. Otherwise, I think I would have skipped the pads and started teaching her to go outside right away.
Since yesterday morning we have only had two accidents and both of them were pee. To be honest, I am very happy with those results as I'd rather she pee in the house than poop. I think there are a few things that have made it possible for Hermione to be successful.
First of all, I started using the clicker with her. As soon as she's done I click and then give her a kibble for a job well done. Originally, I was clicking as soon as she squatted to mark the behavior I wanted, but she would get so excited that she'd stop going. The click as she comes out of her squat seems to be working just fine. Yesterday there were several times where I took her outside and all she would do is eat rocks, people watch or sit on my foot. Both times we've been out today she's gone pretty much instantly or at least started looking for her spot. I noticed the change as soon as I introduced the clicker yesterday evening.
The second thing that has helped is that I've kept her on a pretty consistent schedule. Approximately every two to three hours, she is going out, whether she thinks she needs to go or not. It should be every two, but if she is napping, I do not wake her up, but rather wait until she wakes up on her own. Then, it's instantly outside because that is usually when she has to pee; that is what she seems to have a harder time holding. I read somewhere that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels do not have full bladder control until sixteen weeks. This may be true for all breeds. With that in mind, I think she's doing really well.
The third thing I've been doing is keeping her on leash in the flat if she does not relieve when she is taken out. This way, I can keep tabs on her activities and know whether she is looking or not. That said, I did miss one of her pees last night as I was putting my shoes on to take her out. She was on her leash, but I had it trapped under my running shoe while I put the other shoe on and didn't notice her squat and go. I had woke her up to go out and I think she was groggy and just had to go so badly that she just went. Otherwise, the leash is a good method for me. As I mentioned yesterday, a crate can serve the same purpose, but as we do not have one, I have resorted to the leash.
Having Hermione relieve in the same area as Glacier and Roscoe seems to make a difference as well. She seemed more apt to go if I took her out just after the boys. I thought that perhaps the scent would be a marker for her, but it wasn't confirmed until she went out a few times after the boys. Thank you Glacier and Roscoe for being good role models.
I also think she's getting the concept because I sat outside with all three dogs yesterday afternoon, enjoying the sunshine and brushing the boys. That hour outside gave her time to explore the world around her and when she relieved herself, I praised her. I think that experience showed her that she can go whenever she wants when outside, but that doing that indoors is not acceptable.
With that progress report, I will leave the topic of poop alone, for now. It just seems to be something that you cannot escape when you have a baby in the house; furry or not. Now that I've tooted Hermione's horn, let's hope I haven't jinxed it. :)