Monday, December 16, 2013

Adventures of Gracy : Housebreaking and Socialization

Foster Girl Gracy in the dog basket.

I am happy to report that Foster Girl Gracy is making great progress! We are very proud of her here at the Dog Training/Foster Shack!

When she first joined our pack, she was not housebroken and needed some work on socialization. As you may remember, Gracy is about 6 months old. She was very sick during the first few months of her life and had to remain in her crate most of the time. As a result, she was never really socialized much and she was not housebroken.


She is a very sweet girl. She loves people. However, she gets stressed when there are too many people or other dogs around. This became apparent when we first started taking her to adoption events at Petco in Peachtree City,GA. The first day we took her to an indoor adoption event, she immediately became overwhelmed and extremely stressed. I had to take her back to the shack after about 10 minutes.
Gracy enjoying the backyard sunshine
 at the Dog Training/Foster Shack

At the adoption event the next weekend, I kept her in a crate right next to a chair in which I was seated. She was still nervous and a little stressed but she did better. I would occasionally let her our of the cage to sit on my lap. The other volunteers also gave her some attention. This seemed to make her more comfortable.

Last weekend at the adoption event we put her in a small pen that was open on the top. She did much better. 

During those three weeks, between adoption events, I was really trying to make her more comfortable around people. She went over to her foster grandma and grandpa's house several times. Each time she became more comfortable over there. She loved the attention and the treats! I also worked with her around other dogs by taking some of the other pack members on walks to grandma and grandpa's house with her. 

She has made a great deal of progress over the last few weeks. However, as with many things in dog training, it takes patience and routine. We have to slowly introduce her to more people and dogs and make it a very positive experience for her.


With Gracy, we had a fairly unique but not unheard of issue. Because of the extended time she had to spend in the crate when she was sick, she learned to eliminate in the crate. When she first arrived at the shack, the crate was the only place that she would eliminate. That made for some very nasty clean-ups.

We began watching for signs that she needed to eliminate (i.e circling a spot, stress, etc). When we saw these signs we immediately took her outside. We also took her outside immediately when she had accidents in the house. We stopped keeping her in the crate at night and when we were away. We just left the door open on the crate. We also kept her where we could see her when we were home.
Dr. Phil McBeagle. He has no direct connection to this post
He is just a cute little foster guy in our pack. He will
be available for adoption very soon!

I noted how long it usually takes for her to eliminate after eating  (it was about 5 mins) and I began taking her out 5 minutes after meals.  We also took her out about once an hour when we were home and she was awake.

She still could not make it through the night without accidents. So, we set an alarm for 3:00 am and one of us would wake her up and take her out at 3:00. Most of the time she eliminated outside at 3:00 am. 

Eventually we noticed that she could make it through the night. 

I am pleased to announce that she rarely has accidents inside anymore! We are very proud of our little foster girl. 

Her housebreaking was difficult but, because we were diligent and developed a routine for her, the effort has been very successful!

I am writing this not to blow my own horn but to encourage my readers. If you have a dog with housebreaking or socialization problems, the situation is far from hopeless. I know that it is extremely frustrating but, you can be successful! It takes proper technique, determination and routine.
The Lovely Shane dressed for Christmas working on master
degree classes from the office at the Dog Training Shack

If you need help with the technique please contact me at anytime, I will be happy to help! As I always tell you, "Polite Dogs = Happy People". Let me help you get happy today!

Gracy is available for adoption. If you are considering adding a new addition to your pack, please, please, please, consider adoption! There are many little guys and girls like Gracy who desperately need and want a forever home. If you are in the Atlanta Area please contact me and I will be happy to get you in touch with a wonderful local rescue group!

Till Next Time


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