This is Ribbons, our second Boston terrier. When we brought her home on a Wednesday morning, I took her out to the yard to show her where to do her business. For the first few days, she did nothing. And I do mean nothing. She held it until Thursday afternoon when we went out to lunch, leaving her home alone. I should have known better.
We came back to find a puddle and a pile on the carpet. I was disappointed, but I didn’t have the heart to punish her. She was in a new place, far away from the fenced yard she had been trained to use.
I kept on taking her out several times a day, and she kept holding it. By Saturday morning, I was worried. How could a dog hold it that long and still keep eating and drinking?
Forget the Leash Law
Saturday morning, I walked her to a grassy area at the edge of our mobile home community and took her off the leash for the first time. She immediately ran a short distance and peed. “Good girl!” I told her. And then she finished her business and ran back to me. I praised her again, relieved as much as she was.
Had she been trained not to do her business while on the leash?
For two weeks, I took her off the leash both in the grassy area and in our own yard. Whenever she did something in our yard, I gave her a treat. Finally, she was using our yard all the time.
Just Let Me Know
I started telling her to let me know when she needed to go out. Every day, I told her. And then one day, as I sat on the sofa, Ribbons came and sat down facing me. There was this look in her eyes that clearly said, “I need to go out now.” So I went to the door and took her out.
From then on, she told me just this way. I really do believe dogs understand us better than we understand them.