Lead Balloon

The Potty Saga
October 3, 2006, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I didn’t give birth to my dog, although I love him like I did. Some people say that animals will take on the personalities of their owners, even start to look like them. I’ve found the former to be true with Jack. Sometimes he’s impatient, sometimes he seems a little OCD. He does the cutest things, like rip the eyes off of every “baby” we give him, then pull the stuffing out of their heads. It’s just how he likes them, with floppy heads and no pointless eyeballs. 

I’m digressing. What I sat down this morning to write about is something a little weirder – Jack has the same issues with going potty as I do. Well, not exactly the same. As we all know, I’m very selective about where I go to the bathroom. Yes, there are those issues I have with public restrooms, but now even in my own home, I prefer to go in the guest bathroom over the bathroom in our master bath.  The guest bath is just more “me”.

Back to Jack. Jack’s potty experience began before we adopted him, where he was living and going potty outside whenever he pleased, with a group of other dogs. When I first took him home, I had to house break him, and this took about six months longer than I thought it should have. I blamed it on the fact that I lived in an apartment where I had to take him for a very long walk before we ever reached grass. There was no ‘instant gratification’ for him – when he started sniffing around on the carpet, we immediately ran out the door and started the 8 mile hike down to the grass. Sometimes he made it, sometimes he didn’t.

The next apartment was better. Still upstairs, but there was a quick walk down to the two grassy areas where he could go. He preferred the one that didn’t have the “Pet Waste Station”, in other words he preferred the one where he wasn’t supposed to go. But we got on a schedule, a good one. Todd and I married and he moved in, and between the two of us we had Jack going potty like clockwork. Twice in the morning, twice in the evening.

When we moved into our home we were so excited about the fact that Jack had a yard to play and potty in – even though it’s about the size of a deck of cards, it’s a fenced yard, and it’s his. But Jack wasn’t so excited at first. We had to put him on a leash (just like at the apartment) in order for him to go potty. After a couple of weeks, he weaned himself from the leash and was pottying like mad out there, whenever he pleased, and was enjoying the friends he’d made on the other side of the fence (four horse-sized dogs) as well as some mice that took up residence in some vines that covered the back of our fence.

One note on the mice and the fence – the mice lured Jack into the back yard. He’d stay out there for hours if we let him. He could hear them rumbling through the vines and he’d run back and forth across the length of the fence, trying to catch them. One day a mighty wind blew part of the fence down, and a couple weeks later the entire fence, the vines and all of his little mice friends were removed. A new fence went up, and that pretty much brings us up to date in the Potty Saga.

Jack won’t go potty in the back yard. He goes out onto the patio, and will walk to the very edge of it and look into the yard, with a look of fear on his face.  Todd and/or I will walk into the yard and lure him out there, and sometimes (if a treat is involved!) he will go. If he hears the horse-dogs in the back rumbling, sometimes he will run straight into the yard to sniff them through the fence, and hike his leg and pee while he’s chatting with them. Sometimes, he’ll go #2 in the flower bed. Never in the yard.

This morning went like many mornings have over the past couple of weeks. With my morning coffee, I spent 20 minutes outside with him, with a treat in my hand, trying to lure him into the grass to go potty. Didn’t work. As we were leaving for work, Todd and I both went outside (treat in hand again!) to stand with him and annoyingly repeat, “Potty outside, Jack! Potty outside!” No such luck.  The minute we open the fence or the front door and let him into the front yard, he immediately runs out, hikes his leg and pees for about an hour and a half. Also some #2 action. Quick and easy.

I’ve mentioned before, we can’t allow him to go potty in the front yard for a few reasons.

1 – There’s no fence, he could run into the street and I can’t even finish the sentence with the words that explain what could happen to him

2 – It kills the grass

3 – Our property line is so close to our neighbor’s on that side that if he’s pottying in our front yard, it’s likely also in the neighbor’s front yard.

I should also mention that I felt a wet spot on the rug in my living room the other day – I’m afraid he might be relieving himself in some very inconspicuous spots inside the house.

So this is my plea for help. Those of you out there with dogs – has this ever happened to you? Are there any suggestions for what we can do to fix this situation, or are there any ideas out there as to why he might be refusing to go in the back yard?  So far, I’ve only come up with this:

– Something in the back yard scared him. Maybe he saw a snake. Maybe a bird swooped down and gave him a big peck on the head.

– He misses the mice – doesn’t like the back yard without them (replacing the mice is not an option). Maybe he thinks that if mommy and daddy can get rid of the mice, they can get rid of him. 

– The grass is greener and prettier in the front yard. Maybe he’s a grass elitist?

– We need to try putting him back on the leash to go potty

I’m open to any suggestions you have.


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

i just like the idea of your neighbors hearing you yell “potty outside jack!”

sorry, no advice. maybe therapy?

Comment by amber

Every day, I wonder if they’re saying to their spouses/significant others, “There’s that crazy lady, yelling at that dog. POTTY OUTSIDE, JACK, and PUT US OUT OF OUR MISERY!”

Last night we turned a corner. He willingly and enthusiastically pottied outside when I got home from work. Later, I was sitting in a chair on the patio and he came up to me and pottied on the leg of the chair. I’ll take it any way I can get it.

Comment by leadballoon

OMG….he’s neurotic! Maybe he feels very pressured to do his business…kind of like when you get the hiccups…and someone says, do it again, and you can’t…who knows…but i think you’re concentrating and spending too much time on this…just sit outside w/ him in the backyard, and be quiet and let him roam as much as he can….don’t deman a peeeee…he’s got to sense your nervousness and hollering at him to do so!
(I still can’t believe you write about bathroom duties on this site so much!)

Comment by Mutha Deah

Mom – I write about pottying! It’s not the end of the world, and I will confess it if it makes you feel better.

I don’t pressure him. I sit out there and do my Sudoku. But when he won’t leave the patio, it’s a problem. You have to push.

Comment by leadballoon

get a shock-collar. shock-the-sh#t-out-of-him (literally) — ; )

Comment by Sam


Comment by Sam

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