I think you all know how much I’ve struggled with house training my one-year-old Dachshund mix, Wally. He’s either the most stubborn dog this side of New York or not a very bright canine. I’d say maybe both.
My friend Patty adopted a Dachshund mix a day before I took home Wally last summer. Unlike me, she has a history with the breed and wanted a companion for her full-on Dachshund, Jimmy Dean.
Enter Ali. Hard as it is to believe, Ali is even cuter than Wally. But Patty’s pup has the same issues as Wally. Yippee!
I know that sounds callous and no doubt you’re shaking your head at me about now. But you know that old saying, misery loves company? Well, it’s true. When I heard I wasn’t the only one with a defiant Dachshund, it gave me hope, validating I’m not a completely worthless dog guardian. (Just a mostly worthless one.)
Then Patty told me something I wish I didn’t know…”Wally will be 2 before he figures it out. That’s how long it took Jimmy Dean and how long it will take Ali.”
Why didn’t someone tell me this before I fell in love with that adorable face at Berkeley Humane? Why didn’t Wally divulge some of his less-than-flattering personality traits when friend Susan and I first took him for a walk to decide if he was mine? I’ll tell you why.
Because I was supposed to adopt Wally, flaws and all. His previous owner said he returned him only because he gets car sick and couldn’t tolerate commuting to work with him. I’m not denying Wally drools incessantly during car rides and occasionally hurls in-route, but there’s more. So much more…
- Barks incessantly at anything that moves. Not a peep out of the guy during adoption.
- Pulls on the leash like the lead dog at the Iditarod, but walked nicely at the shelter.
- Eats so quickly he has a slow-feed dog bowl to keep him from inhaling his food.
- And don’t even get me started on the dog door. Okay, you got me started. Wally goes out the dog door, usually to play and on good days, to pee. He saves his poop for indoors. Go figure. This explains why Dauchshunds are known for 2 traits: stubbornness and notorious housebreaking difficulties. Welcome to my world.
Yep, that’s my boy. So whenever I’m gone, Wally is either crated or wears a belly band because although he has plenty of non-carpeted areas to soil, he ALWAYS chooses the carpet.
Sadly, Wally doesn’t seem embarrassed sporting a belly band. That’s okay; I’m embarrassed enough FOR him. Consequently, I ordered the best selling dog training manual, Secrets to Dog Training by Daniel Stevens. Yeah, Danny, let me in on your secrets.
So guess what? Last week we made progress. Wally used his dog door and did his business in the garden during pouring rain, no less. Without coaxing from me.
Why now? What changed?…Who cares? My boy is finally “getting it” a year ahead of schedule. Then I went upstairs and found a fresh turd in the hallway. And back to square one we go…
Now don’t get me wrong. I couldn’t love that little shit more, although he’s quite a challenge. But challenges are character-building and who couldn’t use more character? Besides, when he cuddles with me on my chair, flips onto his back, tilts his head and gives me that big-eyed sideways glance as if to say, who’s cuter than me? — I can’t think of a single soul.
Except maybe Ali.