“Honey, did you clean the cat’s litterbox?”
“Did you clean the dog’s litterbox?”
“Did I clean the what ?”
Regular readers know the basics of puppy housetraining. I’ve preached the sermon before: Routine, Routine, Routine.
OK, let’s back up a step. Before you start the routine, before you even get your new puppy, you get yourself a copy of the ultimate training book, Good Owners, Great Dogs, by Brian Kilcommons.
But, what’s this about a “dog litterbox“? It’s something new from Purina called “secondnature” Dog Litter and Housetraining System.” Essentially it’s for people who, for whatever reason, want their new puppy to use the bathroom indoors in a controlled location. The basics are the same as usual. With conventional training you would set up a routine. The times that puppies need to use the bathroom are when waking, after eating, after chewing, and after vigorous play. You take your puppy to the same door each time, take him to the same spot in the yard each time, praise him when he urinates or defecates or both, then take him back inside. You try to make each of those events occur at the same time each and every day.
With the dog litter system you still establish and follow a routine. The only difference is that when it’s time for the baby to “go”, he goes to the litterbox instead of outdoors.
Who, you might ask, would want to use this system? It will be ideal for people with puppies and small dogs (to 35 pounds) who are gone for time periods longer than four hours, who travel often but want the dog to stay at home instead of boarding, and for people who live in areas of temperature and weather extremes for whom it is impractical for the pet to “go” outside. It may also be used as a dual system, with the pet eliminating outdoors sometimes and in the litterbox sometimes. Obviously, training will be more intense to accomplish this in order to avoid confusion.
You may choose to buy the litter, made from recycled paper and wood products, and litterbox separately, or you may choose to purchase the system, which includes a training guide for specifics on the praise-based training Purina endorses. secondnature is available from grocery stores, mass merchandisers and pet specialty stores.
For more information, call 1-800-787-5588 or visit www.doglitter.com.
On an related subject, some interesting findings in a Purina poll:
>29% of pet owners confine their dog to one room while they’re away.
>13% create the “den environment” similar to a wild dog’s den by crating, use of a carrier or pen while they’re away.
>10% train the pet to use papers to urinate and defecate on inside the house.
>9% hire a pet sitter or walker when they’re away.
>50% of pet owners schedule their lunch hour so that they can come home and spend it with the pet.
>23% have declined last-minute dates or social events because arrangements hadn’t been made for their dog. Of these, 28% were single, more than any other subgroup.
>14% have moved to a new location they considered more pet-friendly.
>7% drop of their pets to day-care.