Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dog Dilemma: Please Help!

So I actually stayed up pretty late last night until about 6 am because there were so many blogs I had to catch up on and because I just wasn't tired.  So when I went to go to sleep, my husband was trying to figure out if his job had closed because of the winter storm that passed last night.  We basically had snow and ice that froze overnight and made the roads slippery.  So all of the schools in the area were closed for the day and my husband got a text message from his boss saying that it would only be an hour delay for the event he still had to go to.  That kind of sucked because I had planned on sleeping in with him and making brunch but instead he still had to go to work.  So after he got up for work, I went to bed for the night or day I should say and the next thing, I remember was my husband calling me at 3:30 pm to ask me if I wanted any Krispy Kreme Donuts because he was there.  So in a fog, I told him what I wanted and then realized how long I had slept.  I really can't believe I slept that long.  I mean that's just ridiculous, even for me.  So I got up and decided to play with the dogs outside for a bit because there was some snow on the ground and they love the snow.  Now we've had our dogs, (Amanda, a German Shepherd, Pitbull mix and Jasmine, a Miniature Schnauzer, Australian Shepherd mix), for over 2 years now and to be honest, they have never been fully housebroken.  The reason for this is because we never got crates because at the time, it was suggested that we get 2 separate crates and that was going to cost a fortune along with all of the vet bills for each of them.  Also we were blessed to have a mud room attached to the back of the house that we have been using as a dog room.  Well after doing some research online, there were a few studies that said that you could use a small room like a crate and take them out when they have to go and train them that way.  Well that worked for a while until they started digging under the fence that we have in the back yard and escaping.  So what normally would be a bathroom break would turn into us chasing them down in the neighbors yard.  This has been going on for over a year. 

So we first thought it was because they weren't fixed yet so we got them fixed.  That worked for about a month then they became obsessed with getting out again.  Then we had these large rocks that we put under and around any holes they had dug, that worked for maybe a week until they starting digging new holes.  Then we starting just putting new stones around the new holes but it became apparent to us that having to do that everyday was too much.  I mean at that time, we were both working and I still had to take care of the rest of my animals so it just became a burden.  So finally I resorted to something that I absolutely hate, which was to put them on separate chains in the yard.  I feel like it's always been a stereotype for African Americans to have their dogs out on a chain all day and night.  And I hate that I had to resort to that method of keeping my dogs safe from cars, dog thieves, other viscous dogs, etc...  I feel horrible about having to use them.  So I have since tried other methods to prevent me from having to use the chains.  I started walking them everyday but the problem with that is that my larger dog, Amanda, pulls with all her might like she's mushing on a sled race and that has caused me physical injury before.  I'm not talking about a little soreness.  I'm talking about serious pain in my back, ankles, arms, etc... to the point where the next day, I can hardly move.  I have tried Caesar Millan's techniques but she just ignores me so I can't walk them again until I either am more physically fit or my husband helps me walk them.

So then I decided to try to plug the holes again and any places where I thought they could dig.  I did this because I'm no longer working and I had the time.  Well it got to the point where I would plug one hole up and then a minute later, they would dig another and once I got every square inch covered in big rocks, they started moving the rocks.  Amanda weighs over 100 lbs so she is capable of this.  So it got to the point where I couldn't do anything in the house like cleaning or eating for that matter because they literally were escaping every 10 minutes of the day.  And let me tell you, lifting 30 lbs rocks every 10 minutes wears you out.  So that idea was scratched and we went back to the chains.  So then one day I said, I'm going to try to train them somehow to be in the house because up until now based on the fact that they still have accidents in the dog room, I assumed that they would do the same in the house.  So at first I started to walk them again which led to injury but after I would walk them, I would let them come into the house for at least 30 minutes and then maybe let them back out.  So I figured that walking them for over an hour would quench their thirst for escaping but it didn't.  I could walk them for over an hour and as soon as I let them out, they would be trying to dig.  So now what I'm doing is letting them out in the yard in the morning and watching them, playing with them, feeding them and then once I see they've gone to the bathroom, I let them in the house.  But the problem still en lies when I have to let them back out to use the bathroom.  When I do that, I have about a 30 second window before they start to try to escape.  So for instance today was a successful day for the most part.  The first time I let them back out, they escaped and as usual they came to the front of the house after exploring the neighborhood and I let them back in.  The next 3 times I let them out, I only allowed 30 seconds before I called them back in but I could tell that they were trying to escape.  But the last time I let them out, they escaped again.  So you can see my dilemma in that if I do have them in the house, then at some point I have to let them out to pee but when I do, they escape.  If I keep them on the chains, then I feel horrible but they are safe and are using the bathroom outside.  Also keep in mind, they always sleep in the dog room at night because I would never have them outside the whole night.  But I feel like if I could get them house trained but get them away from escaping then it would be perfect.  They wouldn't be cold and everyone would be happier.

So we have looked into a few options regarding the fence. First we had a rep from the Invisible Fence Company, (the system where they have a collar that shocks them if they go close the fence, thereby preventing them from escaping), come out and give us a quote and that was going to cost us $1200 which I thought was ok until he told us that because we rent, we couldn't do the financing which means we'd have to come up with the $1200 right then.  So that was out.  Then I did some research and realized that building a real fence would be way more expensive, not to mention that I'm not adding property value to a house that I don't even own.  So that's why I'm looking into this at home training for them.  I just want them to have a cozy and fulfilled life as house dogs.  Oh and BTW, Greensboro is thinking about making it a law that you can't have your dog tied in the back with a chain, rope, zip line, etc.. ever, unless it's for a business or something.  So soon it may be illegal for me to have them back there.  I guess the city would rather see my dogs dead in the street or end up in the pound but hey it's not like they're going to give us the $1200 for the invisible fence.  Anyway if you have any suggestions for training or deterring them from escaping then please reply to this blog.

So back to the day,  my husband came home with the donuts and I decided that I was going to cook tonight and I made a new Linguine with Meat sauce recipe from  I wanted to try this recipe because it didn't look traditional and boring.  Just an example, there was chopped carrots and cream of mushroom in the sauce and it turned out really good along with the other ingredients.  I did have to add some tomato paste to make it thicker and some garlic powder, salt, and red pepper to give it a kick but it turned out great.  While we ate, we looked at the Celtics game against the Atlanta Hawks and we won increasing our winning streak to 12 games in a row! GO CELTICS!!! Then we kind of watched the nuggets and spurs game but fell asleep during that.

So that was my day, slept in way too late, dealt with my dogs escaping twice, and watched the Celtics game.  Thanks for listening and God Bless.


  1. Um, I'm sorry. You stopped me at Krispy Kreme. Why the hell doesn't my husband ever bring donuts home for ME?!?

  2. Hi...Thanks for joining my blog. Sounds like you need help with the dogs huh? Wow, that's too bad they aren't house broken yet. Escape artists aren't they? I used to call my collie Harry Houdini because we'd close up one hole and turn around and he was at the front door. They are smart!

  3. FreeFlying: We usually don't get donuts because they are the obvious worst thing you can eat but every now in then, maybe 3 times a year, we get them.

    Bouncin'Barb: Yeah it's been going on for over a year now but I think I'm making some progress with getting them housebroken. Thanks for reading.