How do you know when your puppy is house trained? Chief hasn't had an accident in the house for days, maybe even a week. But can I trust that? (now that I've said it out loud, I know tomorrow will be all about cleaning up messes...)
The last puppy we had, Floyd, just died in the fall at 14 years old. He was easy to train because we had another dog who showed him the ropes. I don't remember that he had accidents. But maybe that's selective memory on my part. I do, clearly recall that when he was about 6 years old, he lifted his leg on the coffee table one morning. I prefer to think that it was because that coffee table had seen better days and really needed to be removed from our house. Did my dog have the fashion sense that I lack?
I now leave the dogs alone in the house, with access to the backyard when I'm gone for an hour or two. And I don't crate either of them. So far so good - no accidents, nothing chewed to bits. But I'm sure it's just a matter of time. Chief is only 14 or 15 weeks old.
I took them both to the dog park today. We've been avoiding it lately because Charlie got scared by some dog. So whenever we'd go, Charlie would trot out of the dog park area and into the kids' playground. That wasn't too popular. But today, we went later, when there were only 2 or 3 dogs there. Charlie did fine, chasing his ball, lounging in the grass, rolling in the deer scents. Chief played with a Lab/Ridgeback mix. The best thing was that a Bloodhound reminded Chief how to respect his elders. Chief initially ran up to him, jumped on him, but backed down when he heard the warning growl. After that, Chief approached with a submissive posture and didn't get in her face. That's what he needs. Chief is dominant and Charlie lets him get his way. My challenge continues to be trying to find a balance between nature (one dog is dominant) and my idea of fairness (shouldn't the older dog set the rules?).
The greatest help I have is training classes. Unleashed! is awesome. Chief and I have been going to puppy play classes (with some training thrown in...) and Charlie and I have been going to Levels classes. I know, it's sort of dog-training-intensive, but maybe I'll get it right this time.
My next goal: post some photos of my dogs when they're not sleeping! It must seem like they're always at rest. Truly, this is the exception - but it's the only time I can capture them.