I’ve never had to house-train a pet. Both of the dogs we had when I was a kid were kept outdoors, and my cats were strays, and they liked getting out of the house early and often. Rufus had a couple of accidents in his first week at home, but that’s pretty understandable.
Since we got him in March, I’ve been keeping him in his crate when I’m away at the office. I’ve felt bad about this, but was assured by a ton of people — including his vet — that it’s okay. Still, I figured that he’d be happier if he could meander around the house while I’m at work, instead of being curled up inside the crate, sleeping for hours on end, and then bursting with energy when I get home.
It’s true: I imagine that my dog actually does things when we’re not here. I mean, besides standing up on the loveseat to look out the living room window. I can just see him proudly trotting up and down the hall, selecting one toy, then another, before promenading over to our bedroom, where he promptly curls up and sleeps for hours on end.
As I mentioned in What It Is this week, I’ve been leaving him out of his crate for longer and longer stretches. I don’t let him go downstairs while we’re out, and he seems to have figured out from the first multi-hour session on his own that drinking a lot of water isn’t a smart move. I’ve tried to Rufus-proof the area, making sure there’s nothing edible around, and that our laptops are not in harm’s way.
Today, I took The Big Step and left him on his own for an entire workday.
I’m pleased to report that I came home to find no accidents, no shredded furniture, no commandeered laundry (the first time I left him alone for a few hours, in his second week with us, he tipped over our hamper and dragged our clothes over to his crate), no chewed electrical cords, no signs of pot-smoking, and one tail-wagging pooch!
I get to feel a tiny bit less angst when I go to work in the morning!