Ask any dog advocate, vet or shelter volunteer about the benefits of adopting an adult dog and they will make sure to provide you with an extensive list of reasons about how much good you'd be doing. Saving a dog from a life abuse. Helping a family in need who can no longer take care of their best friend. Rescuing an animal from imminent euthanasia.
Another benefit of adopting an adult dog is that, if he/she came from a good home or was raised somewhat correctly, he/she should be completely potty trained. When I adopted Woody, I was told his bladder was under control.
False. So false.
Woody is potty-trained in the sense that he knows to let me know if he needs to go out, and he would never have an accident when I am home. What took me an inexcusable amount of time to realize is that Woody is a dog that needs to have his bladder and bowels on a strict routine or else I am in for a giant mess. Not to make excuses, but when I was in grad school, my schedule was so topsy-turvy that I had a really difficult time getting into any routine. Now that I work full time and live two blocks from my office, this whole routine thing is a piece of cake, most of the time.
If a pillow happens to fall off my bed, or I leave anything- seriously, anything- lying on the bedroom floor (he stays in the bedroom with a gate up while I am gone), Woody will mark it. Doesn't matter if he just went out and I was only gone for thirty minutes. It becomes his territory. So, I now try to do my best and make sure nothing is a target.
The last few weeks, however, have been terrible for Woody's so-far, so-good streak of fewer marking incidents and accidents since we entered the full-fledged adult world. His favorite targets are the corners of my mattress and my closet door. I have three theories, two of which seem to be plausible from Dr. Feltes, my vet at The Behavior Clinic.
My third theory, and also the theory that I don't think Dr. Feltes agreed with, is that Woody is getting cabin fever. Woody does not like cold weather, and as a dog who could walk for miles in the summer, this does not bode well. We get two blocks and he sits down and looks at me like "are you seriously making me walk in this?" It's supposed to be warm in Cleveland this weekend (45 degrees!), so I hope to put on his little vest and head out on one of our favorite downtown routes. In the meantime, I've deep cleaned my carpets and set up a perpetual force field of potty pads that he's clearly thrilled about.
I'm just a twenty-something female raising the weirdest dog I've ever met.