by Lilian S. Barber

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This subject has been written about quite extensively, since it seems to be one of the major problems new owners encounter with Italian Greyhounds. It has been written about in other places on the Internet, in the IG Magazine, in all other dog magazines, in books, etc.,etc., etc. Here are just some random thoughts from someone who has had IGs in sometimes large numbers for many years:

1. Housetraining requires time, patience and consistency. Anyone not willing to offer these should not have a dog.

2. Housetraining is not a complicated procedure. It does require that a dog be confined when not being watched, along with the qualities mentioned in #1.

3. The fact that the most successfully housetrained IGs are those that have access to a dog door indicates that part of the problem other people have is because they expect their IG to only pee or poop when it's convenient for the humans. WE do not like situations in which we can't go to the bathroom when we feel the urge. Why do we expect our dogs to put up with this type of arrangement?

4. I know some people will have a different idea about this, but I have never had a problem training any of my dogs to go outside when someone is available to let them out and also using newspapers in the dog room at any other time. This includes hopping out of bed at night and trotting through the entire house to "go" on the papers and then coming back to bed.

5. Another point of contention --I do not believe in witholding water. How would YOU feel if someone arbitrarily decided that you couldn't have a snack or even a drink of anything after 7pm? Most dogs won't drink a great deal on a cool evening anyway, or even on a warm one if they haven't been running and playing a lot. So --a tongueful of water before bedtime isn't going to have them making an extra potty trip during the night. Dogs should ALWAYS have fresh water available to them --except in the rare instance that they are going to the vet for surgery the next morning.

6. IGs, in their little sighthound minds, cannot understand why it should be necessary for them to learn to ring a bell, grab their owner by the trouser leg, or make eye contact and bark repeatedly to let that owner know they have to potty. Most will do a simple "woof" or look a certain way or sit in front of the door for a few seconds. If the owner is too busy or too unfocused to notice the signal, there might be a small gift left in an unacceptable place. If you are one of those people who just doesn't notice the signals (put me into that category too), paper or litterbox train your IG so it can go when it has to go.

7. Regarding the old bugaboo about rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind and other unpleasant weather --I know it's possible to force your IG to go out into those conditions, but I would never expect mine to go out if I weren't willing to go out with them. I'm lucky to live in Southern California. My dogs do go out in rain or in any temperature we experience here; but if I lived in the frozen North I would not expect my IGs to go out during winter because I wouldn't be willing to stand there myself even if I had a polar fleece coat and boots on --and I don't have a tail and sensitive rose ears that would get very cold.

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