A close up of a Dakota 283 kennel door.
Dog Training

The Pee Machine

A different take on why you should crate train your dog, to the tune of a cautionary tale

We deliberately chose the color, fiber, and pile of the living room carpet for its low maintenance. Its color — “desert prestige” if I recall correctly — was supposed to hide a moderate amount of dirt and debris between vacuuming and deeper cleaning. 

It was made of polypropylene, which is common in commercial carpets so it was supposed to hold up well to high foot traffic.  And boy did we have foot traffic. In addition to four adult feet, we had eight miniature dachshund feet belonging to Gidget and Velzy.

Gidget was the sweetest, quietest, friendliest, most well-behaved miniature dachshund that probably ever existed. She was such a great dog that we made the fateful error of getting a second dog of the same breed, expecting to have the same blessed experience. It was only logical, right? 

Wrong. 

Velzy was the yin to Gidget’s yang.  He more than made up for Gidget’s quiet demeanor with a constant stream of barking. The refrigerator compressor kicked on? Must be an intruder. So Velzy would bark for a solid 10 minutes. A distant neighbor started his lawnmower on a peaceful Saturday morning? Must be a burglar. So Velzy would bark for 15 minutes. 

You get the idea. 

But it wasn’t just the barking. It was the bladder control. I honestly don’t remember Gidget ever having an accident from the moment we brought her home as an 8-week-old puppy.  But Velzy… the doorbell would ring and he’d piddle. I’d push my chair back from the table and he’d piddle.  Again, you get the idea. We should have bought stock in whatever company makes Nature’s Miracle.

But it wasn’t just the piddling. When anyone would come through the front door, he’d run up to them —barking like mad —and just as he would reach them, he’d roll over onto his back and start peeing. We’re talking “anti-aircraft fire” here. It’s a wonder people would ever come to our house more than once.  But I’m getting distracted from the point of this articl, which makes sense because even though Velzy has been gone 12 years now, he’s still distracting me from whatever it was I was supposed to be doing. 

Ah, our carpet…

Well, true to the advertisement, the carpet did hold up well to the traffic and it did a fine job with disguising dirt but it was no match for Velzy’s incontinence. We found that out the day that we decided to upgrade our living room carpet to hardwood floors. It was a section of carpet roughly 12 feet by 20 feet. Being too cheap to hire someone to tear the old carpet out, we took on the job ourselves. Beginning at one edge of the room, we pulled it free from the tack strip and began to roll…

I fear that you might accuse me of exaggeration about this next part, but this is God’s honest truth.  

What the top of the carpet did an admirable job of hiding was fully revealed on the underside as we rolled.  Ring after ring after ring of dried urine. Rings like you’d see if you put a glass of ice water on a table for a few minutes. Sure, we dutifully soaked every piddle with Nature’s Miracle and I will swear to you that there were no traces of accidents on the top of the carpet. But the underside was a completely different story. If I had to put a number on it, I would say that roughly 80 percent of that carpet had been piddled on by Velzy. And I’m no mathematician, but if you calculate the square footage of that living room and divide it by the fluid ounces contained in the bladder of a miniature dachshund and take the square root of…well, the point is that it was a lot of pee from a very little dog.  And as I finished rolling that piece of carpet to the other side of the room I thought to myself (God as my witness), “We shoulda crate-trained Velzy.”

So, this is not a “how to crate train” article. There are plenty of those. This is a cautionary tale.  

For the love of the carpet in your home. For the love of your houseguests, burglars included. For the love of your bank account savings from not having to buy industrial-sized quantities of Nature’s Miracle. Crate train your dog.  And if you’re wondering what might be the best crate to use for your training … 

Dakota 283 sells them. 

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