After reading a few PETA articles about crate-training, I decided not to train Lafayette like I did previously with my other dog, Murphy the Pug. Sure, Murphy didn’t develop the significant behavioural problems you may come across in textbooks for canine neurosis, but its only that he hated his crate and his reluctance to welcome himself back into one after he’d grown out of his puppy phase made for traveling with him a complete nightmare. Even with a beautiful hand-crafted and spacious dog house gifted from my previous Father-in-Law, Murphy never learned to rest in his house comfortably. I explicitly followed all of the instructions for a successful crate-train in hopes that he’d learn enjoy his crate as his “special place” but maybe all those recommended hours of crating that little guy to help him wasn’t such a good idea for a Pug with a mind not suitable for crate training. Who knows? All-in-all he was successfully potty-trained and that was good enough for a couple living on carpeted floors.
After some debate, weighing in the pros and cons of crate-training, I’ve decided against it. Instead we will keep Lafayette in his Trolly (LINK) only when no one is home to supervise his every move or when needing to travel: visiting the Veterinarian, shopping, riding the metro, etc. Living without a dedicated crate means that we partition a small area at night next to our bed so that I’m able to hear when he wakes up and, believe me, we have every night! This means making sure we take him out every time he goes sniffing about after he’s finished playing, 1/2 hour after eating or drinking, or when waking up from a nap. So far, this little guys shouts out I-N-T-E-L-L-I-G-E-N-T! Admittedly, he’s had a few accidents on our hardwood floors but its expected as he’s a puppy whose only been with us for 11 days and sometimes we missed the obvious tell-tale signs of a dog getting ready to relieve themselves. Overall he’s a quite the fast learner and this makes us both happy to know we are providing adequate training.
Since I’ve been focusing on teaching Lafayette to “make” or “faire” on training pads on one corner of the terrace, I knew eventually he’d need to learn how to get himself to his spot when he didn’t relieve himself during our walks. Which by the way, he hasn’t mastered yet. There’s a lot of apprehension on his part and we’ve been taking it easy with him by gradually introducing him to the outdoors by upping the distance of our walks each time. When he doesn’t want to go any further, he starts crawling. It’s the cutest thing! He’s just a little guy whose getting used to the world around him.
Our terrace is situated about a foot above our living space ( who knows what reasons why these floors were designed the way they were) and he is unable to hop over the door rails until he reaches his full height. During most of the year, we’ve left our sliding glass doors open enough to allow fresh circulating air and this allows Lafaytte to easily let himself out if need be. In hopes he’ll be able to demonstrate free-will to let himself outdoors, he’ll need a step to help him for now.
What’s more creative and less inexpensive than buying a step for a pet you’ll probably be using temporarily anyways? YOUR OWN DIY STEP! Just google images for dog steps, however, you may find that you may want something more original than what’s displayed in the images. I wanted something really simple and easy to construct. Justin and I headed down to the Castorama and checked out some materials that could easily used to build a doggy step. Here’s what we found and how we did it…
We bought this 1″ thick piece of ply wood for just 3 euros and these 6″ table legs (usually used for propping up box springs for beds) for 12 euros. I was unable to find wood thick enough for the length of the table legs so we opted for plywood. Keep in mind that plywood isn’t as durable and much harder to paint than solid wood but I think that this material will serve its temporary purpose.
I made sure that the edges of the table leg would match up to the edge of the plywood by using two coloured pencils; one to mark the distance (a little over an inch) of where I planned to drill a hole and then using the marked pencil again to place at each corner to use as my guide.
First, I used a screw bit to drill a small home. This purpose was to gradual break through the plywood so not to crack to the delicate edges. I was told this step wasn’t necessary and allowed Justin to drill the remaining 3 holes using just he drill bit tool.
Using the drill bit make your hole almost until you’ve reached the other side of the plywood.
Since your working with plywood, screw in table leg slowly to prevent splitting. Slight splitting and/or cracking can be expected depending how close you are to the edges of your step stool. If I had a do-over I would have marked the drill space and inch or two deeper in from the corner which would still be close enough to prevent the step from toppling over.
I had to turn the table on its side to make sure the legs were rotating evenly. I have one leg turned in a bit and when its made its first setting, its done! If you try re-screwing it straight you can expect some cracking like we did. Oh well! Just a small cosmetic issue really…
Ready to paint! I used the left over paint from my last DIYproject I completed here. (LINK)
I set 3 even coats of white interior/exterior paint and set the plywood to dry overnight.
This simple and finished product is already by the sliding glass door and Lafayette is ready for training time! Who knows maybe later I might add some more material or add an embellished decor to his doggy step, but only if I’m feeling doggy step crafty again. Maybe a wood panel to glue around the edges??? HMMM then again, only if I decide to turn his step into a low side table when he no longer needs it.
Have a great day!