The Piddle Place – in All Its Glory
One of the best things about RV travel is that you can bring Fido along with you. Am I right, or am I right?
Maybe your Fido is better known as Brutus or GiGi or Spot or Sam. Mine goes by ZuZu, and she is the most adorable Puppy RV Venturer. I love her and I love traveling with her! By the look on her face and the wag in her tail, I’m fairly certain she loves RV venturing with us too.
(Just a quick word for background before we continue with this story: Bill is not a dog person. He did not want to get a dog. Not even a little bit. Weird, right?)
Okay, that said…
When Bill finally acquiesced to me adding an adorable puppy to our family, he still had one big issue and it had to do with RV’ing. The conversation went something like: “Here we have this 42’ motor coach so we no longer have to stop every ten minutes for you to use the bathroom, but now we’re going to have to stop for a dog?!?!”
Ever ready with a helpful retort, I told him not to worry. I would train our puppy-to-be to go indoors. No pit-stops for puppy to pee. Guaranteed.
He said, “You can do that?”
“Sure. Of course!” Big smile. Total lie.
In truth, I had no idea if I could do that. I hoped I could, but I am not really the most structured disciplinarian, and my dog training skills were (and sadly still are) non-existent.
I did what all self-respecting 40-somethings do when feeling dazed and confused; I googled. After researching the heck out of the indoor potty training, by the time little itty bitty ZuZu was ready to leave her doggy mama for her human mama, I could have written my own book on canine potty training.
And… as you might have guessed, all that wisdom flew right out the window when baby puppy girl came home with us.
ZuZu was eight weeks old when we brought her home. Our first RV trip with her was still two months away. Which meant I had 8 weeks to get her (and me!) trained.
Through my research, I came across The Piddle Place. There are similar items on the market, and of course there are the ever popular but in my opinion messy pee pads, but because The Piddle Place had such good reviews (and believe me, I read them all), I decided to hitch my puppy training wagon to it. Nearly three years later, I can tell you, it was a great choice!
Of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. ZuZu was not an easy study. At just 8 weeks old (and then 10 weeks, 12 weeks, etc. etc.), I could tell she was smart, but she had the puppy dickens in her. So, so naughty.
And, as for potty training, it was indeed a nightmare. Remember, we were indoor training her because my husband did not want to have to stop every few hours during our RV trips to let a dog, of all things, go potty. (He on the other hand can drive 12 hours straight without having to stop. I think it’s his military training, and I marvel at it.)
ZuZu was so stubborn. (But so cute!) She would pee time and time again everywhere but The Piddle Place. I did my best to be consistent, but I truly had my doubts (perhaps every new dog mommy does) if she would ever be potty trained.
(I also realize, any faults in her behavior, past or present, are mine, not hers. But I really do look at it now like I was the hippy parent who somehow ended up with an angel of a puppy dog.)
When the time came for our first RV trip, she was ready and performed very well. Were there “mistakes” occasionally? Sure. But that would most likely have happened regardless of being indoor or outdoor trained. And once she got through that less than reliable puppy stage, The Piddle Place has been awesome!
I do not use the chemical treatment that they suggest and sell. Instead, I use water and vinegar to spray the turf on a daily basis and also water and vinegar to treat the inside the holding tank. This works so much better to keep foul smells at bay. I also wash the turf in the laundry machine once every 4 or 5 days with a little bit of laundry detergent and bleach.
So whether rain or sleet or snow, ZuZu (and I) don’t have to trek out in any weather we don’t enjoy. It took awhile, but she now understands that she can also go potty in the great outdoors, and I think she enjoys, uh, contributing to the outdoor scents that only dogs can truly appreciate. But she is a faithful Piddle Place user. She has access to it all day and night right here in the comfort of our motor coach. She and I love it!
There is one problem. Alas, the Piddle Place is too large to fit in our camper van. So when ZuZu and I take our trips in the van, I really miss its convenience. I have been so spoiled by The Piddle Place over the last few years that to have to deal with rain-soaked and/or muddy paws is not my idea of fun. I am now on a quest to find a similar product with a smaller footprint. Wish me luck, and if you have any suggestions please let me know!
Happy travels to all of you and your canine companions! Woof!