So the other day, I stupidly stepped on what the dog avoided because she was sniffing and looking at where she was going.
When we were first introduced to Donna, we were told that she was toilet trained. Really? She certainly had a good time on the kitchen rug rather than the newspapers in the toilet. We slowly worked on getting her on the newspapers and for a while, we thought she got it until she went back to the kitchen rug again. It was a minor episode, a small blip in middle of the regular blops when she did use the newspaper. But perhaps because she largely did it outside, the newspaper training was maybe not as reinforced as we would like it to be. Result? There is always a potential of an accident somewhere else in the house.
So rather than solely rely on our, erm, not so perfect training the humans decided they needed to train themselves to (1) stop having rugs and (2) get use to the inconvenience of the child gate blocking entry to the kitchen. Ah yes, a sad day for human autonomy. The dog trained us instead :P
Picture above: One of Donna’s favourite things to do at home is to flop in front of the child-gate in hopes of a treat or two from the kitchen.
When is Donna likely to do it inside? Well, there was a bit of the time when she was still adjusting to living inside a house where people come and make noise outside the door and ring the doorbell. She would rush to the door and then rush to the toilet to pee on the newspapers in excitement. Thankfully, people coming to the door is a phenomenon that is growing passe by the second. She doesn’t get so excited that she needed to pee anymore.
But close to dawn this morning there was a pretty big thunder storm and I predicted to Mr P that he would find pee and poop when he went out to check on her. Surprisingly, the newspapers were clean. She didn’t do it?
Pictured above left: Donna’s private toilet, including her personal shower cubicle complete with bath stuff.
Pictured above right: The scene of the crime!! Now cleaned up.
She did, but by the front door of the house. On the floor where her water bowl usually sits on a rug, was now a few tiny islands of shit on a lake of yellow pee. :( Somehow she had managed to push the water bowl and the cheap rug to the side but the rug that had survived all the other rugs we got rid of, finally succumbed to the deluge. My best guess is that by instinct the dog went to pee and poop there because of the presence of the rug when it got too excited, perhaps because it was closer in proximity to her bed than the newspapers in the toilet. I also wonder if perhaps the thunderstorm made the toilet drafty and the newspapers flap around so that she was hesitant to go on the newspapers. I have no real way of verifying though.
Picture: Donna fidgeting joyfully in front of the rug before it met its accidental demise.
I think I’ve grumbled on this blog more than once that clean up is a pain. It is also something that I’ve a lot of practice and try to do it robotic-ally now. Dump the crap in a plastic bag, soak the pee with kitchen towel, wipe dry and spray the area liberally with a solution of white vinegar. Wait. Wipe dry. I look at the yellow stains in the grout and hope that there is not too much work ahead still.
But hey, instead of reinforcing that negative attitude, it occurred to me that it was lucky we kept all the room doors closed. It would have been worse had Donna taken it into her head to go into one of the rooms and eliminated on the useless omg-you-can’t-get-it-wet-or-it-will-pop laminate wood flooring that the flat came with.
As for Donna, she was the usual carefree, omg-I-am-so-happy-to-see-you dog until we discovered her treasure by the front door. Then she went into her guilty and deferential pose. Not that we would do anything to her. I had read before that dogs can’t connect punishment to their misdeed if it was after the fact. But there was a point in time where we were both very sick and the dog kept peeing where she should not and one just couldn’t help feeling very helpless and upset that I blew a fuse and screamed at her. She went into the down position, tummy flat on the floor, looking away from me and went very still for a really long time. And no, the undesired peeing behaviour did not go away. So what I ended up with was one very scared dog who continued doing things that made me mad after the scolding. It had the potential to downward spiral into a negative cycle which wasn’t going to do anyone any good.
So after that experience which showed that Donna was voice-sensitive, I never screamed at her again. I do ignore her, more to keep my own emotions in check so that we can maintain a relative calm in the house. Not all dogs react the same to raised voices, it was interesting for me to learn that from the crazydoglady that Willy talks back when they raise their voice at him.
Have you ever raise your voice at your dog? And how did it respond?
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