What Do You Mean My Bathroom Is Outside?

This is the messy saga of an uh-oh during the house training of Miss Sweetie.

Miss Sweetie is the other of Wiggles’ puppies that is with us and, as her name indicates, she is sweet. She is not as sharp a tack as her brother, Doodlebug, but that’s all right. She had no plans to go to Harvard anyway.

Unfortunately, she used her brain power to associate her crate with her bathroom. We tried all the suggested techniques for breaking this habit to no avail. We couldn’t figure out her schedule and she wasn’t giving us any clues.

We would spend up to half an hour outside, waiting for her to do her “business” while everyone else was doing theirs, and nothing. We would put her in her crate and, within five minutes, BINGO! She was probably wondering why we kept her outside when all she wanted to do was go into her crate to pee and poop.

About 25% of dogs surrendered to shelters are given up due to house training issues. That was not going to happen to Miss Sweetie. We are the humans. All we needed to do was pump up our brain power and walk in patience. Patience. It sounds so easy.

We reassessed our clumsy efforts by focusing on making sure the crate did not smell like a bathroom to her. It smelled fine to us, but she has a much better nose. Figuring out her body schedule, especially in the mornings, was the next challenge. After weeks of failure, BINGO! The good kind.

I took her outside earlier and by herself. That was a key. When she joined the others in the yard, she got distracted by all the play and never got down to business. When she was the only dog in the yard, she focused. She walked around, she sniffed, and BINGO!

With every success, we poured on immediate praise and watched for the brain change that would let us know that she no longer considered her crate her bathroom.

One day when she and Doodlebug were out together, Doodlebug obliged us with a potty visit of his own. We showered him with praise. Miss Sweetie walked up to us and stared. “Where are my head pets? Why aren’t you loving on me?” It was difficult to ignore her, but it was harder to walk in on her using her crate as a potty.

She looked at her brother for a second, walked over to where he had just peed, sniffed diligently, moved over three more feet, and right before our wondering eyes, she squatted and peed. BINGO! The brain/body connection was made. We instantly lavished her with praise. Miss Sweetie had just graduated to the next level of bathroom hygiene.

Her house training has been frustrating and long. But it wasn’t her fault; we had fouled up somewhere along the line. Yelling wouldn’t help it. I wouldn’t want someone yelling at me about that sort of thing.

It came down to consistency and patience – ours.

“…let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”                       James 1:4 KJV

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Don’t Be A Mule

I wish that I had a decent picture of Doodlebug, the Olde English Bulldogge 7-month old puppy, but he won’t sit or stand still long enough for an amateur like me to snap one. The photo above is pretty much what he looks like all the time – a shiny, black, four-legged smear in the lens, in perpetual motion.

Wiggles’ son, Doodlebug, plows through the world with no sense of caution. He is a sixty-four pound dynamo. Nothing stands in his way. Well, not much. I try and sometimes I succeed – sort of. He still can’t bust through solid walls. Thankfully, he is smart enough not to try.

In fact, he is one very smart dog. My son was cleaning his crate and he put a lead on Doodlebug to limit his interference with the chore. My son tied the lead to another crate with a simple knot and went on with his cleaning. When he turned around, Doodlebug was working the knot loose with his teeth. In less than a minute, the puppy had untied himself.

Doodlebug is also one of two dogs with us able to open an unlocked door by pulling down on a door handle. His mom, Wiggles, is the other one.

Smart? Yes!

Handsome? Yes!

Bulldoggy in the extreme? Yes, bulldoggy as all get-out!

A simple trip to the backyard turns into a wrestling match as Doodlebug simply must smell everything on the way to the door AND he must turn aside to see everything along the path. Our philosophy with the dogs is that outdoor bathroom business comes first; all else can wait until the return trip. Doodlebug disagrees.

I don’t know how much force a 64 pound bulldog pulling with all of his might exerts. I’m not that good at math. I only know that since I started walking Doodlebug on a lead, I no longer need free weights to work out my arms.

Doodlebug is the bulldoggiest bulldog I have yet seen.  His motto is “MY WAY, PERIOD. ANY QUESTIONS? WHO CARES?”

And there before me is yet another living example of how we must seem to God when we are insisting on our own way. When I see it in front of my own eyes, it helps me see it in myself.

Persistence is good. Perseverance is fine. Endurance is strength.

But pure old bullheaded mulishness for the sake of being like a mule? There are far better things on which I can spend my muscle power than pulling against God.

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” Psalm 32:8-9 KJV

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.