Saturday, December 31, 2011

SALLY - THE BORN-AGAIN DOG

Evidently the angels came and visited my dog last night while I slept.
She apparently repented of her past transgressions and was born again.

I say this because she was a nearly model puppy this morning at breakfast and on her walk.
Virtually no biting, no romping around the house, she ate her food, played with her toys in the back room, did her biological business in the yard every time I took her out, rode in the car with little distress, walked near me in the park (mostly) for half an hour.

This is in contrast to yesterday when she was a complete mess.
Although she did not transgress the Tradition of the Elders in the house, she did nearly everything else on the "disapproved" list.
Which includes - just so you will have an idea of what-all she does - chewing on the wooden rungs of my dining room chairs,
chewing on the leather cushions of my couch,
chewing on my oak coffee table,
chewing on the legs of my wooden TV tray,
chewing on the shoes on my feet,
chewing on my pants cuffs,
chewing on the loop-pile carpet,
and, chewing on my hands.

It seems that every other word out of my mouth with her is "no".
And, as I have noted before, she understands to some extent that she is not supposed to chew on this stuff.
She cannot help herself.
When I scold her, she gets frustrated and lays her chin on the floor and bites the air.

That was yesterday.
Today I had a new dog.
She was happy to see me this morning, as usual.
And she did some of her little jumping, spinning, happy dance that she usually does.
(thankfully, Sally does not jump up on me, she jumps straight up in the air)
Her nibbles on my hands were very gentle and she did a lot of sitting and watching me today during breakfast prep time.
When I sat down to eat my breakfast of oatmeal and eggs and milk (three of her favorite foods, it appears) she came over to my chair and nudged my leg with her nose one time to let me know she was there.
That was it.
Then she sat or laid down to wait for me to finish.
She knows what usually happens when I finish.
I let her lick my dishes.

I sent her to the back yard while I went grocery shopping.
In addition to the vittles that I wanted/needed, I picked out a few items for Sally the Dog.
These included some new rubber chew toys, some corn chips for treats (she loves them), and some stew meat.
She does not know it, she is going to be one of the best-fed pups on the planet.

Then, I took Sally to a small park about two miles from my house.
It has lots of grass and a paved walking/running path, but no trees.
The path is a loop that may be about 3/4 of a mile long.
It was a bright sunny morning, with a light breeze and about 50 degrees.
Perfect doggy walking weather, methinks.

Sally was a near-perfect angel on the 30 minute jaunt.
I let her stop and sniff when she wanted to, but she did a good job of staying with me for much of the walk.
There were a couple of other walkers/runners about, and Sally gave each of them a long look/sniff from a distance.
She tried to chase one runner who passed by us.
I had to discourage that with difficulty.
But that gave me the wonder if she might actually enjoy running with me someday.
We will investigate that in a year or so.

Sally is well coated.
So much so that 50 degrees in the sunshine had her panting just from walking with me at basically her pace.
So she was ready to go home when I suggested it.
I had to help her into the car because she is still not completely comfortable in the car yet.
And not sure how to get in or out.
On the way to the park I put her on the shotgun side floor, where she put herself on a previous ride, but she ended up on the seat by the time we got there.
On the way home, I again but her on the floor, and this time she laid down and seemed a bit more composed all the way home.
She will work out her issues with the hummy, bouncy, leany, stop-n-go car with time.
I intend to take her places when she gets older and stops her puppy/jumpy ways.

We shall see how long Sally's new manners last.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sally - Week Four

Sally the dog is learning her way around her new life.
I am not sure I can call any of this “progress” by my human measure.

First, it has become clear that Sally has ADD.
When she gets wound up, which seems to happen three times a day – early morning around seven to eight, late morning around 10-12, and mid afternoon around two to four, she scampers from one toy to another in frantic succession.
She seldom spends more than about 10 seconds on any single item.
Lately, our morning walk takes place about seven AM so that takes the place of the early session.
After her walk she takes a nap.
In spite of her morning walks that I am giving her to burn off some of her excess energy, she still goes nuts several times a day.

Yesterday, I observed her chewing on my rubber garden hose that hangs on the side of the house.
That did not last long since she moved on to something else after about 20 seconds.
In the house she has taken to chewing on one of my small rugs by the back door.
I have discouraged her from this practice but she has done it two days in a row.

Some might say that she needs more toys.
To this, I respond, she has many toys.
Some of them she has procured herself, so there is no doubt about whether they are appropriate for her.
And she plays with all of them at various times.
Yesterday I found that she had chewed the large rawhide bone I bought for her in half and undid the knot on one end.
She has an official chew shoe both in the house and in the yard (total=2).
She has large plastic lids inside and out.
She has smaller milk jug lids – which she loves to chew on – inside and out.
She has a plastic milk jug – inside and outside. (which she likes to play a game similar to soccer and rugby with).
She has some cloth bedding both inside and outside.
Various sticks – which she loves to gnaw on – inside and outside.
A ball inside and outside
Several small tree branches, which she keeps in a pile near her favorite spot in the yard next to the utility building.
So she is not without appliances to chew on/play with.

Which brings me to the next issue – biting.
Sally Brown the Dog LOVES to play bite.
She is not a licking dog, she loves to bite.
Mind you, she is not nipping in anger or fear, but trying to bite in play.
When she bites my hands, I can feel her trying to restrain her jaw pressure.
It is clear that she is not trying to hurt me.

But her teeth are like hypodermic needles.
And when she bites while jumping around, a quick nip turns into a raking cut.
I have plenty of bleeding cuts to validate this.

I have tried everything to dissuade her from this practice but nothing works.
When I give her a toy in place of my hand, she ignores the toy and goes for the hand that is holding the toy.
She is not dumb.
She knows what animates the toy.

She even gets what I am trying to get her to do (or not do).
When I tell her no, she stops momentarily but gets so frustrated she lays her chin on the floor and growls and whines. (she still does not bark)
Basically she is telling me that she does not know how to play without biting.
It this point I usually send her outside (if we are not already outside) and let her gnaw on one of her toys.
Otherwise, I leave her alone.
She also tries to bite my shoes and pants cuffs.
This has the feel of canine domination, which I will not tolerate.

Another option is to buy some leather gloves and allow her to play with my hands.
The reasoning for this is that the play biting is typical of puppies and will disappear over time on its own.
However, allowing her to bite/chew my protected hands does not teach her to not bite/chew the hands of visitors (mainly my grandchildren).
And there is the outside possibility that she will interpret my allowance of her biting/chewing play as acceptable forever, which will require me to un-train from the habit later.

We are still working on this problem.

Her leash walks have changed from a fearful event (her first reaction to being on a leash the first couple of weeks here), to a happy event.
When Sally gets excited, she jumps – not on me – straight up.
And this mornings walk preparations were typical.
She got excited when she saw/smelled her leash.
So much so that she would not stand still while I hooked her leash onto her collar.

Once attached, we were ready to rock – or walk.
My plan today was to walk a mile.
We almost made it.
Near the point of my planned turn-around, a yard dog came out of nowhere and scared the (beep) out of Sally the Dog.
Barking loudly and menacingly, the little dog was not much larger than Sally, and only about 12 inches from Sally, restrained by a chain-link fence.
Sally did not know what to make of the dog for a few seconds.
She just stood there and looked and sniffed at the wild defender of his plot of dirt.
Then she wanted to run away.

I tried to calm Sally by talking calmly to her, I pet her a bit and encouraged her to walk away with me.
She went with me for a few feet then stopped and turned to look/sniff the still-barking maniac.
She repeated this go-stop-look/sniff routine two more times.
Then another fenced-in dog joined in from a greater distance.

At this point Sally began hunting a place to crawl under and hide.
I encouraged her to stay with me and to retreat further away from the noise.
But she was clearly upset and so we ended the walk at that point.
We turned around and crossed the street to put some more distance between Sally and the yammering nabob on the west side of the street.
I encouraged Sally to stay next to me and keep moving – which she did quite well, considering the distress she was experiencing.

And then she wanted to run.
So we ran most of the way home.
When we got to our yard, I let her sniff around and when she was ready, she walked to the gate and into the back yard we went.
Safe and sound.

And finally, the house training.
A total failure so far.
This morning was a draw.
I let her out twice and she wet both times.
But while I was doing the dishes, she disappeared for a few seconds and when I went to investigate, there she was squatting on the carpet in the back room.
I told her no, and she immediately walked to the back door and waited for me to let her out.
Which I did.

From this, I see that she associates the transgression with going outside.
She just has them backwards.
We will keep working on this.
.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Milestone for Sally the Dog

This morning after breakfast, I took Sally on a walk, as has been my custom these days.
I intended to make this a longer walk than previous excursions and it was so.
We traveled almost a mile.
1/2 mile out and a 1/2 mile back.
We walked to the church in our neighborhood which is right at 1/2 mile from my house.

I could tell she was getting weary in last tenth of a mile or so.
She doing a lot of tugging toward the end, nearly running ahead of me.
What she does not know is that I am a runner (still, in spite of my advancing age...), so I ran with her for a few hundred feet.
When we got back to our yard, she plowed her nose into the leaf piles I have staged, ready for bagging (the last of the season).
Then it was into the back yard, and HOME.
She hit the water bowl first thing.

I am about to challenge Cesar Milan on another dog training principle he espouses.
He, and his disciples, say that petting a dog when it is scared or disturbed by something - a car, another animal, the house heater fan, whatever - is interpreted by the animal as validating the fear they feel.
But my experience has been just the opposite.
If my dog is scared by something and I pick her up and hold her, she calms down.
If I touch/pet my dog when she is distressed by something, she usually relaxes.
Yes, Cesar has the "energy" concept correct, I believe.
Thus, one could interpret the calming effect of my actions as the dog "reading" my calming "energy" and relaxing.
That may be so, but that contradicts the first concept of petting while distressed encouraging the fear.

Sally did pretty good today.
There was a lot of stopping and sniffing that I would prefer not take place, but we were covering some new territory and I want her to get used to it and to feel comfortable in the environment.
We will work out the sniffing issues as we go along, I hope.

I was doing some calculations this morning regarding dog aging verses human aging.
The general rule of thumb is every year of dog age is equal to seven years of human age.
Thus, one year for a dog equals seven people years.
One month for a dog equals seven months of people age.
One week for a dog equals seven weeks of people time (almost two months)
And, one day for a dog equals a week of people time.
This is helping me keep Sally's learning and development in context.

As I write this, she is sleeping on the floor next to my chair.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day - Sally

To conform with something I read about training a dog, Sally and I went for a walk early this morning (about 7).
What I read was that since dogs are wanderers, it is more fitting to their natural instincts to take them for a walk before you feed them.
This simulates a "hunt" for the dog, according to this trainer.
It made sense to me, so I thought I would give it a try.

So, off we went.
Sally patiently allowed me to attach the leash to her collar and was ready to go through the gate to the outer realms.
While eager, she was generally restrained and did not pull too hard on her tether.
We are still working out who leads who on these walks but she did pretty good today.
Today's session lasted about 10-15 minutes.

Unfortunately, Sally's newly developing appetite causes her to be VERY hungry when feeding time comes around.
This morning was no exception.
Thus, every little discarded food wrapper (I had no idea there were so many laying around...) became an item of intense interest.
She even stopped to chew on a cigarette butt, which would have made for a great picture, had I been appropriately equipped.


I am not sure if Sally will ever be a dog that I can take on my three-mile personal exercise walks.
Great Pyrenees dogs are not long-distance runners.
Three miles may be too much even for an adult GP.
Thus, I am still trying to figure out the "proper" way to do a walk of my dog.

The purpose is to exercise the dog, tire her out a little, and burn off her natural energy so that she will be more relaxed at home.
I do not entirely buy into Cesar Millan's dog pack theory.
I understand and accept his underlying concept that the social structure of wild dogs it that of a pack (group).

But my dog is not in the wild.
She knows that I am not a dog, and understands that our social arrangement is not that of a pack of wild dogs.
(Since she left her litter-mates, she has not been around a "pack".)
There is a lot of structure in our living together now.
There are physical restraints, like fences, around her now, too.
She eats when I feed her.
Period.
There are no hunts to find food when the notion strikes her.
So I am not sure how much of the "pack mentality" is working in a domesticated dog.

So, is the goal of a walk for me and Sally to have her walk like a robot, like Cesar's dogs, or is it to allow her to have a good time, to sniff around and explore the neighborhood, more or less on her terms?
If her time outside the back yard was completely on her terms then we would not bother with a leash at all.
But that will not happen.
For one reason, it is against the law.
Another reason is she could run off and I would lose her.
So, there is some restraint in her walks, and will likely always be.
She has adapted remarkably well to the limits of the leash in just over a week.
The day may come when she and I can fiddle around in the front yard without any physical restraint on her.
We shall see about that in a year or two.

In the meantime, Sally will learn to live with a leash.
And, frankly, I am surprised how well she has accepted my little yard as her ranch/farm/home.
We shall see if that lasts.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Life with Sally

My family had a pre-Christmas gathering Friday evening.
In addition to seven adults/parents there were eleven children, of which seven were genetic grand-babies.
That is a lot of people in my widdle house.
In addition, Sally's sister and brother came along for a visit.
There was much friendly biting and rolling and tumbling.
And the dogs did some, too.

Friday was Sally's big socialization day, what with meeting a couple of the neighbor ladies, and sniffing several neighborhood dogs from a distance, plus all the residual sniffage in the leaves and yards, while on her morning leash walk.
And then a whole houseful of people that evening, and the kin-folks.
Sally had a day of it.

So today (Saturday) was sort of a day off.
We did not walk in the morning, as has been our practice.
We walked in the evening after I got home from my all day 400+ mile trip. (a WHOLE nother story...)

But Sally behaved herself nearly perfectly on the leash for our 10-15 minute walk.
She did have a blue bag event, which I was equipped to adjust (as best I could).
Then we had dinner.

Sally, in the last week has developed a ravenous appetite.
My previous 3/4 of a cup of food pellets are gone before I turn around and I am given a look that says, "Is that all?"
In response, I have increased her ration to a full cup each morning and evening meal.
This takes her a little longer to consume, but I still get that confused, deprived, questioning, look afterward.

I don't want to over-feed her and make her fat, but she is a growing dog.
And the 10-30 minute leash sessions leave her tired.
She comes home from them and, after she settles down, she sleeps for two or three hours.
And she is growing into a LARGE dog, who will have a big-dog appetite.
So I am working my way through this, another challenge.

On the house training front, more failures.
I cannot catch her at the correct moment.
Even though I took her out once each hour, this evening, she STILL managed to wet on a previously anointed spot.
Fortunately, this was on a plastic carpet runner rather than the carpet.
But I am frustrated.
Taking her out and having her squat out there does not teach her that doing the same thing in the house is unacceptable.
And she is sneaky.
If I do not follow her around the house as she sniffs and wanders, she will surprise me.
And sending her out after she has transgressed, may end up teaching her that the best way to make me open the door to let her out is to piddle on the floor.
That is exactly backwards.
So who is training who?
And to do what?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Brief Update on Sally the Dog

Sally, the newly brilliant Dog has had only one transgression of the Tradition of the Elders since her epiphany last Monday.
It was a small wet spot in the storage room and, had I been just a bit quicker on the jump, I could have caught her in the act and, thus, provided her with stronger reinforcement of the no-piddle-or-pooping policy.
As it was, when I saw the spot, I picked her up, took her to the scene of the crime and let her smell the evidence, then took her out of the house and closed the door.
There was no yelling or shouting or any of that.
Only terminology like "no" and "bad girl" were expressed in emphatic tones.

Today, Sally spent most of the morning in the house because it was raining and the yard was soggy.
I made her piddle before she came in and took her out after a couple of hours to give her a chance to unload (which she did!).
For the most part she was a good girl.

She LOVES to chew and it is a task to keep her chewing on authorized things (branches, toys, a glove, etc) and not on unauthorized things (my hands, my blankets, the carpet, the furniture, my shoes, etc).
For the most part she is coming along.

We had another leash session in the neighborhood today.
It was difficult to get her out the door, but once out, it was sniff and go.
We prolly did 20 minutes up and down the street and we are working out how far she can go.

In a week I may try to actually go for a walk with her.
Right now I am just getting her used to the give and take of being on a leash.
For now, she is leading me about half the time, but that will have to change soon.
I will not tolerate a 90 pound dog dragging me around the neighborhood at her pace.
For now I am content to let her lead me some of the time so she can get used to the smells and cars she will encounter out there.
She did a pretty good job of complying with my tugs as we moved around.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

BIG DAY FOR SALLY

On the day before her third week anniversary at this little place, Sally and her resident poop plucker had an eventful morning.
In a good way, this time.

First, there were no unplanned “events” in the house while breakfast was being prepared and eaten (yes, I allowed her to eat some of her food in the house.)
THEN, while pondering further training for the pooch, an aggressive plan was hatched.

Thus, Tall Biped armed himself with leash, doggy snacks and blue bags.
He attached the leash to smaller Furry Resident and carried her to the car, which had a seat prepared with towels to accommodate said Resident.
We drove about a half mile to the grounds of a local church that has a huge front yard (several acres)
There was some silent distress on the part of Furry Person, but she handled the trip generally well.
Once at the Large Yard, Tall Biped picked Smaller Furry Person from the seat and set her on the ground of New Large Yard.
It took about 30 seconds for Smaller Furry Person to warm to the new environment.
From then on is was a tight leash kind of morning.

With her nose suddenly on Maximum Reception, Sally had a wonderful time sniffing the many remembrances left by previous visitors.
I should have timed the party but I did not, so I can only guess that we spent about 20 minutes or so wandering around on the Large Grass.

Not surprisingly, a blue bag was needed.
Not surprisingly, there were two other dogs in the area enjoying a walk.
Sally was close enough to sniff their presence, and see them, but not close enough for any direct contact (about 50 feet).
Since this was her first time out of her yard, and her first car trip since her arrival, and her first time in this place, and her first close encounter with other dogs (other than the yappers behind the fence next door) in the open, I did not want to load her with too much stress/excitement in one trip.

I was ready to be finished before she was.
It was a test of wills to try to get her back to the car.
I was patient but persistent.
At several points, my gentle tugs to change the direction of the exploration were met with resistance.
Sometimes she would face me and pull away.
Sometime she would just sit down and look at me.
And she tried a new one – turn around and face away from me and pull away from me, as if she was pulling a wagon.
All ultimately failed.
But I was patient with her.
I gave her time to come around to seeing things my way.
Sometimes she did, sometimes not.

This was her first BIG outing and she was doing generally fine.
I let her pull me around for the most part.
I wanted her to get used to the interaction of dog, leash, and human.
A tethered walk is supposed to be fun for everyone.
In fact, sometimes she went where I wanted her to go without any tugging, and sometimes I let her go where she wanted – up to a limit.
It was a negotiated event.

I am assuming that as she gets used to traveling with me on a leash, she will mellow out a bit and we can come to some sort of truce of direction of travel.
While I am impressed with the calm boredom of the Cesar Milan's dogs while they walk with their owners, they really do not seem to be enjoying themselves.
They look like robots.
As if the body snatchers have implanted their evil seed into them and the revised dogs just calmly tolerate the human activities.
I expect Sally to be more engaged in the transit.
We shall see.

Finally, I had to pick up Sally the Dog and deposit (sorry) her onto her designated seat in the car (shot gun) for the drive home.
This short trip seemed less distressing to her than the trip over.

When we got home, I lifted her from her seat and set her on the ground to see what she would do on more familiar ground.
She was ready for more.
So, for the next ten minutes, we explored my front yard, the edge of the neighbor's front yard, the edge of the yard across the street my gutter and back again.
Ultimately, she did not want to go back into her nice little fenced yard.
I had to pick her up and PLACE her in her yard.
When I removed the leash from her collar, she headed straight for her water bucket.
I was not surprised.

For the morning I give her a B+.

Monday, December 19, 2011

THE MIRACLE DOG

It has been an eventful (and unexpected) weekend.
I was in the Dismal Dowdy Doldrums over my lack of progress in potty training Sally the Dog on Saturday.
I had the Blue Bag Blues and was struggling with adopters remorse. (and the leftovers of a mild case of the flu)

I went to bed that evening wondering if I was going to have to giver her away.
I do not want a yard dog.
If our lives together are going to evolve into me in the house and her in the yard, then I do not want her.
I don't need a yard dog.
I need (or rather, want) a friend, companion, and good listener.
I don't need a yard trophy.
I already have a stuffed dog.
And it does not eat. (or poop)

Sunday, I let Sally in for a few minutes in the evening while I prepared her dinner, just to demonstrate that I hold no grudge for past transgressions.
Being ever watchful and suspicious of her every move and sniff, I soon caught her sniffing around the back door, so I opened the door and let her exit.
Lo and behold, she went out onto the grass and did her little squat with little fanfare.
I was pleased, to say the least.
So pleased, that I immediately opened the door and invited her into the house again with multiple praises.
This was a mistake – mostly in timing.
I returned to food prep while Fuzzy Nose scampered about and squeaked in anticipation of impending satiation.
But in just a minute or so, Sally had disappeared again.
It took me a few seconds to realize that she was gone and when I went to investigate, I found that she was at the back door again.
I let her out again and in another lo and behold, she sniffed around in the grass and then did her other business.
I was thrilled and chastened for my impetuousness.
When she was finished, I allowed her back inside for a few minutes while I finished her meal prep and while I ate mine.
Then I let her out for the evening – which she seems to like.

Which leads us to this morning.
I saw Sally soon after she emerged from her den under the utility building, still too groggy doggy to do much but sit and sniff.
It was about 7 AM.
Having finished my Monday morning workout, I was ready to eat and I was certain she was, too.
When I went outside to get her dish – which stays in her mostly unused dog house - she came over to me.
I told her to go pee.
She looked at me for a moment (her usual manner) then trotted off a few paces and squatted.
I was pleased, astounded, amazed and other such things at the over-night brilliance of my dog.
With that, I let her in the house.
While I began her food prep I kept an eye on her as she sniffed around the house to check if anything was new (I guess...).
After a few minutes she was at the back door, so I let her out.
She went into the grass and squatted again.

I refrained from opening the door again and watched as Sally the (now BRILLIANT) Dog sniffed around in another area of the grass and soon did her other business.
I could hear the trumpets playing a fanfare.
I opened the back door and invited my miraculously rehabilitated dog back into the house with many praises (most of which are likely unintelligible to her yet).

In summation, we had an “uneventful” morning visit before I let her out to play, while I cleaned up the house.
This relationship may work out after all....
.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fail

Sally the dog got an "F" on her house training lesson this morning.
She barely lasted 60 seconds.

As is my habit with her, I invited her into the house while I prepared her morning meal.
After some initial petting and scratching and rubbing of fur which elicited appropriate tail wagging and nuzzling, I began to prepare her food.
This is a simple process of pouring in some industrial processed grain pellets, which I add some milk (which she likes), I was adding some left over tuna when I noticed she had disappeared from the kitchen.
Being suspicious of her from past experience, I went to the door of the dining room and there she was - producing a pile of Tootsie Rolls on my carpet in the storage room.
How long did that take?
A minute?
Two minutes?
Not long, for sure.

She was told "NO", picked up, given a half-hearted swat on the behind, and deposited outside, with a complimentary salutation of "Bad girl".

more later....

Friday, December 16, 2011

A NEW CHAPTER IN LIFE

This past Wednesday was the one week anniversary of Sally the dog at my humble estate.
It seems like she has been here for a month.

For those of you not familiar of the beginnings of this tale (sorry) I shall recap.
My number one son and family announced a few months ago that they wanted to get a dog or two for their planned “farm”.
Soon after that they announced the breed of pooch they wanted – Great Pyrenees.
This peaked my interest and I began some online study of the breed (as well as others) just to see what might be greeting me when I come over for my occasional visits.

I read about the breed, and training, and training THIS breed, that the challenges that his breed presents verses other breeds.
I read about different methods of training and swung from one philosophy to another as I read the different practices for training dogs.




I am a dog lover.
I have had several throughout my lifetime.
Because of this, I was looking forward to my descendants getting their furry friends.
Having said that, I have refrained from having a dog at this house and time in my life because I did not feel that I was willing to devote the amount of time and effort to training and caring for an animal.
I have a rather small yard and that is constraining to an animal.
So not only was my reason for not having a pet because of my personal constraints, but also because it was not fair to the animal.

But, during a conversation with my son about the planned acquisition of said pooches, he indicated that I should also acquire a dog.
I explained my reasons for not wanting one, as outlined above.
He was not dissuaded but did not pursue the topic.

A week or so later the topic came up again and I again responded in the negative.
A few days later he again suggested that I should have a dog and I again declined the suggestion.

Then I had a dream.
In this dream, I had received a new GP pup and we grew together as friends and lived fuzzily ever after.
After the dream I began to waver on my negative opinion on having a dog.
I knew there would be issues with house-training and leash training and feeding and setting aside time for play and/or walks.
Somewhere in all of that I came to the point that I could/would modify my pattern of living to accommodate these changes.
The next time my son brought up the issue, I told him of my dream and that I was coming around to acceptance.
We made plans to go to the same farm where his puppies were to be procured, to pick up mine (since he had just brought his pair home the week before).

And so, on the evening of December 7, I received my new furry friend.
Per some of the reading that I had done over the past several weeks I left her mostly alone while she adjusted to her new place.
By the third day, Sally the dog was more ready to engage with her new associate.
I use the term “associate” because I am not sure she sees me as her “master” in the sense that old school training manuals used to present.

I tried to feed her and help her not potty and pee just anywhere.
I was more successful in the former than the latter.
On her fourth day, during a potty trip, Sally indicated that she wanted to stay in the back yard. When I invited her back inside, she just sat down in the grass and looked at me.
Okay.
I knew from my reading that GP's were outside dogs (as well as inside), so I let her stay.
I expected this at some point in her life, just not this soon.

Sunday morning I woke up worrying about my dog, outside all alone by herself in the dark cold world, with barking dogs all around her.
It was a waste of worry.
She was fine.
Without me, or my frettings.

I looked at all the spots on my carpet and the places where I had placed newspaper over previous points of deposit in the few days that Sally had been in my house.
The four rooms she had access to in my house were a mess.
As a house trainer, I was a total failure.
For every time I had carried her out of the house to do her biological business, she had beaten me to the puddle/plop by twice.
I was doing my best to instruct her in the ways of people houses – knowing that dogs respond to actions rather than words, because they do not speak English.
And the evidence was everywhere that I was a total failure.

She was the fastest eliminator I have ever seen.
If I was not immediately up and after her when she began to sniff around, she would beat me to the puddle/plop.
And she did not seem to care where she did her business.
Two feet away from where she was playing was fine with her.
I have never seen a dog with such indiscriminate practices.
Maybe she would see it as efficient.

And our leash training sessions were not going well, either.
She barely tolerated the nice, new blue collar I bought for her.
But the nice, red leash?
Not at all.
As soon as I attached it to her collar she went into reverse.
Strong reverse.
Life and death reverse.
Fighting and struggling from side to side, working every angle she could to break free.
Even though I offered her bits of dog biscuit, she let me know she would rather starve than be on a tether.

Sunday morning I was depressed.
I was ready to give her back.
After three days, I was beaten.
The amount of effort this was taking was consuming virtually all of my time and energy.
And I was making no progress.

So instead of having a nice furry friend flopped around the house to listen to me mutter to myself as I did my chores, I had a walking sewer outlet.
I fed – she pooped.
Or peed.
Instead of a nice symbiotic relationship, I was doomed to a life of following this animal around with a blue bag in my hand (and more in my pocket).

And my visions of us taking nice controlled walks around the neighborhood to burn off her doggy energy while I exercised were not to be.
I had the canine equivalent of a rodeo bull.
She is a 10 pound puppy now.
Imagine what that will be like when she weights 90 pounds?

To compound my depression, when I came home from church Sunday night, Sally had pooped in three different places and peed in at least two.
That comes out (sorry) to almost once per hour. (NOT the two-hour interval the training article stated)
I knew that there would be some cleaning up to be done but I was not prepared for this.
I opened the door and took her outside to let her unload any more processed dog food.
Which she did.
I spent the next 30 minutes cleaning my storage room carpet.

On Monday morning, when she acted like she wanted to stay outside, I gladly let her go.
She has not been inside the house for any length of time since.
And she seems to like it this way.
I go out and play with her in HER yard.
I cannot trust her inside the house any longer.

But that cures the symptom but not the disease.
This keeps her from soiling my house, but does not teach her not to potty in the house.
I do not know how to go about this now.

My work starts in January.
That means that I will have even less time each day to train this dog.
Leash training is vital to me being able to walk off her energy each morning or evening.
If I cannot she will become a problem and I will not have the time to resume training until mid April.
That is four months from now.
By then Sally will be much bigger and more difficult to handle.
.