Friday, December 16, 2011


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.
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.

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