Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Look Down

So Friday is growing into a fine little lady. She's spunky and fun and incredibly sweet. She's got down the morning snuggles in bed, she's coming whenever I call her, has sit and lie down mastered, and is adding a level of fun this farm didn't realize it was missing. All that said, she is far from an angel. We are having some potty training issues....

Border collies are smart. How smart? Well, let me explain the process for training this girl not to use my house as her lavatory. For those of you not familiar with training a dog, this is the power play of the actual process: you need to catch them in the act. You can't drag a puppy and stick her nose in a pile of poo like some idiot. Dogs don't have human memories and have no idea why you would do that. You need to use a harsh tone and say "NO!" right while they are peeing or pooping in front of you, scoop them up, and take them outside to finish the deed. It took Gibson a few scoldings and he was set at 4 months. Friday is different.

Friday has learned not to poop in the bathroom, because I yelled at her in there. She knows not to poop in the living room, dining room, or my bedroom. She's been scolding both upstairs and downstairs to not defecate. She gets it. But since she's a Border Collie she found a loophole. She just shits on the stairs themselves.

Yes! The stairs! That No-man's Land, the international waters of scat! Being a portal between two lands of NO she simply squats over the edge of one stair (I assume) and plops turds down the stairs, and I have yet to actually catch her in the act. It's frustrating as hell and two nights ago when I was heading downstairs to use the bathroom I slipped on a turd in my bare feet and fell hard. I laid there at the bottom of the stairs, bruised but fine, thinking

"And that's how she died... naked with poo on her feet."

No, not the riding a half ton of horse at full gallop without a helmet up a mountain. Not hunting with rifles in the wilderness. Not out driving her truck on the highway or from a heart attach due to internet trolls.... but lost thanks to a pile of shit. I was fine even if my pride was a little damaged,  and Friday is spending more time in her crate while she learns the stairs are not her personal receptacle —but I figured that was a moment worth raising my mug to this morning. I am always telling people to look up, perhaps I should warn them to look down.

17 Comments:

Blogger Abrah Griggs said...

I think someone commented on your FB about this -- but using NO in this instance isn't the best. Just interupting with a hand clap, startle her, don't associate a word with them going to the bathroom in the house. And treat/praise A LOT outside, whenever they go outside, not just when you have to escort them after they've gone in the house. Sounds like she needs more positive outside praise than indoor negatives (and yes, I used to help run obediance classes, so I am just telling you what I've told others when they need to redirect the training).

October 21, 2015 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Desert Willow said...

I can't think of a more wholesome way to die.

October 21, 2015 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Angie Dellinger said...

If you can't laugh, you're going to cry! Lol. One of my favorite posts. Being able to laugh at the (literal) shit in your life is, I'm sure, one of the reasons you are where you are. Keep rolling with the punches, Jenna!

October 21, 2015 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

I am sorry you slipped and hurt, but that is one funny and smart dog! LOL

October 21, 2015 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger daisy g said...

Sounds like you need a baby gate at the bottom of those stairs! Glad you're okay.

October 21, 2015 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger hart said...

It makes a great story, and it's very smart to figure out it's neither up nor down.

October 21, 2015 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Rich Michaud said...

I always use the crate training routine. First week or so in the house is spent in the crate and as soon as they are taken out, outside until they do something. Poop or pee, doesn't matter and then back in to the crate. After I know they have it down then we spend time out of the crate.

October 21, 2015 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger Nerissa said...

I'm not going to give you dog advice. As the person to a 6 month old girl puppy I get plenty of unasked for advice. I've been wanting to ask how you handle Friday with your free ranging birds? My Leona thinks chasing our ducks into a corner is the best fun ever. After one of the ducks sprained a foot that blew up to a full grown cankle for 2 weeks Leona has since been leashed while the ducks are out of their pen. What are your thoughts? Did Friday has any issues like that? Good luck with the sneaky poos.

October 21, 2015 at 4:58 PM  
OpenID Kim said...

This cracked me up. Thank you for this bit of silliness that totally could have happened to me. I have laughed with friends about the numerous weird ways they could find me dead someday. So glad someone else has that same slightly dark sense of humor.

October 21, 2015 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger kbrow said...

I've always housebroken my pups within a few weeks of getting them (pups gotten around 8-12 weeks old, housebroken within about a month) by following this protocol: manage their space, manage their access, manage their time. I KNOW you don't really want to hear this, but you need to use a baby gate, a crate, or leash her to your beltloop indoors for a while. Do this at night, as well. Take her out periodically (she's old enough to hold it a few hours) and when she goes outside, praise her, treat her, play with her.

AT THE SAME TIME, be obsessively scrupulous about cleaning up any messes that she makes indoors. Use Nature's Miracle or another enzymatic cleaner, because it is really good at getting the scent of poop/pee out - those scents mark the spots where she wants to go. If you put her on a schedule, she'll housebreak easily. Yelling at her is not a solution.

Working at home will allow you to monitor her activities more easily than if you had a day job, and had to leave her babygated or crated all day.

October 21, 2015 at 7:08 PM  
Blogger Johollister said...

Dog logic. "Hey, she never said NO to pooping on the stairs, it must be ok!"

October 21, 2015 at 7:10 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

She is a crafty lass! I hope that you didn't get really hurt, maybe you need a tiny nite lite, or flashlight...just in case she does it again. Nature's Miracle is very good.

October 21, 2015 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

And now I'm going to be singing Les Mis for the rest of the night...

October 21, 2015 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Dude! I can't imagine how ffrustrating. We taught our muts to go out by ringing a bell on the door using peanut butter. But they would ring it whenever they were bored too. Super frustrating!

October 22, 2015 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger beccaWA said...

Agree with Abrah. Since you are home, it should be easy to take her out often. That way you can catch her in the "good act" of going outside and reward her there. Just keep taking her out every 15 minutes, half hour and she'll get that good things happen when she goes outside.

October 22, 2015 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Gardening in Texas said...

Border collies are great dogs. Our border is 16 years old. She spent her time training us. She played a mean game of soccer in her younger days and taught us never to play football with her. It mimicked breaking from the herd and she would cut us off. Enjoy your border!

October 29, 2015 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger Dangerous Dreams Farm said...

No, the best way to house break a pup is to PREVENT accidents. At this point she has learned pottying in the house is ok. So what if she gets caught occasionally. Sometimes she gets away with it, and that's what counts.

You are going to battle this for awhile now. Go back to square one. She can't be loose in the house, ever. Keep her on a leash or in a dog kennel. She does not leave your sight. If you are not supervising her, she has the opportunity to make mistakes. Take her out every 15 minutes during play, immediately after a nap, about 15 minutes after a meal. Praise her if she goes potty outside. House train one room at a time.

My pups are essentially house broken within 2 weeks of coming home. It's not hard, but you have to supervise a pup at all times and be proactive.

October 29, 2015 at 10:52 PM  

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