Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Breaking the House

              St. Bob and I have a policy: No puppies.  We love dogs and always have a rescue pooch or two around the house, but for ten years or so we’ve agreed only to adopt dogs one year old, or older.
            Why is this, you ask?  Okay, you may not have asked it, but I’m telling you why.  Puppies, despite being one of the most adorable creatures ever, do not come into the world potty-trained.  They piddle at will, and they chew on things constantly-- as evidenced by this book of ours-- chewed on by one of our dogs.  The irony is unmistakable:
By the time you get them house-broken, it is entirely possible that your house will indeed be broken. 
            To prevent sofas, shoes, lamp cords, and everything else you own from being chewed, you take two safety measures.  First, put away all that you can, certainly your shoes, socks, and handbags.  Second, give your dog plenty of approved chew toys.
            As for housebreaking, here’s how you do it:  You take off a week and you do nothing else that entire week except watch the dog like a hawk.  You take him outside every half hour, giving him no chance whatsoever to piddle inside.  When he piddles outside, you reward him.  Over and over, for days on end.  Eventually he gets it that he has to piddle outside.  If he has an accident inside, you do not scream or beat the dog—you simply start over again.  Smart dogs will learn in a week’s time.  Semi-smart dogs might take a couple of weeks.
            And then there’s Mickey.
            Mickey is in the group that cannot remember and, just as you might love a dopey friend, can still be part of our family.  But she is a scalawag who cannot be trusted, so she is confined to a large downstairs area with baby gates.  After flawlessly using her doggie door for an entire year, I gave in to that big-eyed pathetic look she has mastered, and gave her a chance at the rest of the house. 
             Big mistake.  And, really, it’s my own fault, because St. Bob and our daughter, Nicole, brought her home from the shelter—at six months old-- and I didn’t read through the stack of paperwork carefully.  Most notably, I missed the line where her previous owner was asked if she was housebroken and wrote, “Somewhat.”
             You see, there is no “somewhat” when it comes to being housebroken.  It’s like being pregnant—you are or you aren’t.  If a dog is still having accidents, even if they’re months apart, she is not housebroken.
             It doesn’t mean I don’t pamper and spoil her. 
             Low IQ or not, she gets more love and attention than most people.  She just doesn’t get to piddle under the piano.  She also doesn’t have to worry that a bouncy new puppy will be joining the clan anytime soon.

For a book that you may wish to devour, check out my newest novels here.  

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