Monday, February 21, 2011
FarmWife likes dogs. She understands dogs. She feels that training dogs comes naturally to her, and she feels that there is very little about problem dog behavior that she cannot understand and/or remedy. This problem, though, is beyond her.
Clover, who's about one year old, recently spayed, and adopted two months ago from the Humane Society, understands that outside pooping is good. FarmWife passes many chilly moments standing outside in the rain and sleet with Clover, and praising Clover with effusive pats, play, and cheesy globs when Clover poops outdoors. Clover understands that peeing outside is good, too, and since her first day here has never made a mistake in THAT department.
FarmWife feeds Clover in a crate, and takes Clover outside immediately thereafter to do her business. Clover does her business. All is well. Still, Clover will sneak away, given an opportunity, and poop in a favorite, solitary spot. When the favorite spot is deodorized, sanitized, and blocked off, Clover will pick a new favorite spot. Clover gets to go outside, with a human for company, after every nap—every play period—every snack—every meal. She can't possibly be missing adequate opportunities to move her bowels outdoors.
Clover has been on a leash and/or gated in a room with FarmWife for nearly two whole weeks, and during those weeks Clover has not had an accident. Today, a trial off-leash period ended badly, with poop in the downstairs bathroom. (Closer, Clover—next time, use the toilet, 'kay?)
So, animal trainers extraordinaire—how can we make the connection happen for Clover? FarmWife has caught her in the act, scolded firmly (without any physical abuse, of course, but with firm words and removal to the outdoors), and shown her outside. FarmWife has cleaned up the messes privately, to avoid giving Clover a Master/Servant complex, and FarmWife has tried putting the poops carefully into Clover's designated outdoor bathroom spot in order to give her the idea. FarmWife has made much of Clover every time she's gone outdoors. Clover is healthy, and the poops are normal and well-formed. Clover is on a good grain-free diet and, in all respects, seems to be thriving. FarmWife sanitizes the heck out of the floor wherever Clover goes, so there should be no lingering odor to mislead the pup into thinking it's a good spot to go.
Finally, let me say this—Clover is beloved, and this is a small problem in the big picture. Still, advice is welcome! FarmWife would love to let Clover have a little more freedom indoors, and FarmHusband would love to stop stepping in dog poop.