Rosie barked today. Seriously barked, not just a passing woof. A neighbor who had been moving some dirt with his tractor right outside the house was walking around on foot, assessing what he’d done and what he needed to do next. He came close to the back door and for some reason Rosie didn’t like that at all.
Well that certainly was a surprise.
She doesn’t have a big bark — in fact, what with the tractor’s engine idling I didn’t at first realize she was barking at all. Loud or not, Rosie seemed quite determined about letting the neighbor know that he was crossing a line she had decided on.
A guard dog. Who’d have thunk it?
Rosie is still too quick to display submissive behavior to me but at least now she gets over it right away when I reassure her. Disciplining a cowering dog is tough, so I try to be big on love and restrained when correcting. I’m willing to give her many chances to figure out what I want so she can be a happy puppy all the time, and even, some day, feel free to be mischievous.
So yeah, I’m tolerant — but some unwanted behaviors are harder for me to tolerate than others. Like going potty inside instead of outside.
I thought we were done with potty training. Rosie seemed to get the idea. She was doing very well with holding her pee overnight until suddenly, a few days ago, she wasn’t. Maybe not so coincidentally it was when I had to start closing the kitchen door at bedtime. It’s getting too cold at night for me to leave it open for her — especially when she can go out the doggie door whenever she wants.
I wondered if it had to do with going down the stairs off the porch. We don’t really know how old Rosie is – the vet said maybe 5-ish but she could be older. What if going down the five steps was painful?
That idea went out the window right away. A few days ago I had to go into town for a load of hay. I had shut the kitchen door so Rosie would be safely inside, hoping but not knowing if she would use the doggie door to go out to her dog yard if she had to pee during the few hours I was gone. I was unwilling to lock her outside because she’s only been here two months and doesn’t seem all that secure yet.
I’m such a worry wart. When I came home, Rosie was proudly waiting for me at my property gate. I had forgotten to close the gate to her dog yard. Clearly Rosie had no trouble with the doggie door, the stairs down, or taking advantage of an open gate.
I was not happy for her to be greeting me like that, but boy, was I happy to see her at the property gate instead of my having to hunt for a lost dog.
But back to the peeing problem.
I didn’t know why Rosie was going in the house but to be fair she did try to get me out of bed in the mornings to let her out. She was only able to her pee until she determined I wasn’t going to get up in time — I guessed she just gave up. I felt so bad for being such a slug, though I did notice Rosie didn’t seem to feel all that sorry for having done it. She just watched patiently as I grumbled and moaned my way through sopping up about five gallons worth of pee on the floor before I was properly awake. Who knew a little dog could hold so much in her bladder?
So why, you ask, didn’t I just get up and let her out when she asked me to? Excuse me – but she was doing all this before sunrise, and I’m not a morning person.
Needless to say, dark out or no, for the next several mornings when she got up and started walking around the house she didn’t need to jump up on the edge of the mattress to emphasize her point. At the first click of her toenails I would fly out of bed, throw on my bathrobe and a jacket, and run to the back door to escort her to a pee spot.
This morning, though, when I hopped out of bed and took her outside she just walked around sniffing at stuff. Then I noticed a fresh pee spot right near where she always does it.
Rosie had clearly used the doggie door to go out to pee before she woke me up.
Before she woke me up. Okaaaay. Here’s what I think: This has nothing to do with peeing.
I think Rosie is training me. I think she is a morning dog and she is bound and determined to make me a morning person. And I think she’s really good at it. For sure she gets me out of bed faster than an alarm clock does.
Maybe this afternoon’s barking was an indication not so much of Rosie feeling secure as her having decided I’m trainable enough to be worth protecting.
Maybe Rosie is really happy she doesn’t have to pee in the house anymore to get me to pay attention. Guess I’ll find out tomorrow morning when I get up at an ungodly hour before dawn.