Monday, December 23, 2013

Angus & Reform School...

This little guy has been living with us for the past month. Yes – Angus has been sent to Gram’s Reform School, and it is a boarding school.

Angus has reached that age/stage where you will see in the classifieds: “Free to good home, X month old puppy. Needs fenced yard and room to run. Owners don’t have enough time for him”…

Except for the fact that we know that every pup reaches this stage, and will, someday, pass through it, this might have been written about Angus recently.

Once upon a time, Angus was potty-trained…and then that little skill lost its appeal, and he decided that, though he knew how to do it, he’d rather not bother with going outside.

That’s a problem…well, actually, it’s been a lot of problems!

He even decided that peeing in his crate, aka his bedroom, was sometimes  necessary. In the dog-training world, this is an EMERGENCY! Usually, a pup will keep his bed clean and dry, and that allows you to manipulate the circumstances to teach him to do his business outside…But when he doesn’t care if he goes in his bed…well, he doesn’t care about where he goes at all.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Angus was sent to Reform School in the hope that constant supervision from Gram would renew his interest in being house-trained.  The goal was to get him to believe that outside was the ONLY place to go. The strategy was to take watch closely, and take him out often, so that the preponderance of successful duty runs occurred outside.
After a month of concerted effort, I am well trained. Angus? Not so much.

I have learned that constant supervision is CONSTANT…2 minutes of inattention will be costly.

I have become an expert at getting stains out of carpet…All you need are pet enzymes, many paper towels, and encyclopedia volumes to press out the water after the vile stuff has been removed. Weeping and gnashing of teeth, optional.

I have learned that Angus signal to go out is to look at you…which is not exactly definitive. Thanks, Angus.

When he is not evacuating something from the back end, Angus is usually ingesting something on the front end…digestibility optional.

He ate one of my Pottery Barn German Glass glittered birds...
Both ends of the dog evacuate…’nuff said.

Despite my repeated expressions of exasperation, Angus adores me. He is my shadow…which means his toes have been stepped on plenty. And if I move from room to room, so does he. And when I take my own potty break, he scratches at the door until I return.

Let me just say that being adored is quite taxing…

Angus has learned a few things since being in residence here:

Drink lots of water to keep up with Gram’s potty schedule.

The water in the Christmas tree stand is much better flavor.

Eating Fir tree needles makes your gut gurgle.

The biscuits are in the second locker in the utility room. If you stand there long enough and look pathetic you will get one.

If you go outside and go potty, Gram will cheer for you and you can run right into the house and she will give you a treat from the bucket.

Any time the back door opens and closes, run to the bucket for a treat because this is probably why you get something, not for going potty.

If you don’t go poo right away, you get a longer walk.

It’s hard to find the right spot to do your duties outside. You have to sniff and sniff and look and look, but in the house, it is easy! You just find the lightest piece of carpet and go there.

The lightest piece of carpet is in the living room

If you wreck something Gram likes, then she will give you a rawhide to chew on.

If you paw on the crate in the night, you get to see Gram more often…even though she always makes you go out in the cold to pee…It’s still worth it if you are lonely.

The Boss never gets up in the night. He doesn’t care if you are lonely.

I’m starting to believe that Caitlin has chosen the wrong Reform School. There seems to be a disconnect in Angus/Gram communication.

The habits that are becoming ingrained in his little brain, are not the ones I’m trying to put there.

Case in point – our morning walks…We make our way through the oldest part of our raspberry fields, and along a row that is particularly weak, with small canes, and not a lot of them. Angus loves to run up to the row, grasp the end of a drooping cane in his mouth, and neatly incise off the last 8-10 inches of it. So proud, he then runs on to another to repeat.

This poor tired raspberry row! I hate to see it abused further in its weakened state, so when I see Angus about to shorten another cane, I sharply tell him, “NO!” and call him to come. When he leaves the cane and comes, I reward him with a treat.

He has learned this lesson well, and while at first I was proud of him, I have come to doubt this accomplishment. Now when we walk this row, he runs quickly to grab a cane and looks back to make sure that I am watching. When I reprimand, he jogs over immediately to receive his pay…And then he runs to the next cane, and does it all over again…to receive his pay.

I have created a little extortionist.

I think I am teaching him that “NO!” means stop what you are doing. Instead, Angus learned that when you do something that makes Gram yell “NO!”, you get a treat…A quarter mile of extortion every morning as Angus runs from cane to cane. “If you don’t give me a treat, I will crunch this cane…”

I’m pretty sure that Pavlov wouldn’t let me near his dogs…

Worst of all, this little guy has found his way into The Farmer’s heart. When Caitlin offered to take him home after a week, The Farmer (or The Boss, as he is known to the dogs) said Angus should stay here “because I like having him around”…

I will not state the obvious here about who cleans up the messes and who does the nighttime potty runs…as this is an old, old argument that disappeared when the human children became low-maintenance…

And I can only hope that the need for the argument disappears again… I know it will for a short time, because Gram’s Reform School is going to close for the Holidays and the boarder will be sent home.
Angus still loves his Girl...
And loves his sis a very active way.

If The Farmer/Boss lets him go…

Oh Angus…you ARE adorable…please grow up soon! 

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About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (