By Jean MacLeod
Every morning at 7:00 AM I get up to let the dogs out of their side-by-side crates. We all run to the patio door with me yelling “LET’S GO POTTY!” like we’ve all won the lottery. I shove Clover out to pee; Fig has learned to hang back or have Clover’s nose up her butt while she squats.
When Clover is finished she comes bounding back into the condo, and Fig trots out to do her business. Fig is much more focused; she efficiently pees AND poops and then trots back in. The girls, because they haven’t seen each other in two whole minutes, joyfully and ferociously wrestle, run laps and contribute to the wreckage of what was once my living room.
All of this fast action works like a tonic on Clover’s puppy ‘dogestive’ system. She barks to go out (Yay! THAT took forever to learn), and heads out for potty #2. Once she’s back inside, it’s time for Fig to go out and pee again. This entire process takes about 30 minutes, because peeing and pooping doesn’t happen without smelling around the patio, eating unidentified bits off the ground and guarding the perimeter against chipmunks.
I also have to make quick trips outside (looking my best in my white terry robe and black pants socks) to clean up the poop between their multiple visits as Clover finds it so much better than breakfast.
This morning, I got everyone pottied then had the nerve to crawl back in bed for an hour. Apparently, I cut off an important piece of the poop cycle, as I was welcomed with a nice big pile on the rug when I came back downstairs. I knew who did it without asking. It was the pup who reeked of guilt and contriteness, and who wanted to attach herself to my leg.
I didn’t yell, as I am a model of dog training and know that shame isn’t healthy or helpful.
“I want to kill you,” I said in my most pleasant voice, looking directly at Clover. “Really. You are living dangerously. Be warned.”
Clover’s a smart dog; she sensed something dark lurked behind my conversational tone and she felt it best to suck up. She followed me from room to room as I cleaned up the mess, managing to look both pitiful and endearing.
“I’m so sorry,” her manner oozed. “Not because I pooped in the house, but I AM sorry that we all have to be a little upset. So not fun!”
Fig distanced herself from the whole scenario; she put on a mournful face for Clover but obviously reveled in being GOOD DOG of THE MOMENT. The daily power struggle around here is real, and these two take every opportunity to prove their extreme Best Dogness. Even when pooping.
“You’re both good dogs”, I sighed. It’s true…they make me crazy, but I appreciate how dogs are set up for basic happiness.
They are very competent at living gloriously in the moment, and at forgiving and at loving. We could all be better dogs.