Friday of that week…I brought the little surprise puppy home…we named her “Mimi”. Until that point, my husband had never seen her and he was really surprised by how small she is…it was love at first sight. Tomorrow will be the first week Mimi’s been with us. In this short time, Mimi has filled our lives with funny episodes. I will be sharing some of those Mimi stories in this blog from time to time.
I was so grateful to hear from our veterinarian that Mimi is a healthy and good natured puppy…just a little small for her breed (a Yorkshire terrier)…which makes her a miniature. I told him that I intentionally sought a small puppy considering the size of my apartment… He was shocked….he basically told me “girl, I cannot imagine the size of the apartment you must live in if your dog is in proportion to it”….well yes….my apartment is miniature size too….
When I told my dad about our new “addition” he was really surprised. His first comment after hearing that Mimi was going to be an inside dog went like this; “at least she will not have any fleas”. I thought he was referring to the fact that she wouldn’t be in contact with other animals or other external sources where she could catch fleas…but then my dad clarified; “your apartment is so small…I cannot imagine the dog and the fleas both fitting in at the same time”…and he burst into a belly laugh…My siblings and I have resigned to hearing those jokes…we even have a name for these kind of jokes; dad jokes. To us they are funny, not because of the content…but because my dad enjoys them so much and thinks they are so hilarious…that we have to laugh too…I am sure every family has similar jokes…or at least I hope so.
Nevertheless, one of the most challenging tasks with Mimi has been potty training her. Most dog training guides say that you should try to catch the dog “in the act” and tell the dog a firm “no” if they are going potty at the wrong place….afterwards, you bring the dog to the right place (a.k.a. the doggy toilet) and if they manage to go; then you praise them and even give them a treat….(house dogs have it really good, don’t they?)
I thought to myself “I can do that!”…and proceeded enthusiastically to stalk my dog…(I didn’t realize that I was stalking her until I wrote this…but how else should I call it?) Anyway, catching my dog in fraganti has been a harder task than I thought it would be. Mimi is the fastest “bathroom goer” ever….ever! My husband and I have started calling her “pooper trooper” because she really is a prodigy in the field.
I realized that catching her while she’s at it was going to be almost impossible, so I went back to do some more research…I looked for information on how to correct the potty situation in cases when you find that your dog has already gone where he/she shouldn’t…and I couldn’t believe what I found…let me quote from the website http://www.barkbytes.com/training/house.htm:
“If you find a mess after the fact:
1. Do not punish the dog.
2. Accept the fact that you were not paying attention to the dog.
3. Do not show the dog that you are upset. Calmly put the dog on his leash and bring him to the location of the accident. With the dog at your side, firmly scold the potty. Do not scold the dog.
4. Blot up some urine, or pick up some stool with a piece of paper. Take the evidence and the dog to the latrine area. Place the paper on the ground and with the dog watching praise the potty for being in the “right” place. Temporarily leave the paper there. (Remove it when the dog isn’t watching)
5. Clean up the remaining mess in the house as outlined above.”
I could not believe this approach, but as I was (and still am) desperate; I decided to give it a try. I had to warn my husband in advance about my new “method” before he saw me talking to dog droppings and thought that I had gone totally insane.
As it turns out, I have had to do a lot of “poop talking”…this came to me as a total surprise. Having recently watched the movie “Marley & Me” (where I cried my eyes out)…I was looking forward to my and my husband’s first dog, and I knew it was not going to be a walk in the park…however, I never, ever pictured that my first week with our dog would include becoming the “poop whisperer“…and the most ironic thing is that so far my dog’s habits have not changed a bit…
After careful deliberation I have decided that I am going to quit the crap-talk and look for an alternative method of potty training Mimi…she keeps leaving little “surprises” for us in the apartment…but we still love her :).