Puppy Trubs

Took puppy to the dog park this evening when communications broke down with hubby. We didn’t agree when it was time to leave so I sauntered to the car and retrieved the treats stashed in the armrest. He was waiting by the gate when I returned and sat when I said so.
We went over to Lowe’s for paint samples and light spackle and he stayed in the car with water and a handful of blue buffalo.
Hubby had no appetite when we returned so I cooked and enjoyed dinner myself, responded to email, took a shower while updating software and heard some whimpering at the door when I was drying off. I asked Gulliver what was wrong but am not up to speed on puppy lingo as yet. This was new behavior. I still did not catch on. And it IS a full moon.
When I came out and returned to check on the update, I got up for something – a birthday card – and when I returned to my seat I noticed the dark circle underneath. On closer inspection the liquid was still warm though relatively odorless.
Controlling my voice and surprisingly little anger, I rubbed his nose in it and said, No, Bad Dog, with not much enthusiasm. I simply felt defeated.
As far as I know it’s only the second time in eight months that such has occurred. I’d been singing such praises only four hours earlier in the dog park. Is this the type of thing that leads to home ownership?
One sage from the dog park related her efforts to housebreak her bundle of fur. Whenever he had an ‘accident’ she’d clean it up and place a small dish of his food next to it. Only she ran out of dishes. I tried the same thing. Gulliver simply went over to the small dish and began eating. I felt humiliated on his behalf. I don’t think the same strategy works for a dog that’s already housebroken. I don’t think he was sending me any message beyond, “I had to pee and you were in the shower. I barked. You shushed.” End of story. Despite my poor behavior he sleeps at my feet even now.

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Snippet #2601

But whose counting? You walk in a dog park there’s going to be poop. There are two kinds of people in a dog park: those who pick it up and those who don’t. I’m of the former set and my husband of the latter. Tonight, in exasperation, I actually said, it’s a waste of brain power to remember where the poop was in order to avoid it when you walk around again in the coming darkness when you could just pick it up when you see it the first time. So I get the just desserts of those who speak their conscience but don’t act on it. Gulliver decides to roll in the grass, on purpose, exactly in the place where a nice bit of warm, soft poop was left behind. Only I didn’t discover this till he runs over to us for a quick how-do before taking off for an old acquaintance. I rub the soft hair at the back of his neck just ahead of his harness and, oops, there it is! I was smeared. I raise the offending fingers to my husband and say, THAT’s why we pick up the poop when we see it! He doesn’t seem to make the connection. So I repeat myself, bringing the hand closer to his face. He asks if it smells bad. Now, on a good day, I’m not the finger sniffing type. At dusk, in the dog park, even less. Of course it smells bad, I shriek, it’s POOP! I can laugh at myself now, after Gulliver’s had a bath. After the power struggle to see who’d end up the wettest is over. After I force his bum down over the drain in the kitchen sink for the umtieth time, yelling, SIT! as close to his muzzle as possible without getting a mouthful of dog hair. After his near instant licking forgiveness threatens to bring me to tears. After I scrub him dry, at first roughly, with the hand towel my husband drapes over a chair in the dining room when I ask for the BIG BLACK TOWEL. After I cocoon our four-legged son in the big towel I have retrieved from the linen closet and, more gently now, clean his ears, dry his tail and toes. After I imagine I would sit there rocking a damp dog on my lap forever or at least until one of us had to pee. But then and there, in the dog park, when I had opportunity to enjoy confirmation of having been right, again, and couldn’t, I was far from being in a laughing mood.

The Benefits of Stupidity a.k.a. Confessions of an Eejit!

Learning dogspeak is not difficult. It’s about as hard to do as to train a puppy to pee outdoors. Precisely. I felt like an I.D.I.O.T. when, after putting Gulliver the pup back on the carpet no fewer than six times, he finally relieved himself there and I pinched him after shouting NOOOOOO! and placing him, rather indelicately, on the patio. I mean, you’d think after five months together, I’d be able to remember if not understand that when he jumps up, nipping at my hands or sleeve, he means to get my attention for a good cause – nature calling. But no, I blew it again. Ever wonder why we all get to make stupid mistakes more than once? To keep us humble, honest, and on our knees. It’s so that when someone does something genuinely stupid to us, for us, about us or in our direction, we have a recent memory about what being an arse feels like and so, can take pity on the schlmeel in idiot suit.
Another benefit of stupidity is the practice of forgiveness. Acts of stupidity, whether public or private, set us up for acts of contrition and the forgiveness associated with such sentiment. Gulliver, tentative about re-entry, is the most forgiving soul on the planet. I know I don’t deserve him and for sure he doesn’t deserve the mixed bag he inherited when he got me. But I believe there is reason to hope that I can become a more attentive, compassionate puppy Mom and can one day leave all or most of this Puppy Mama Drama behind.