Wednesday, April 9, 2014

1 Step Forward, a Few Sashays to the Side ......

We've been having accidents again.

There's this one spot in the dining room. Luckily, it's a really cheap rug. If we have to, it can get tossed. Still, I'd rather keep the rug.

And we're DEFINITELY keeping the dog.

I used to mention the accidents to her rescuers as part of my general updates, but I stopped. They seemed to be a bit defensive about it. I think I get it. People actually do "give up" pets for such things. And by "give up" I mean abandon. Your pet isn't perfect, so you opt to not cope. That's abandonment. The Rescue (New Spirit 4 Aussies) didn't want me to abandon Nicki like she'd been abandoned before. They should have more faith in themselves. They picked me. I have no intention of letting Nicki, or NS4A down.

The Hubs and I spoke briefly this morning about the situation. The pee is intermittant. Sporadic. Our fur girl doesn't seem to like going outside to actually do her business all the time, but she's all gung-ho about going out to walk or play.

I looked for advice online. She's 3-5 years old, so we're not talking about house training a puppy. Of course, teh Interwebs is full of "advice" on the issue, including rubbing the dog's nose in it and swatting him with a rolled-up newspaper. Seriously?!? Still?!?

I found info on the ASPCA site. Ah - a credible source! And I may have found info that actually applies.

If you've been following Nicki's story, you know that prior to her rescue, Nicki had been left outside tied to a fence for a prolonged time. Long enough that all the spots had been sunburned off her nose. (They're coming back now. And they're adorable!) Since we don't have any real information, there are a few scenarios I can imagine that would lead up to the situation from which Nicki was rescued.

Scene 1: Nicki's cute. Someone got a cute dog, but never bothered to actually house train her. It takes more time and patience than some people anticipate. Add to that, if the dog is left home alone during working hours, there's nobody to continue the training through the day. On top of that, she's small. There is a physical reality about small dogs: small bladders. After coming home to puddles repeatedly, someone might resort to tying the dog out all the time. Obviously, that's not a good choice.

Scene 2: Nicki may not have always live with the household from which she was rescued. From her behavior and manners, I'd guess that at another time in her life, Miss Nicki was someone's pampered pet. Much as she is now. She craves attention, and doesn't like being separated from her people, especially me.

On the last few occasions I had to be away from her briefly, she pulled a silk scarf out of my yoga bag. She did no damage whatsoever. I think she cuddled with it. Another time, she got my leather gloves off the kitchen table. The Hubs found them in her bed. The only marks on them were very light ones from when she carried them to her bed, again, I suspect, to cuddle with my scent. I worked three full days in a row last week. That's unusual. The first day went well with no problems. The second day, we got a poop on the rug. The third day, we got a piddle puddle. So, the net result of all these stories is: Nicki gets separation anxiety. She mostly handles it well, but she does still experience it.

Which brings us back to Scene 2. If the guy who kept her tied out was not her original family, she may have been experiencing separation anxiety. An impatient person might decide the "dumb dog" can't be house trained, and exile them from the house. Although she's one of the least destructive dogs I've ever known, that anxiety has to find an outlet, and for Nicki, that can be "inappropriate" elimination.

I use quotes because there's very little that dogs consider inappropriate!!

So what's the point of writing all this? To encourage newer adopters not to give up. Don't be discouraged. And DOUBLE DOWN. We're going to be going back to basic training. Nicki's pretty good about going to the door when she needs to go out. As long as she can't get to that spot on the rug, she'll wait. So - we're going to make sure that dining room door stays closed. Hopefully at some point we'll be able to leave it open (we have to go through that room to get through the house), but for now, it stays closed.

Another thing we need to alter is our approach to treating appropriate elimination. I realized this morning that we give Nicky a treat every time she does her business outside - but we actually give the treat when she comes IN. I'm going to try staying out in the yard with her and giving the treat outside immediately after elimination.

And - I just realized that I'm writing about accidents AGAIN. Well, it's a genuine problem. And the point of writing this is to encourage adopters to keep on keeping on.

The conversation between the Hubs and myself this morning was short. It consisted of us telling each other that we hoped the accidents would eventually truly stop - but that every morning with Nicki was such a joyfest (The DH's term) that we really don't care that much. Life with Nicki is so much nicer that an excessively clean rug is not a deal-breaker. There will be no "return to sender" on this pup. Absolutely not.

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