Let’s Make A Deal

zebrarug.jpgNot one to dwell much on life’s happier moments, I quickly moved on from the Llew victory to the next challenge: maintaining a urine free home. I’ve always had indoor/outdoor cats. The disadvantage is that they may live a shorter lifespan due to environmental concerns—cars mostly. The advantage is that they can live a happier life climbing trees, chasing rats and using the world as their litter box instead of my living room.

When driving up to Auburn, we thoroughly discussed go word options. Go words are what you say when you want your pup to, well, “go.”

Note: When you pick your “go words” choose wisely. Just like a name, these words will stay–some would say haunt–you and your pup for a long time. You will be saying these words over and over and over again.

P. suggested, “Do your business.”  But I’d heard that one so many times before. It was so old and so tired. And what if we were out and there was another owner telling his dog to do his business?  And another owner out a few feet down doing the same?  If we all had the same go words we could potentially set off a cataclysm of dog urine throughout the city.

It was my duty to think of something original to keep my neighborhood from washing out under a sea of pee. I wanted something dignified, mature and original.

After some thought I offered, “Close that deal.” 

While P. didn’t exactly bring the car to a screeching halt to celebrate my genius, he did nod and smile which was enough for me.

I was especially concerned about accidents as a few months prior to getting Stella I’d finally made the huge decision to buy a zebra striped rug for the living room. It had coffee and cream colored stripes.  I decided, worst case, I could handle Stella having an accident on this rug—but only on the darker, coffee colored stripes. I hoped she would understand.

Unfortunately, I was to learn that dogs don’t speak English and they definitely don’t have an eye for style. Puppies speak the languages of food, water and full bladders every 15 minutes.

Not long after Stella arrived, the zebra striped rug became a target with no regard to at least hitting the coffee stripes vs. the cream ones. But, in fairness, every area was a target.  This is because Stella, and all other puppies, pee like there’s no tomorrow.

Stella peed before, during and after eating. Before exercising and after. She peed after getting up from naps. And she napped constantly. Turns out, she was the best saleswoman in town; she was closing deals left, right and center. So much so that I began charting her sales levels to see how she was doing:

Day 1: 11 deals closed,  1miss (living room.)

Day 2: 15 deals closed, 2 misses (kitchen and dining room)

Day 3: 14 deals closed, 2 misses (zebra rug and dining room.) Managed not to mame her.

This charting would go on for weeks. And each miss, every time, was my fault. I didn’t let her out quickly enough. I didn’t recognize the signals. It was never, ever her fault. Ever. This was and is, I think, the number one take home lesson to learn on this issue.

As the charting continued the days turned into weeks. And then the weeks into months. And finally, we were in December when, at about the six month mark in her little cowprint life, all of Stella’s deals were being closed out doors.

The technical term for this, I believe, is house trained. If your dog doesn’t close a deal in your house for 30 days straight, she is house trained.

Hallelujah.

To celebrate this momentous occasion I made the phone call I’d been waiting to make since nearly day one. Nope, I didn’t call P. right away. Nor did I call any close friends or family. I called the carpet cleaners and had  the zebra striped rug professionally cleaned. For $109, I was left with only a faint, faded splash of yellow as a reminder of the deals Stella closed as a pup indoors.

The rug didn’t actually look all that bad before the cleaning. But for me it was important to realize a few things. One, the rug’s perfection was no longer of great import to me. And two, I did like being able to have some sense of control. I didn’t have to have a beat up looking living room. I didn’t have to have my hardwood floors scratched into oblivion. I didn’t have to put up with a couch coated in dog fur. I was beginning to understand that, with some diligence, some training and some patience I could, unlike all those puppies are hell articles, have my greyhound puppy cake and eat it too.

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One Response to “Let’s Make A Deal”

  1. wellaontheweb Says:

    We already had Roxie, our Maltese puppy, for a few months when I read this post last month. Too late — we were already saying stuff like, “Did she make poo-poo and wee-wee?” to one another. How was I supposed to know we had to pick our “go” words as soon as we got her?

    This week, however, with Roxie already approaching her 8th month birthday, I believe we’ve come upon our version of “close the deal.”

    I took Roxie for her morning walk today and said, “Do your numbers.” She did number 1 by the sidewalk. All right! Unfortunately she did number 2 at the top of the stairs inside the house so we’re still working on the house training part.

    At least we have the language part! “Roxie, do your numbers!”

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