"Still a Kid at Heart"
IT'S ALL A GAME
20 September 2005
Sheila and I have developed this new game, which has arisen out of the complaints by the neighbors about her barking.
I have started locking her in at night, which seems to go all right (except that either Pepper or Kimba has, in desperation, used the Pergo as a potty mid-night. Poop on the Pergo!)
Sheila wakes up, like clockwork, at 6 a.m., and heads immediately for the back door. I don't dare keep her in because who knows how much has collected in her bladder overnight?
So I open the door and she bounds out into the backyard, looking like Bambi's mother bounding out onto the meadow. I hold my breath, but she remains quiet.
I finally relax a bit, sit down with my coffee, and she starts barking. Not incessant barking, mind you, but enough to be heard, and always under the window of the complaining neighbors.
I open the door and call her in. By this time I have already blocked off the dog door and when she comes in the sliding glass door, I shut it behind her, so she's locked in the house again.
She had reached the point where I didn't even have to call her. The sound of the sliding glass door opening would send her running toward the house.
Up until today it has gone just fine. She comes in and gets either (a) lots of loving and praise for coming when I call her; (b) breakfast, because she hasn't eaten yet; or (c) a treat, just because I've heard that intermittent rewards work better than consistent rewards.
I don't want to call her in with the promise of a treat because somehow that seems like rewarding her for barking. I'd rather wait until she is inside the house and then reward her for coming when I called her.
However, as she has proven time and time again, she is a very intelligent dog. It has only taken a few days for her to figure out that if she comes in the house when I call her, she won't be going out again for awhile.
This morning she bounded out into the yard, did her preliminary ablutions and then ran over to the side by the neighbors' house and barked. I opened the glass door and she ran to the door, but refused to come in. She stood there, daring me to chase her, which I refuse to do.
You have to laugh. She's so darn funny when she is defiant, standing there with the big grin on her face, just daring me to come and get her. That's what it is: that toddler kind of defiance. "I'm not going to do it and you can't make me."
Problem is, she's right. I can't make her. She knows I can't catch her and if I chase her, she's won. It's really a full time job trying to stay one step ahead of this dog!
It has been suggested that I get a citronella collar for her, to help teach her not to bark. She is so quick that it might very well work. I just hate to spend the money for it, but if it comes down to it, I will.
The other problem child, Pepper, is causing me some concern these days. The other morning, I woke up with the front of my nightgown wet. I couldn't figure out how it had gotten so wet until I was sitting at my desk and Pepper came in and vomited at my feet. He must have vomited on me during the night while sleeping in my lap.
He wasn't interested in food at all yesterday, not surprisingly, but by evening was starting to act hungry and so polished off his dinner (I gave him a small amount rather than the normal amount). Later, he was curled up in my arm while I watched the Emmys and suddenly he got up, kind of fell off the side of the chair, staggered into my office and vomited again.
He later went down the hall and vomited in front of the bathroom door (puke on the Pergo), which I cleaned up right away.
This morning there is a big pile that looks like everything he ate last night regurgitated under my desk chair.
I've alerted Ashley to what's going on and we'll see what she has to say about it).
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is my newest desktop wallpaper--