Securing The Perimeter
What the HECK?! For two months we have been working on pottying outside, leash manners and sit. The photo to the left is what we have accomplished to date. Juno is more than willing to sit anytime, anywhere if there is food in my hand, Maya follows her big sister. As you can see we have one stubborn holdout of the bunch. This week Sunshine had TWO accidents in her crate. TWO!! We are not happy about that. She has had amply opportunity to go outside but is much more interested in sniffing all of the new smells from the emerging wildlife and melting snow. Too busy as such to waste time pottying…Until today.
When dealing with a Freegle you never know what they are going to respond to or how they will react. When I hold a treat in my hand Juno and Maya’s butts automatically hit the floor, cookie follows. They get it. Sunshine… well, clearly she has other things on her mind.
Each Freegle comes with their own set of training issues that are sometimes a challenge. Maya took all of her cues from Juno and learned to sit for her meals without me ever spending two minutes teaching her, but she is a submissive piddler. That is my challenge with her. We have spent a lot of time working on her confidence and she is doing wonderfully. We still have accidents occasionally and everyone in the house has learned to never try to chase Maya unless you are outside and it’s play time. If she jumps on your bed you best run to the other room and make a lot of noise playing with the other dogs so she comes running. If you try to grab her she will piddle, yes on your bed. If you do, it’s your own darn fault, you were warned!!
Sunshine, as many of you know, comes with several issues, subscriptions really! She still paces nervously around the house but it is getting better, in small doses. Back to those two accidents we are not happy about. She holds her pee because she is too busy when she is outside. She is such a scent hound and her desire to follow a scent very strong. If Sunshine ever escaped I am fairly certain she would end up somewhere in New Jersey or even Ohio without ever once lifting her nose off the ground.
Our morning routine is fairly simple and straightforward. Get up, go right outside for piddles, back inside for breakfast immediately thereafter, playtime outside before work. Sunshine almost never pees first thing but rather searches and secures the perimeter. Round and round she goes as the minutes tick by. Training tips suggest giving them 5 to 10 minutes to do their business and Maya can be pretty well trusted to go on command. Sunshine does not. If I tell her “Go potty” one of two things will happen. 1. She ignores me. 2. She looks are me as if I have wounded her deeply for interrupting her morning sniff-about. Today I took back the power. We went out as normal and everyone pottyed, except Sunshine. A lot of things must have happened while we were sleeping and she needed to be updated right away. So back inside we went and Sunshine was put into her crate. Knowing she peed in her crate the other day in this very same scenario I decided to change things up. I fed the other dogs but not her. I put her food in the table next to her crate and opened the crate door. I said, “Let’s go Sunshine. Outside.” She dutifully followed me but was unwilling to leave the deck, knowing her breakfast was waiting for her. It was a standoff. Me against the Freegle. She looked at me, wounded again by her mean foster mom. I looked at her and said in my usual stern voice, “Sunshine GO potty.” She stepped off the deck and walked about 10 feet circled and peed. Really?! I saved my incredulity for later on and praised her and immediately brought her in and fed her. Let’s hope this works tomorrow and the next day until we can safely get all of those 250 pennies in the jar. Until then I may have to continue to dream up clever ways to outwit our Sunshine. I imagine her secretly laughing at me behind my back as I try to keep up with her ever changing agenda.
Our time together is becoming shorter as it looks as though she will be going into a foster to hopefully adopt home in the coming weeks with a wonderful family who wants nothing more than to give her the time and space she needs to learn to stop outsmarting her humans. We will get as many pennies in the jar before passing it on to her new family. Keep your fingers crossed for our Sunshine.
Peace and Wanderlust,
Kate & Sunshine