Thursday, January 30, 2014

Like children, a dog's behavior gets worse before it gets better.

Never co-sleep with your darling little puppy.  One day you won't want to share your bed with a hairy farting fleabag (the dog, not your husband) that insists that sleeping between her human mother and father. Your sleep is disrupted by your always-at-ready-to-protect-you canine, that will pop up from a deep sleep at 3 AM because she heard a leaf fall outside and feigns a full bladder to get the opportunity to drag you from bed to open the door so she can explore, instead finding the trail of a raccoon that she must follow. We go to bed between 11-12 and she goes outside to potty before we hit the hay.  We expect her to sleep and not wake us up until about 6-7 in the morning.  Juliet wakes us up several times every night. Sleeping in bed with just my husband would be nice.  Together we made a decision to retrain Juliet to sleep alone.

Ask any parent or teacher...When you make a change, behavior gets worse before it improves.

When Mark and I go off, we put Juliet in the kitchen, where she happily waits behind the gate that separates her from the carpeted rest of the house (that she will wet on) until we return from wherever we went and deserted her.  She is familiar with the gate (our fourth, she broke out of, chewed up, or climbed the others), her food and water bowl,  the potty pad that she uses only in a pinch - she can "hold it" for about 6-7 hours, and the fact that when she is placed there, we always return and free her from her kitchen jail and the gate is opened to the rest of the house where squeak toys abound.  She tries to hold it, but if we are gone a long time, she will use her potty pad.  She can jump on a stool and look out the window.  She probably barks her head off.

The kitchen is a familiar lock-up, why wouldn't she adapt quickly to her new overnight digs?  Nope, Juliet is in a full war with us to reclaim her spot in our bed.
This darling little pooch is really a monster.
The first night she intermittently cried and whined and yipped all night long.

The second night she cried, whined and yipped, she ripped the stuffing from her toy, pulled the cushions from the chairs, climbed onto the table and knocked the oranges to the floor.  She refused to go outside before bed and pooped next to the potty pad on the tile, pulled her bed to the middle of the room, and knocked over her food bowl.

The third night we moved the pads out of the chairs so she wouldn't be able to jump onto them.  She jumped, pulled pads off the table, knocked a chair over (we didn't hear that?!), pooped next to the potty pad, missing both the newspaper we added and the potty pad, tore both to bits, knocked over food and water, drug her bed from it's spot and urinated on the floor and drug her bedding through it. She figured out if she wrapped her paws around the bars, she can jiggle the gate and make a good noise. Oh and since she worked herself into a tizzy, she threw up. Twice.

Last night there was yipping and whining, We turned the chairs away from the table, cushions on table with my purse and jacket.  She couldn't get onto the table, but she was able to pull everything off through the rungs on the chair backs.  Juliet pooped and missed the potty pad, but it was closer this time, hitting the newspaper, so we suppose her front end was on the potty pad. She did urinate on the pad, yay. She did not knock over her bowls, but drug them from their regular spot. She moved her bed and blanket from its original spot, which is her choice.  A little improvement.

Tonight we plan to make sure nothing is on the kitchen table, we will move the chairs out of the room and the food bowls will be on the counter (nighttime is for sleeping, not dining). We will continue to leave a potty pad and additional newspaper beside it, and are considering moving her bedding into a box (open to the side, so she will feel safer, more enclosed. It has been freezing and we hope for some warmer weather tonight to take her out for a long walk and get that bad girl energy out of her system.

UPDATE 1/31/14 - Last night after a good walk and potty - she held it until morning :) we decided to move the chairs, not into the garage because it was freezing outside, but in the kitchen away from the table.  One went in front of the pantry, the other near the fridge. The dish towel was moved from the rung of the stove. We didn't have a box, so Juliet had her regular bedding on the rug in front of the sink.  It was mostly quiet last night (!) but she did bark a little once, which we ignored. Mark's unlocked car was rummaged (nothing taken) and this was probably what she was barking at. Then at 4AM we heard a loud slap sound.  Juliet had jumped from the fridge chair to the counter top, walked across clean pots, pans and knives that were drying (!) and made her way to the end of the counter close to the closed gate to the living room.  She knocked down my pill dispenser (a few were on the floor) and a sample piece of wood flooring (the slap sound).  We caught her there on the counter.  She was worked up, panting and drooling like she does when there's a thunderstorm. The second time she woke us up was 5AM and she was making noises like she was moving furniture.  She had opened the cabinet under the kitchen sink. I will put a rubber band on the knobs to stop that problem. Crazy dog WILL get used to her new nighttime digs.  She is very very smart and will keep pushing out buttons until she realizes she will not win.
Juliet is such a fighter.  It is a battle of the wills.  Last night I put her bed in a box, one side open so she could come and go.  We thought she'd like that and maybe feel more secure.  Oh contrair mon frer!  JuJu battled with that box all night long!! We could hear her trying to beat that box up, scratching/digging it and trying to push it, but with her bedding inside, it was too just heavy for 5 pound Juliet.  Momma suggested laying the chairs on their side and that was a brilliant idea. Juliet could not get on table or counters.  I guarantee that if she could, Juliet would have pushed that box over to the doggie gate and jumped on top, then leap over the gate to freedom. What would she do? Go to our door, slip a paw under and jiggle the door and beg to resume her spot in our big warm bed.  So glad that didn't happen!  We wonder now, maybe she is afraid of the dark? Tonight, chairs on side, bedding - no box, and a night light. Maybe this will be the night that we get to sleep uninterrupted by Juliet the Terrier Terror. Potty pad had poo and wee - Bullseye!
Pretty delighted with a 6:15 wake up call! The night light must be the charm. We did not lay the chairs down and when I went into the kitchen, Jul was on one, doing the panting/drooling panic thing. Maybe she got up there and was afraid to jump down onto the hard tile. More likely, she just thought we'd hear her occasional pitiful yip (I thought she might have her head stuck in the gate or something) from a higher spot in the kitchen and, since I was awake and it was (close to) morning, I went to investigate. The potty pad had wee, no poo anywhere, thanks to Mark taking her on an evening walk. Tonight's plan: evening walk, chairs will be removed completely and the night light will remain on.  I would still love to sleep, uninterrupted, until daylight wakes me up, not a rotten little dog, but it looks like she is getting used to the fact that this is where she will be sleeping from now on. My morning hours are erratic; I get up at 5:30 two or three mornings a week to babysit for a good friend's daughter, who happens to be a neighbor. After their father leaves for work, I wake two little girls, feed, dress, brush teeth and hair, then their mother gets home around 8. I am naturally an early riser, but I'd just prefer no alarms (dog or clock) on the other mornings.
OH WHAT A GOOOD GIRL! We are having a PUPPY PARTY! Although I think I may have heard one pre-dawn yip, Juliet has finally soothed herself and allowed us to sleep through the night uninterrupted. Halleluia!! Oh Happy Day (sing it with me).  It was 7:30 as daylight peeped into my window and I stretched and wondered, "Is she dead? Has she somehow hanged herself in the dog gate?" and I hurried to the kitchen. The sweetest little bright-eyed pooch was sitting on the other side of the doggie gate, grinning at me with her ears smoothed back flat on her head. Juliet smiles a one-sided lip raise, like Elvis. She KNEW she was a good girl and she was proud of herself.  We keep a little container of coveted chewy dog treats on the counter within reach of the gate and I took it and shook it and told Juliet how amazing and brilliant she is, while Juliet did the trick she knows means YES, which is to spin in circles. I opened the gate and she went straight to the front door, hurried outside to relieve herself, then without being tempted to sniff some night critter's trail, she immediately came back inside and spinned in circles again (yes yes yes). I gave her not one, but TWO treats. Ohhh what a good girl! I am so so so pleased with her good behavior. I could write a book about how fabulous this feels to have a good little dog and how wonderful I feel after sleeping through the night. I haven't felt this rested in five years. Oh. My. God. This is magnificent!  Juliet's bedding has been moved a bit, but not far, and that's her choice, and I pushed it back to the corner with my foot. Since I moved the chairs to the dining room, the counters and little cafe table were undisturbed. There was a plastic shredded plastic shopping bag...I think it was on the pantry floor and held the new package of potty pads. I can visualize her now, having a ball pulling that bag out from under the door. Her potty pad is placed in front of the door to the garage and that was flipped over with wee wee on the backside and a little bit on the tile nearby. Although she took a walk last night and did her duty, hiding underneath the pad was one little poopie, so it appears that she went on the pad, then decided to hide/bury/flip the pad over. With no place to urinate, she used the top. Yorkies have a bladder the size of a walnut and I don't expect her to hold it all night. Not a problem, I threw everything away and quickly cleaned up the minuscule puddle on the tile with a sudsy paper towel. Juliet dutifully broke the rubber bands I looped over the door knobs on the under sink cabinet on the two prior nights, but last night I switched to a loop of elastic (I sew), and she was not able to open that cabinet and left the others alone.  It is incredible how pleased I am with this one single night of success, and although she may have a rebellion in the future, it is clear that she knows what we expect. She is sleeping beside me on the couch now as I enjoy the wonderful morning. Occasionally she wakes up and we have a "chat" about how very good she was last night and how much better our lives will be if this will continue. I swear to you, she stares into my eyes with a look that say, "I understand".  She is dreaming now, her little paws are running fast and she twitches her ears and making an occasional muffled woof, surely chasing bunnies and squirrels.  Juliet dreams that she is king of the yard, protecting us from monsters.  I hope she catches a big one.
SLEEP GLORIOUS SLEEP! Brilliant Juliet understands that momma-lady and daddy-man mean business. Her good behavior last night proved that Juliet can be even more perfect than we dreamed. Mark's good friend came through town and spent the night. Kevin has yorkies, and while he gave Juliet lots of fun little dog attention, I wondered if she would revert to her familiar bad behavior from her kitchen jail during the night. Because I was tired, I went to bed at 10, Mark had the task of making sure Juliet was taken care of. Mark and Kevin took her outside to roam around the front yard for a while, then back inside for more ball chasing and lots of good doggie cuddles before they went to bed around midnight. I woke up early to a quiet house and a little stream of dim light peeping through the drapes.  My first thought was that Kevin let Juliet sleep with him. I am pretty sure that both of their dogs sleep in the community bed. I tiptoed into the kitchen and lo and behold, there sat our smiling little girl, good as gold, in the kitchen. I am beyond thrilled with her good "company" nighttime behavior.  Her food/water bowls were in place, no water spilled. Her bed with fluffy blanket on top was against the wall, not pulled apart into the center of the room. And except for a little wee spot in the center, her potty pad was undisturbed. The under sink cabinet still had the elastic band holding the doors securely shut.  Juliet is (finally) a very good girl and was excited to get her well-earned morning chewy treat. We are so proud.

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