4 Months 2 Days- The Pee Standoff

Oct 30, 2004 | Stitch's Story

I’m annoyed with myself about the fuss I made over her Stand. As a trainer, I should know better. As a person, I’m surprisingly relieved that it’s behind us. Breakfast is brief and I get sidetracked – one of the best and worst things about clicker training is the danger of constantly being sidetracked by offered behaviours. Since the table worked so well for teaching her duration for the Stand, I decide to start her there for Eye Contact as well. Work X20 on Paws Up. She remembers and jumps her front paws to my knees immediately, and needs very little reinforcement for me reaching for her body before she stands up and lets me reach. Then I pick her up, put her on the table, ask her to Down and start clicking Eye Contact. The fourth time she offers it, she crosses her left front paw over her right. I click the Eye Contact. She takes the kibble and immediately crosses her paws again. This is, incidentally, NOT the Sore Paw paw, which is her right. It’s a totally spontaneous new behaviour. Well, what can I do? I abandon Eye Contact and click Princess Paw X20. Then some visitors come and she gets the rest of breakfast free.

For lunch we work again on Paws Up, then on Princess Paw. Then I give her a bath. She stands in the tub much more quietly than last time, doesn’t try to get out at all. Whines a bit near the end. Now I know why dogs don’t get treated much in the middle of a bath – the kibble gets wet and soapy and yucky. Then I put her on the table and dry her with the dryer. Again, she handles it very well. Gets a little antsy when I dry her neck and buries her face in my neck – doesn’t feel bad enough to refuse the food, though. She holds that position until I’m done. Again, I don’t dry her head, but that’s a real grown-up thing to expect.

Apparently I’m not the only one in the family who can have hissy fits. She’s going to bed with no supper tonight. Our routine is that Scuba gets the dog dishes, I feed Scuba, then Stitch goes out to pee, and then we work. Tonight she jogs to the door, runs outside, turns around and sits down, staring at me. I tell her to go on about her business. She stares at me, then she gets up and comes in the dog door. I call her back and tell her to go outside. She wags her tail and runs off to the grooming table where we’ve been training for the last few days.

Nyuh uh, short and furry, that’s not the way life works. I go sit down and do some work at the computer. This annoys her. This Is Not The Way Things Are Supposed To Happen. She does Paws Up on me, but I’m working at the computer. She Sits and Stares. She Downs. She Princess Paws. She Paws Up and whines. She barks at me. This is not her little puppy “what’s happening” yap, this is as close as she can get to a full-fledged get-off-that-chair-and-feed-me! bark. I work at the computer. Sometime later, when she’s lying down (no doubt feeling Put Upon), I ask her to go outside again. Once again she runs out the door, turns and sits, then runs back in the dog door. Hoky doky. So here I am working at the computer again, after which I’ll ask her one more time to go outside. If she goes, she’ll get her bedtime cookie. If she doesn’t, she’ll go to bed hungry. And probably yap until the cows come home, and probably have to get up to pee in the middle of the night. I thought this might be because of her scissored feet, but she’s been outside playing on them all day, so that’s no excuse.