Sunday, October 30, 2011
Here's hoping for a warm winter
I don't have a doggy door and while Alvin is learning how to let me know he has to go potty and/or learning the concept of holding it, I have been leaving my back sliding glass door open 24 hours a day. Now that I have written this on the internet, let me provide my address and directions to where the valuables are. Don't be alarmed because two factors prevent me from being burgled. First, I don't own any valuables. Second, I have realized Alvin's hidden talent as an exceptional guard dog. Alvin gets a little mixed up when it comes to his fear response. Instead of running away when afraid, he runs towards whatever is scaring him, stops about three feet from whatever it is, and then when he isn't scared anymore, he runs away. You can't win them all but I figure that we will use this oddity to our advantage and if I can just teach him to bark or even to do that loud trucker burp on command, he could run towards the intruder and be one intimidating burping/barking force with all of his 18 pound badness. Well, I don't really know how much he weighs because I would have to hold him while I stand on the scale and with Alvin's fear of being held I can only imagine how well that would go. Right now he only needs surgery on his back legs but I fear that if I tried to hold him for any period of time that he would jump down and need a full body cast. So, back to our issue at hand. The sliding glass door situation has worked until now because with winter here I am beginning to freeze my butt off. I broke down and closed the door a few times, which initially sent Alvin into a whirling dervish of circling frenzy because it was a change and made him nervous. I have noticed that whenever the door is shut that I am a hyper-vigilant mess watching him to make sure he doesn't go potty in the house. It is particularly important that he not go potty in the house because I have learned that if he does it once, it throws him off and we spend a couple of days having to re-learn where to go potty. Alvin's anxiety is usually a hindrance for both of us but for the last couple days I have found that there is one situation where it has been very helpful. When the door is shut and Alvin has to go potty, his little eyes get really buggy and he starts running back and forth between the living room and the door. Although that probably sounds like a clear cut cue, it is easy to be mixed up with a myriad of other reasons Alvin runs around but in this case, if one watches very carefully there an additional frantic quality that indicates it's a potty call. The problem is that once I realize what's up, coupled with his buggy eyed frantic look, I tend to involuntarily leap up and run to the door, which of course scares him and he starts circling and won't go outside because he thinks a crazy person is holding the door for him and so I have to go in the other room so he feels safe enough to go outside. It's a mess but it's better than having a mess in the house. I know he wouldn't make it the whole night and so the door stays open during the night and I am learning the true meaning of the saying, three dog night. It could be one long, cold winter and so I selfishly hope for a short, unseasonably warm winter OR that Alvin finds a way to wake me up in the night to go out. You can definitely place your bets on a short, warm winter because it's far more likely to occur. In the meantime, I am definitely counting our blessings and it does not escape my notice that learned very quickly where to go potty and that he is learning to communicate his needs. In the beginning of this blog I wrote a lot about knowing that Alvin was trying to communicate and my frustration at having no idea what he was trying to tell me but in a relatively short amount of time Alvin has increasingly communicated what he wants and I am starting to learning his circling, whirling language. As I write this, Alvin is sitting about five feet away from me and is staring intently at me and this is an example of a time when I know exactly what he is trying to tell me and it goes like this, "get off that butt you been sitting on for an embarrassingly long amount of time, waddle yourself into the kitchen, pick up the bag of treats on the counter and hand it to me. No, not one treat, hand me the bag." And this is one of many times I will pretend not to understand him.