In all the time I have had Alvin (six months and counting) I have not ever felt impatient or angry toward him. There have been many occasions when either of those emotions would have been appropriate but for whatever reason, I have never felt that way........until recently. It has been raining and cold here and Alvin's response to this has been to go to the bathroom in the house. I would have compassion for him, if it were not for the fact that I have a large covered patio right outside the door and it is the area Alvin normally uses to go potty. In the last couple of days, I came upon many a urine puddle in my living room, which thankfully is all tile. It is not a matter of him not being able to get out because we have gone back to me freezing my butt off because I often leave the door open for him. When the back door is not open, I keep a very close eye on him and when he starts to do his potty prance I jump up, open the door, stand by the door while pointing to it, and telling him, " you go potty, Alvin", in my best potty voice. A couple of nights ago I watched him carefully and he started to engage in a particularly pronounced potty prance of running circles around a chair and on every loop he would glance towards the open back door and continue to loop. After approximately 15 loops he then squatted and urinated on the floor. I jumped up, while making the agh, agh noise and showed him the back door. This appeared to have little impact, other than the initial slight reaction to me saying agh, agh and running towards him. For a dog that is afraid of his own shadow, he tends to have little reaction to corrections. I have continued to keep a close eye on him and I have watched him while he keeps looking at the back door and I can practically read his mind. He clearly considers it and he knows that he is supposed to go out there and yet, most of the time he chooses to go inside. I don't know why I even bother jumping up and reminding him of the open back door because he seems to have made up his mind that he will be using the indoor "facilities." I am tired of cleaning up the urine and it makes it particularly frustrating when he stands right next to me and nearly puts his nose in it while intently watching me, because evidently me being his personal maid jut fascinates him to no end. I do not want to pick him up and make him go outside when he starts the potty prance because of his fear of being lifted off the ground. I only lift him when putting him on or taking him off the bed. I want him to only have positive associations with being picked up and I think he would become increasingly upset with being picked up if it were to be put out in the weather that he is clearly trying to avoid. I think I am going to have to start taking him by the collar and dragging him outside. I use the term, dragging because he will undoubtedly put on the breaks and slide his way outside. We had previously established a system of me jumping up, opening the door, showing him with my hand that the door is open, while telling him to go outside and go potty. He has me trained to the point that I then have to go sit on the couch and not move because if I give any indication that he will be missing out on something he won't go out. With me jumping through his many hoops, I now find myself frustrated and at times a bit angry that he insists on going inside and that it is clearly premeditated.
Alvin has been happy to occasionally have a bed buddy at nighttime. Lately Stevie has started to want to sleep on the bed again, which initially made me very happy until I realized that she was occasionally wetting herself in her sleep. She came to me with the problem but it was managed very well through medication. It became such a non-issue that I quit giving her the medication with great success, but let's just say that she's back on it and leave the rest of the details unmentioned, other than to say that I am one of the only adults with a plastic, urine-proof mattress protector. Alvin has seemed quite happy with Stevie on the bed and Maddie, the cat is fine with it as long as everyone remembers that the dog bed belongs to her.
To add to Alvin's many abilities, I am now convinced that the boy is not only able to read, but also manages to get on the computer in order to do so. I came to this realization after countless times of me writing on this blog about something Alvin absolutely will or will not do, only for him to turn around and make a liar out of me within 24 hours. As you recall, I very recently wrote about the fact that once Alvin lies on the bed, he won't move no matter what. The very next night Stevie got on the bed and was sleeping near both of us. Alvin got up, moved next to her, and went back to sleep with the two of them nearly intertwined. Since that night, he has been sleeping very near, if not right next to Stevie and he looks so content. Stevie tends to be quite a sleep kicker and she takes both of her back legs and repeatedly kicks very hard against whatever is next to her. She does it in her sleep, so although it's not personal, it's quite a jolt. Alvin sleeps right through it and stays right next to her. I am hoping to protect him from the realization that the female beside him is trying to literally kick him out of bed because I just can't imagine that is good for a male's ego. The good news is that once Alvin finally lets down and goes to sleep, he sleeps so soundly that I have checked his breath a few times to make sure he wasn't dead and so the combination of Stevie becoming the Karate Kid in her sleep and Alvin in a near coma, it seems to work. I imagine that Alvin is risking internal injuries by sleeping so close but what's a few bruises for the sake of a good cuddle buddy? Huh, that doesn't sound like a very healthy message but in Alvin's world, it makes sense.
Maddie, the cat must have been watching Stevie and Alvin because she has renewed her efforts to try to cuddle with Alvin. Twice last night I watched as Maddie plotted her attempt to sleep next to him. Both times she walked around him very carefully until she could find the best way to get as close to him as possible. Both times Alvin popped up nervously and turned his head away from her and refused to look at her. I think he get afraid that she is going to pop him in the face because on a couple of occasions when he accidentally ran into her, she gently "patted" his face with her paw. Last night she laid very still until Alvin finally laid back down and I could hear her purring motor fire up. She made the mistake of trying to then lick his face and he then popped up, refusing to look at her again. She so wants to groom and mother him and I think he would benefit greatly from that relationship, but he seems unable to overlook the fact that she has claws. If he only knew that the only way I would be completely powerless to ever give him up is if he finally allowed Maddie to have her own pet dog. Of all the dogs I have had here, I am yet to find Maddie's pet dog. In the meantime, I find myself showing Alvin how Maddie goes out in the rain and cold and goes outside to go potty even though she has a litter box in the house. I realize I have hit rock bottom when I hear myself saying, "See Alvin, look how brave Maddie is. She goes potty outside and you can too."
Upon further reflection I realized that I am in a nuthouse. I have a cat that not only wants to be a dog, but desperately wants her own dog. I have Stevie who continues to steal wallets out of purses, and let's not forget her unfathomable eating and vomiting habits that don't warrant repeating. And then I have Alvin.......where would we begin in describing his nuttiness. With all that said, I realized that I am the common denominator and so what does that make me? (I will be shutting off the comment section so you all are unable to answer that question because sometimes the truth isn't worth it).