Wednesday, December 10, 2008

For whom the bell tolls

As most of y'all know, JP and I adopted our puppy, Jake, earlier in the year.  Though perhaps "puppy" isn't the right word for him anymore.  Since he's a rescue dog we have no idea how old he is, but we're figuring about a year.  Plus, at 75+ pounds... we sure hope he's nearing adulthood!

Even though Jake seems to have a bladder of steel, house-training him was tough.  Mostly because he didn't have to go out all that often but also because to let us know he needed to go out he'd just go sit by the door for about 15-30 seconds and if we didn't jump up he'd assume he had free reign to go anywhere in the house (he preferred carpets).  This was mostly an issue when JP or I lost track of him because we were brushing our teeth, or going to get a glass of water, or any number of tasks that would take you away from the dog for more than 30 seconds.

I remembered that a friend of mine who I worked with after college had trained her dog, Asa, to ring a bell when she needed to go outside.  And because Jake refused to whine, bark, or scratch at the door, this seemed like the perfect solution.  We tied a few bells to an old shoelace (recycle, reduce, reuse!) and hung it from the back door.  For at least a month, every time we took Jake outside we'd make him nudge or bat at the bell.  

He didn't seem to like it nor did he seem to get the point.
And then one day, I was sitting in the living room writing and I heard the tiniest little "dink" from the other room.  Hallelujah it was the bell!!  Jake had nudged the bell to tell me he had to go outside!!  I promptly shoved his furry butt outside (with lots of praise and encouragement) and called JP to celebrate.

Ever since that moment, things have been great.  Jake rings the bell to go out, we let him out, and he is officially house trained!  Bliss!

Until last night.  Sure, Jake rings the bell when he's bored and just wants to go play but he's a lazy dog so that doesn't happen too often.  But last night after we went to bed there was something outside he REALLY wanted to play with.  REALLY BADLY.  I think it was one of our irrigation pipes.  Because he kept ringing the bell over and over and over again.

And it was no longer the tiny little "dink" of before.  These were massive "HELLO, BELL RINGING HERE! I WANT TO GO OUT" very insistent rings.  Over and over again.  Honestly, there was nothing JP and I could do but laugh as we heard the bell crash against the door over and over again.  

Finally Jake gave up and came to bed.  This morning, he seems to have forgotten that there was any reason to do anything other than lounge around all day.  That's the Jake I know and love :)


Lenore Appelhans said...

I am very relieved to hear that your dog didn't die. That's what I was expecting from the title.

Vicki said...

I love the ringing the bell idea. I can so see Jake ringing it to want to go out an play too.

Carrie Ryan said...

Oh no Lenore!! No, he's just fine thank goodness -- sorry for the scare!!

Vicki - he so rings that bell, it's way too cute. I felt so bad for him last night though cause we refused to let him out - lol!

Anonymous said...

I have 2 aussies - they both ring a bell to go "out". Best and easiest way to house train a dog.