We got a new dog a little more than a month ago. The kids and I had been wanting one for a while; the wife isn’t really an animal person. I kept watching Craigslist until I found one that sounded really interesting. Some folks had found him, taken him in and trained him, but couldn’t keep him and their own dog. They called him Little Dog because he’s smaller than their other dog. My youngest daughter renamed him Bubba, and they are inseparable most of the time. Bubba is half border collie and half blue heeler.
Now, Bubba was trained to ring a bell when he needs to go outside and potty. But we were having trouble with him pooping in the house at night. Not just anywhere. Bubba would drop his load under my chair at the dining table. He knew it was wrong. All I’d have to do was point at it and he’d tuck tail and scuttle away.
Part of my justification in getting the dog was that I needed exercise and would get some of that by walking the dog. After the first week or so, I became lax … and the pooping in the house began. Bubba, you see, likes to poop anywhere other than his own yard. I began walking him regularly in the late evenings. We walk and walk. He marks every light pole, sign post, fence post and clump of grass he sees along the way, and eventually he squats and makes a Bubba dump (usually when there’s heavy traffic passing us). So, every evening we walk, he poops somewhere new, and not under my chair at the table.
Last night he began barking and wouldn’t stop until I put the leash on him and we walked. Today, he got all agitated and was running from the file cabinet where I left the leash, nudging it with his long pointy nose, then running back to me. Back and forth, until we went for our walk a bit early. He had to poop pretty bad, it turned out.
Later on the walk, he decided he wanted to go a different direction. He didn’t pull on the leash, though. He’d get a few steps ahead of me and turn in front of me and stop. I went around him. He passed me, cut in front and stopped. I nudged him out of the way and went on. He cut me off again. To which I told him, “Dammit, Bubba, I’m not a sheep. Stop herding me.” Then we turned at the corner he wanted to turn at and took the long way home.
So, Bubba has taught me how to avoid getting poop on my floor. He’s taught me how to know when he wants his walk. And now he’s teaching me his preferred route. I swear he’s smarter than most people I come in contact with on a daily basis. Oh, he also learned how to filch pancakes off the table without being seen this evening. If only he’d learn how to make us rich …