Saturday, April 4, 2009

Trash Talkin'

My sweet, cute, cuddle-bug of a dog KeeLee has turned into a holy-living terror. It's like she's the equivalent of a two-year old (probably because that's how old she is in human years). And from what I've heard about two-year olds, my comparison isn't too far off.

For the most part, KeeLee is a good dog, albeit she's still got a lot of puppy in her. She loves people, her two baskets full of toys, cuddling, and playing neighborhood security guard from our living-room window. We've had our problems along the way... for example, when she was just a baby she had major separation anxiety. She didn't want me out of her sight so going to work everyday made for an interesting situation. She'd get angry with me for being gone so long (or bored because she was home alone) and I'd come home to little surprises like a brand new box of empty dog treats on the floor, shredded, with vomit piles trailing the hallway because she'd snarfed down every bone in the box. Or, if I gave her dry dog food instead of wet, she'd act out by pulling her dishes into the middle of the room and tipping them over (this includes the water dish). And if my roommate left her bathroom door open, toilet paper and whatever else seemed interesting that day would decorate the tile floor.

But for the most part, KeeLee outgrew this so called "puppy" stage and began to mature (she really had no choice after I had gone through three different baby gates trying to keep her confined to one section of the house while I was at work- I didn't have the heart the kennel her because she'd have a nervous break-down).

So when Michael and I moved into our new home, I was curious about how KeeLee would adjust. We didn't seem to have any problems. She quickly became accustomed to where her food and water dish are, and every time we open the pantry she assumes she's getting a treat because, well, that's where the treats are. She's adopted the overstuffed chair and ottoman in the living room as her guard post (I hear the neighborhood view from the back of this chair is to die for if you're a dog), and she's enjoying Zabee, the next door dog who is of the same breed, but male.

What KeeLee isn't enjoying is the fact that as of late, Michael and I have been doing home improvement projects, and have been unable to give her all the attention we usually do when we get home from work. Thus- the horrible behavior.

It all started last Friday when I came home from work and the kitchen garbage littered the entire kitchen floor and dining area. I scolded her and began cleaning up the mess. Upon finishing with that, I noticed that both my formal dining room table, and my kitchen nook dining table had little puppy footprints all over the surfaces. So I got the pledge out and cleaned those off. Then I noticed she had an "accident" in the living room on the carpet instead of her puppy pad. We don't have a doggy door just yet so we put down puppy pads for her while we're gone, and for the most part she's very good at using them. If she's stressed or not feeling good, we have the occasional accident, but nothing I'd consider intentional.

So all of this was last Friday. And all of this has continued for exactly one week. Every night when I'd get home from work, the trash would be tipped over, gone through, and little treasures identified and strategically placed in both the living and family rooms. More little paw prints on the surfaces of my tables, and apparently more accidents (what dog wouldn't be sick after eating through a 13 gallon trash bag?).

Yesterday morning I came downstairs after getting ready for work and found that she apparently didn't want to wait until I had left, and got an early start. Trash. Everywhere. Tired of picking up garbage every night, and now morning, I put it out in the garage so she couldn't get to it while Michael and I were at work.

You'd think that would solve the problem right? Think again.

I am convinced that she stewed all day over not having any trash to dig through and decided she would somehow get even with me. So yesterday evening I come home and begin preparing dinner. Since I was cooking, I brought the garbage back in the house so I could easily clean up after my mess. All it took was me not looking for 5 seconds, and the trash was all over the floor. I paddled her butt and put her outside in "time out" while telling her "just wait until your father gets home!" (Look at me being all parent like). I cleaned up the mess and then got a brilliant idea. When she was younger, she had a chewing problem like most puppies. To break her of this I bought some sour apple spray that is supposed to smell wretched to dogs. Basically, you spray this on whatever they are chewing, and it breaks them from the habit. It worked then, so it should work now. I spritzed all around the outside and then even the inside of the garbage. Thinking I had just found my much needed solution, I decided to test KeeLee.

Micheal and I left to run some errands after dinner, and I decided to leave the garbage in the kitchen to see if she would leave it untouched while we were gone. I just knew my solution would work, so you can imagine how thrilled Michael and I were to return home to the worst garbage mess this entire week. IT.WAS.EVERYWHERE.


I give up. I guess from now on I'll be putting the garbage in the garage before leaving for work. The temptation is just too much for her little dog mind to handle. The only humor in all of this is her "Oh, SHIT!" face when we get home from work. As soon as I walk in the door she is all conflicted between wanting to run up to greet me with her slobbery kisses, tail wagging, and excessive panting of "HI! HI! MOM I MISSED YOU! HI!" to her immediately remembering exactly what she had done that day and I see the tail go between the legs and her "Dammit! I couldn't resist and now mom is pissed off at me, I'm so not getting a treat" look.

I think once Michael and I are done with house projects that consume most of our evenings and weekends, and once we can start giving her the attention she's used to having, all this bad behaviour will go as soon as it came. But I can only hope. If you have any suggestions on what to do with her, I'm gladly open to feedback.

It's like I told her last night "KeeLee, I still love you, I just don't like you right now."
(Wouldn't Dr. Phil be proud?!)

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