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Monday, October 18, 2010


FLD Gus, snoozing.
I'm testing FLD Gus this week.  When he wakes up from a nap, or slops a huge drink, or plops down after a round of play, I don't immediately scoop him up to rush him out to "park."

I wait.  And I observe.

If I keep a close watch there are times when he heads toward the door, or gives a little whine, and I run him outside.  FLD Gus can hold himself in his crate.  He knows that "park" does not mean he can relieve himself in the pen.

But I don't trust him.

I look for a sign that he understands that he cannot relieve himself in the kitchen, or the living room, or upstairs.

The Breakthrough
I sit at the kitchen table, reading my Women's Studies assignment for the week.  FLD Gus drags Gypsy's square cushy-dog-bed from the corner over to the rug in the middle of the living room.  He's been suckling it since we brought him home from Leader Dogs for the Blind.  He grabs a corner, rolls over onto his back, and flips the bed over to cover himself.

I glance up from my studies to see the upside-down bed (with a wiggly black-lab-tail sticking out) float in circles around the room, careening off the couch, the rocking chair, the front door, and back against the loveseat.  At the sound of my giggling, the bed settles.  Suddenly, a hump appears and with a snort the bed flips back and FLD Gus bounds away after a wayward Kong.  I turn my attention back to reading.

"Mmmmmmmm."  I don't notice the faint whine at my feet at first, but some inner sense causes me to glance down.  FLD Gus is in a perky sit.  When he realizes I'm looking at him, he waddles to the front door.  Facing it, he peeks over his should at me.

Do you have to go out? I ask.  He turns his head to the door.  Good boy Gus!  I clip on his leash and take him out to park.

FLD Gus parks in his sprinter's stance and pees a river.  Good park, Gus!  He looks up at me with relief.

I'm ecstatic.  It's the first time he clearly indicated his need to "park," and held on to tell me instead of merely taking a stance right where he was!

FLD Gus follows me upstairs.  As I stand in the doorway of Andy's home office to tell him the good news, Gus squeezes in between my feet.

"That's great," Andy says from where he's working at his desk.

GUS!!  NOOOO!!!! I scream.  Andy jumps.  FLD Gus looks back; he's in his sprinter's stance with a growing puddle of pee beneath him.  NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

I snatch him up and race down the stairs.  Luckily I left his leash hanging on the chair by the door.  Outside we go and Gus finishes his park.

Generalization.  Puppies don't.  This was the very first time FLD Gus went into Andy's room.

Figures.  He went!

Andy holding the culprit, FLD Gus.

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