During Gizmo’s two mile walk this morning, two women exercising their dogs stopped to say how “cute” and “adorable” Gizmo was. If Gizmo was in my life when I was 17, I might have lost my virginity a lot earlier. As it is, he is becoming a conduit for meeting the people in our neighborhood.
Yesterday, he forgot that we wanted him to urinate on the path behind the palm trees above the pool. Both Grace and I took him there, but he merely went briefly into the path and then ran off to signal that it was TIME FOR A WALK!
When I called him back and insisted he spend some time on the appointed path, he went on it, sat down and stared at me with his bright, expectant, beautiful eyes as if to say, “You piss on this path if you want to. I want a walk.”
So we went back to square one and, after the walk (yes, I gave in, but I wanted a walk, too), I took him out to the path about every hour or so. The first three visits resulted in Gizmo sitting or lying down and looking at me in a most open, yet quizzical manner.
Our fourth visit was pay dirt (pay-shit?), with Gizmo urinating and defecating in the appointed place. He was then praised and petted, and given a treat, which he immediately accepted in his mouth and then released at the beginning of the path – there’s no telling when Gizmo might like a treat and enjoy finding his released treasure on that path.
So, after the briefest of retraining, after being released from his cage, he ran to the path this morning and quickly urinated, standing still for only a moment of petting and praise, after which he dashed to the back door and his expected, deserved walk.
The lesson: to re-train a good dog one needs eternal vigilance for only a few hours. Gizmo got the idea much, much faster than any of our three children, each of whom resisted toilet training in their own way. Perhaps we just needed a path behind the palm trees and a leash.
"A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down." --Robert Benchley