Way back when I was learning to ride horses, I learned the adage that when you ride, you’re either training or you’re untraining your horse. Okay, I have to clarify — I started riding lessons at age 38, and then bought a horse, then another. I found homes for my horses before I sold my hobby farm in 2009. So we’re not talking about when I was a kid.
Now I have a new rescue dog, Pete, who spent the first two years of life outside. He could pee and poop wherever and whenever he wanted. I knew there would be challenges in making him an inside dog, since the rescue owner sent me home with pee pads and the like. And when I got Pete home, I found he didn’t pee in the house but he needed some work on the poop end of things.
It wasn’t his fault. And he’s a smart dog. He simply didn’t know what was the right thing to do. I’ve spent the last week or so walking Gemma and Pete together in hopes he copies her potty habits, then walking Pete multiple times alone so he could grasp the concept of pooping outside.
Just to finish off this opening story, yesterday Pete and Gemma pooped in unison during their morning walk and, later that afternoon, they again pooped within metres of each other. I was thrilled!
I held off accommodating Pete last evening because I wanted him to perform this morning on the early morning walk, and he did. Now I can go to work at the retail store without worrying about Pete having an accident in the house.
I feel so happy that this smart little guy is learning to follow his big sister when it comes to body urges on the back end. He even pees where she pees, like they’re a team in marking territory.
This dog story is way longer than I’d planned, but you probably get the sense of success I feel that again, the idea of making it easy to do the right thing, worked. And now I wonder how I can use this idea to make smoother changes in my own life.
I know it doesn’t always pan out. I remember as a child seeing clothing stacked at the bottom of the stairs, where Mom intended her kids to take their clean clothing upstairs to their rooms. We simply stepped around the laundry until it was pointed out that we had to move it upstairs. Didn’t work back then, but kids are a different sort of animal. They are designed to be willful. It’s a phase of their trek to independence.
I often lose my car in parking lots. I simply can’t remember where I parked it. So I’ve made a habit of parking it in a specific area, like against a centre median that has a sidewalk. That gives me an idea of where to look for it.
In terms of forgetting, I log lots of stuff on my phone calendar. Garbage, recycling, end of free stints on Apple Music. And unfortunately, forgetting extends to making things easier. I just had to go change my shirt to a long-sleeve one because I failed to lay out my clothes yesterday as I usually do. Not a big problem, and it’s all okay.
If Pete messes in the house, Gemma and I will just keep taking him outside. Sooner or later he’ll get the idea that he needs to do his business in the great outdoors.
Life can get complicated quickly. Be like Pete. Do whatever you can to make the right thing your first choice.
Gotta run. Have a great day.
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