Monthly Archives: September 2010

Dealing With Doggie

It’s turned into an unfortunate habit.  The diminutive dog, struggling to secure its position of importance in the household, occasionally decides to soil the Persian carpet that runs the length of the ten-foot long corridor of our apartment.  The hardwood floor beneath it is not dried out yet, although its varnish has worn away some time ago and its lackluster surface begs for protection from infrequent onslaughts of urine.

Two black circles have formed in the corner she prefers.  I noticed them when I was about to roll up the carpet and take it to the cleaner. Embarrassed, I laid the carpet down again so my landlord wouldn’t see them during an unexpected visit.  I know from experience that urine spots on wood floors can only be removed by sanding them out.  We had a wired-haired dachshund back home while I was growing up that was about fifty or so pounds heavier than normal and was never housebroken — she did her businesses wherever she pleased, and whether indoors or out made no difference to her.  She had a mildly villainous streak, but this one, this neurotic Chihuahua, is not as bad.  So long as I keep her under control.

My wife is lackadaisical at best when it comes to training Chi Chi.  She praises her for urinating in a small pan filled with high-tech super absorbent kitty litter made in Germany. Though when she pees on the linoleum floor near the front door, she is never admonished.  We simply sop up the urine as quickly as we can before one of our guests arrives, my wife using a wet rag soaked in a weak bleach-water mixture or me, with old-fashioned paper towels to get the job done pronto.  I keep insisting that my way is more practical and less of a headache, but my wife is more stubborn than the dog. No matter how many times I preach to her about the virtues of training a dog to go outside, she resists in hearing my gospel.  Doggie is great, she says, what a beautiful little puppy, mommy loves the baby, mommy wants to eat the baby (in a playful way, not the voracious, although a Chihuahua if prepared properly with ample seasoning would unquestionably be tasty, I imagine).  I’ve told her countless times that I can’t do everything — work all day then come home and train the dog by night.  Although thanks to me Chi Chi understands a fair share of commands, a few of them being to jump, to go inside if she’s in the bedroom, to come, to go “walkies” and to get down, in other words off the furniture, not to mention the all important “no.”  My wife hasn’t yet taught her one word, she’s still thinking of something she wants her dog to do on demand.

Training a puppy is a demanding task that is not for the feeble.  It requires willpower and patience, both of which my wife regrettably lacks.  As a result the puppy, nearly a year old now, is blatantly asserting her dominance.  She barks at my wife when she’s seated at the dinner table or even when she’s walking about.  Then I am exposed to the abhorrent site of my wife’s calf being made love to by this feisty, pint-sized bisexual canine.  At first I thought the dog was enduring some kind of hormone imbalance that was related to her first heat cycle that is just about winding down.  But an Internet search using omnipotent Google confirmed that she was demonstrating she had the dominant role in their relationship.

The crucial thing with dog training, which is essentially rearing, is to make the dog understand from the beginning who is the “alpha,” or in layman’s terms the boss of the pack.  In our household there are three of us.  The dog understands, thankfully, that I am indeed the alpha and what I say is the rule of law.  She, in her mind, is next in line of command, leaving my wife at the rear of the pack.  The situation I now find myself in is needless to say delicate.  I need my wife to regain her position, or even better, to surpass me and take the helm.  I don’t mind being the beta, and she understands this as I tell her on a daily basis that she definitely needs to be the boss of at least the dog (I let her think she already is mine). If only her sentimentality caved in somewhat to show her the way…

I read somewhere that the most effective household products for getting rid of urine odor and most importantly, confounding the doggie in locating her spot to pee are white vinegar and baking soda. Although the latter is rather cheap, white vinegar can be a bit pricey but the stuff I found is certainly potent and seems to do the job nicely. She absolutely abhors the smell of it, as does probably any non-human creature on earth.  My technique is to soak up the urine from the carpet using paper towels, which takes a few minutes since I apply two sheets at a time for maximum absorption. Once that is done, using a spray bottle I dampen the area with white vinegar, then let that sit for some time before coating the spot with baking soda. That stays on for a minimum of 15 minutes, although yesterday I left it overnight before I finally vacuumed it off.  The problem is that she can either find another spot for peeing on the same carpet or else use the linoleum floor, and she urinates regardless of whether someone is looking. But she is tricky. Chi Chi placates us when our attention towards her is beaming by peeing in her “litter box” as a way to receive an award, usually a slice of apple, a spoonful of her homemade mock harissa  or some vitamin-fortified treats that my wife found in a pet store.

Chi Chi is not hard to please, which is obviously a good thing.  But getting her to pee where she should on a consistent, regular basis is extremely challenging. I suppose the challenge is part of the fun in having a dog to begin with.

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