The Three Ps

I have had a few dogs in my life but never a puppy. Because of that I do not have firsthand experience with house training. I have been lucky that the dogs that have come to me were already trained to go potty outside. Roxy and Spencer are no exceptions. I was a little concerned when both of them arrived but they proved to prefer to “go” outside.

When I want to communicate with my dogs I talk to them and send visual messages at the same time. One day, early in our relationship, I had a talk with them about the need to go outside in the middle of the night. I explained to them that there are three good reasons to go outside, to poop, pee or puke. If they need to go outside they should wake John or me and we will help them.

One night, about nine months after we moved into our house, Spencer came to my side of the bed and let out one bark. He paused for a moment and let out another bark. For the first time ever, Spencer was waking me to go outside. Not knowing how urgent this was, I quickly got up and let him out. I grabbed my flashlight to watch him and see what was so important. Turns out he had bad diarrhea, it was a true emergency.  It appeared he got into something that didn’t agree with him. He asked to go outside for the next few nights. I was really happy he got my message about the three p’s (poop, pee, puke).

Spencer eventually got better and we returned to full night’s sleep. Then one night Roxy came to my side of the bed and whimpered. She needed to go outside. I got up and let her out but it seemed she was a little confused about the three p’s and thought her favorite pastime of patrolling counted as one of the p’s. She really likes to go outside at night and run around barking at whatever she may see or hear. Sometimes she likes to just go outside and bark along with the other neighborhood dogs. At times it feels like a competition to see who can get the last bark in. I explained to Roxy that patrolling is not one of the three p’s. She never came to my bedside again.

Some time passed and Spencer again came to the foot of our bed and let out one bark. Because I handled the last mid night wake up calls, I let John take care of this one.  Whenever we open to door to let Spencer out, Roxy is waiting, nose in the door, to get out so she can patrol. This time it didn’t appear Spencer needed to do one of the three authorized p’s. He just wanted to go out and bark along with Roxy and then rest on his blanket. Oh my…

Now this has become a weekly or semi-weekly event. Spencer comes to the foot of our bed and lets out one bark. Last time he did that he also nibbled on my toes through the sheets! John has been letting him out with Roxy right behind. Spencer is not doing one of the three p’s and Roxy is having a blast patrolling. I think sweet little Roxy has talked Spencer into waking us up so she can go outside and bark her heart out.

I value a complete night’s sleep and somehow need to reiterate to my doggies the importance of being honest about needing to go outside and that there are only three p’s, not four as Roxy hopes for. We’ll have to wait and see how this turns out. Meanwhile, I am grateful we have tile floors because if we decide to simply stop letting them go outside and it is a true emergency at least it isn’t difficult to clean up.

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