It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Another twist, maybe?

Rory is very good at puzzles.

Shape-sorter? Never had to be explained. He took one look at that thing and started pushing the pieces through the right holes. Nesting toy? Getting the pieces in the right order took a little consideration, but after a day or two he had that nailed, too, a feat his age-mates have yet to come close to achieving. He’s good at putting the toys away, too, once he understands what’s being asked. I don’t have to tell him which bin the soft toys, blocks, books, go in. It’s a puzzle, isn’t it, matching like to like?

Good with puzzles, our Rory.

The puppy had a long walk with her big sister this morning. I walked 2.5 km; Indie probably ran for double that. Daisy alternated between periods of running madly off in all directions to the fullest extent of her leash, and periods of exhaustion caused by all the madly off in all direction-ing, during which she must be carried. All told, she probably galloped a good 2 km.

She had three pees and a poop during that time. Outside! Yaaaaay, what a goooood, goooood, puppy! Here, have a yummy treat, you smart, smart, smart puppy. Goooooood girl!!!!

Home, breakfast, dishes, clear table for daycare activities. Take puppy out for a pee. Gooooood puppy! You did a pee on mommy’s violets! Goooooood girl! Here, have a treat for being such a smart, smart puppy!

And then the crate, because I can’t watch the puppy during arrival time. Too much activity, too many distractions, and adults, they are far less easy-going than small children about being abruptly interrup — NO! Bad puppy! No pee! — ted to whisk a suspiciously-positioned puppy out to pee.

The sky is looming grey and sullen, but we go out anyway. It’s not actively raining, they all have rain gear, and the stroller had a rain shield. Daisy comes with us. Another 2-km outing for the puppy, two kilometers of racing madly ahead, and stopping dead in her tracks by a new sound (they’re all new), a new smell (they’re all new), a new thing to look at (they’re all new). It takes 45 minutes to go 2 km.

And she pees three times and poops once! Outside! Yaaaaay, what a goooood, goooood, puppy! Here, have a yummy treat, you smart, smart, smart puppy. Goooooood girl!!!!

The rain begins to spatter as we enter the house. The front hall is a welter of boots, babies, and coats. And in the midst of all that… Daisy pees on Tyler’s coat. Tyler, who is the only child not wearing a lovely, 100% waterproof raincoat, but rather a puffy ski jacket. On the inside of Tyler’s puffy ski jacket.


Into the crate with the puppy, and lesson learned for Mary. This is one of those can’t-attend-to-puppy times. Thus, she should have been crated before we started peeling off the coats and boots. Even though she did just pee three times in 45 minutes. Now I know.

The next few minutes, putting coats on hooks, children in high chairs and snack on table is also one of those periods I can’t monitor Daisy closely enough, so she will have to stay there for a bit. Despite her piteous whimpers. (Another puddle on my floor and I’ll be whimpering. Better you than me, dog.) Coats on hooks, I head to the kitchen to chop up the fruit. Fruit on platter, I return to the dining room… and trip over the puppy.


Emily, at five-and-a-half, is the most coordinated, but unlikely to break a rule. Tyler, three-and-a-half seems the most likely suspect. “No, I didn’t.” Emily corroborates. “He was colouring at the table with me.”

I consider the others. No idea. Pop Daisy back in the crate as I put food on the table and get the baby into her high chair, while keeping a discreet eye on the puppy crate. And it happens. Rory squats down in front of it, grabs the latch, and slides. Daisy bounds free, delighted.

I should have guessed. For Puzzle Boy, a simple sliding latch is a no-brainer… and yet so very irresistible. I get it — but I can’t tolerate it.

The solution is pleasingly low-tech. Let Puzzle Boy work THAT out!

‘Course, he is very good at puzzles… At the very least, it should take him long enough to be noticed…

May 25, 2011 Posted by | Developmental stuff, Mischief, Rory, socializing, the dog | , , , | 2 Comments

Cause and effect

House-training continues.

For Romeo, that is. Right now no human child is potty training in my house. Tyler is done, and no one else is ready to start. A small breather.

We had hit a bit of a wall in the puppy version. See, while Romeo certainly seems to have grasped that we DO want him to pee outside, he did not at all understand that we did NOT want him peeing inside. We’d been keeping the house relatively puddle-free by dint of hourly pee-breaks, but Romeo? Was not with the program. It is safe to say that he was totally oblivious that a program existed.

What to do? Consult my all-knowing internet dog guru, of course! “Introduce treats to the training!” she said. If the consequence of a pee in the house is a startling “NO” and being whisked outside, while the consequence of peeing outside is delirious joy and a TREAT… well, it won’t take him too long to make the distinction.

Makes sense to me!

Romeo likes this new twist. Very much. Now, having peed outside, he will sit and look up at you expectantly. “See? I’m a GOOD BOY! Aren’t I a GOOD BOY??? Treat, treat, treat, treat!!!” all the while his wee tail going a mile a minute.

We’ve seen progress, too. Indoor accidents have dropped by 50%. YAY!!

Which is why I was a little flabbergasted the other day, as I stood in the kitchen, chopping stuff, to look down and see Romeo, PEEING AT MY FEET!


And then, when he was done, he sat down, his wee tail going a mile a minute. As if he’d done something GOOD. As if he expected to be praised. As if he were about to get a…


The chopping board holds a small pile of dog treats. Dog treats which I was chopping into teeny, Romeo-bite-sized morsels, suitable for use as Motivating Rewards.

Rewards for what?

Well, peeing.


January 26, 2011 Posted by | my kids, potty tales | , , , , | 5 Comments