Let me start by saying that I love Toby. He's adorable, sweet, cuddly, fun and delightful in numerous ways. However, the one thing about having a dog that is far more troublesome than I had envisioned is the almost obsessive interest I am forced to take in his elimination habits.
Early on we realized that he was a sneaky pee'er. He had one main spot: behind the chair in the TV room. I would walk in, smell the telltale odor, and then have to drag out the paper towels and the special spray from the pet store, over and over. He would also occasionally go in the kitchen and sometimes in the living room.
I didn't really know what to do, so I tried a lot of things. Obviously we started taking him outside more often. I also bought one of those fake grass pad things, thinking it would be perfect for when it was raining and he absolutely refused to go out (which is apparently a universal Italian Greyhound trait).
I'm kind of embarrassed to admit how excited I was when I noticed that it had been used! Unfortunately, it didn't take long before I realized that our cat, Trillian, was the one using it. I caught her scratching the turf several times and eventually walked in on her when she was actually peeing on it. Weirdo.
Last weekend I thought we had finally cracked the code. We had his outdoor schedule pretty consistent but when it rained he balked, as usual. I got out a wire kennel and started confining him for about an hour every time I took him out and he refused to do his business. Then I'd take him outside immediately after he was released. And it worked! At least until this week when it got really cold.
Yesterday and today he started refusing to even walk when we took him out. He went an entire day without pooping, which is pretty bad considering that he'd had four meals in that time.
It turns out (as far as I can tell) that his fit of stubbornness was because he didn't like having his sweater on under his jacket. Apparently that threw him off his game completely. After a day of increasingly difficult behavior from him, I finally took off his sweater and he immediately asked to go outside, whereupon he trotted joyfully up the street and immediately took care of all of his biological necessities.
So this is obviously going to remain a battle, probably indefinitely. I can't believe that at this stage of my life I'm having entire phone conversations with my husband about the number of times the dog has peed and pooped during the day. But there it is.
Oh, for the simpler days when all I had to do was scoop a litterbox from time to time! Then again, the cats have never played chase with me back and forth through the house or stared lovingly into my face for long periods of time. It's all a tradeoff.
Photo credit: B Mully