Behind door number 2

Rob finds surprises everywhere he looks

The concept was very simple, elementary, in fact. The basic plan was to train the dog to not crap inside the house. Unfortunately for me, the dog had other plans. It turns out that the dog’s plan was to crap in every single room in the house, twice a day. 

Obviously, the dog and I had very different agendas. I wanted to keep the carpet in the house smelling nice, while the dog was attempting to keep the backyard lawn smelling nice. After spending most of my day cleaning the carpet and cursing, I realized some alternative training was definitely in order. And if that didn’t work, maybe a one-way trip to the countryside. Unfortunately for me, the countryside wasn’t an option at all since my daughter LOVES the dog, which means I’m stuck on K-9 potty-training duty, like it or not. My daughter can’t be bothered with this sort of menial task; she’s a cheerleader.

Potty training a dog was tricky for me because I have never owned a dog before. I do however own two kids, and they haven’t gone to the bathroom on the carpet in years. I figured I could handle it. The problem with the dog was it failed to communicate clearly with me when it needed to go outside. There was no pee-pee dance, no funny constipated walk, and there was certainly no dialogue that said, “Hey Master, I need to go number two, like right now.” 

As soon as my attention drifted away from “Doggy Potty Watch 2015” the dog would sneak away and make a mess of my household carpet that required more cleaning and cursing on my part.

It was bad enough that I had to clean the carpet, but after an “accident,” which I was beginning to think wasn’t an accident at all, I was the one who got in trouble from my wife. She blamed me completely for the doggy’s mistake.

“What happened in here?”

“I think it’s obvious what happened,” I said as I scrubbed the carpet.

“I thought you were watching the dog.”

“I was, but I can’t watch this thing 24 hours a day. The moment I looked away the dog snuck off and did its business. I don’t know why it insists on going to the bathroom on the floor near my side of the bed. I’m starting to take this personally.”

“Pay closer attention and get the dog out of the house at the first sign that it needs to go to the bathroom.”

“I don’t know the signs. I have no idea when this dog needs to go. The dog and I don’t communicate telepathically.” 

“You need to watch more closely.”

“I don’t know what to do differently, other than just crawl around on my hands and knees all day holding a bag near the dog’s rear end.”

“You don’t need to be sarcastic. You just need to let the dog outside when it needs to go.”

“Well, Honey, I do feel the need to be sarcastic, because sarcasm is the one thing that keeps me calm as I mop up dog feces. Without sarcasm I may just say out loud angrily how I really feel about the dog.”

This is usually when my wife, whom I love, stops engaging with me and begins to talk with the dog instead, using a baby-talk voice, “Don’t you listen to Daddy. He’s a big meanie. Do you want a doggy treat? Yes! Yes you do!”

“Don’t give her a treat after she just went to the bathroom in the house.”

My wife ignores me and continues to communicate with the dog, who doesn’t speak English, “I’ll give you a treat whenever I want to! Yes I will! Mommy loves you! Yes she does! Daddy is just a jerk. Yes he is.”

Since it was determined that I was not capable of opening the sliding glass door so the dog could go outside, a decision was made to install a doggy door. This decision was made by people in the house (the wife and the cheerleader) who don’t install anything. They just delegate those tasks to me. 

I headed to Home Depot to buy a doggy door and learned that having a dog is an expensive endeavor. Doggy lovers pay a little something extra at the cash register for everything pet related. I was paying extra and I was still on the fence in regards to my doggy love.

I came home and spent the next six hours cursing, ignoring the manufacturer’s instructions, losing tools, and generally making a mess of the house and the doggy-door installation. 

Once the project was done, there was a hole in the side of the house that the dog could use for ingress and egress. It wasn’t pretty, but it was functional. Unfortunately, the dog refused to use the door, which turned the project into a complete failure. However, the project was successful in one particular area, and that was lowering my property value.

The doggy-door manufacturer provided some training tips on how to teach the dog to use the door. The first rule was, “Don’t force the dog through the door.” Instead they suggested, “Encourage the dog to use the door at the dog’s will.” I’d been encouraging the dog not to use my bedroom as a bathroom, but that has only encouraged me to buy more disinfectant and carpet cleaning supplies.

I spent two days sticking my head through the doggy door and saying, “Come on! Come outside! Come go poo in the backyard!” The dog stared at me like I was a moron, and while I had my head stuck in the doggy door it went into my bedroom and did its business. 

On the third day, the cheerleader pushed the dog through the doggy door and now magically the dog goes to the bathroom outside. Hallelujah! Even though I am the one who installed the doggy door, albeit poorly, my wife and daughter take all the credit for potty training the dog.

“Yes, girls, it was all you. Good job.” Yes, that was more sarcasm. 

Rob Krider wants a cat. You can contact him through editor Shelly Cone at [email protected].

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