When I met my husband, he had a beagle he loved very much who lived to be seventeen-plus and took his half of the bed out of the middle, perpendicular to us, every night. When Hannibal died, it was the second time I ever saw my husband cry. (The first time was my close brush with death having our first child. That’s how much he loved that dog.) Now, Hannibal was half-blind, half-deaf, and a real pain in the butt by the time he passed. He barfed frequently and barked at nothing at all, but we loved him. (Actually, we still have him. His ashes are in the pantry, way up top, and sometimes I come across them and go, “What’s that? OH. Hey, Hanny.”)
It was a while before the kids talked us into going to the pound to get a new dog, but when they did, I fell in love with another beagle. The pound papers declared she was practically perfect in every way, and we brought her home.
She was actually a monster. She must have been abused because she peed on the floor every time my husband came home from work. She still pees sometimes when my husband’s dad comes over. Research proved that’s actually a thing. Submissive urination. Who knew dogs could be kinky?
Said papers also promised that she could hold her bladder for 8 hours at a time. I think that was code for, “My previous owner left me locked up all the time.” Which is awful. And translated into her sneaking off to pee in the SAME SPOT in the family room every time we left her alone. Um…for a couple years.
But the kids really loved her. Like, a lot. And a promise is a promise. We brought her home, by gosh, we were going to find a way to live with her, even though we are terrible dog trainers, and our house smelled of pee.
First, we started gating her (leaving her in an enclosed area with an open crate) when we left because excrement is easier to clean up off of linoleum and tile. Now, my memory of all this is a little fuzzy because of the sleep deprivation of having three kids. I think the crating helped. Some. Since we let her sleep with us, and we still had to get up every night and chase her downstairs and outside to keep her from sneaking out of bed to poop and pee in her favorite spot. Because this is what you do when your dog trains you.
Finally, I’d had enough of that. We started gating her at night, but she’d howl, so around 2 am, one of us would get up, let her out and then let her get into bed with us. We are good humans. (This went on for about a year.)
Finally, finally, I’d had enough of THAT. We stopped getting up. So she broke down the tension gate, shit in the living room, and got in bed with us. It was very confusing in the morning. Wait…what? Stop licking my leg! Oh. Crap.
Somewhere in all this we probably gave up a couple of times and backtracked. It was just easier to get up with her at 2 am, let her out, lie on the couch until she wanted to come back inside, and go back to bed. (Yes, I know how pathetic all this sounds. I was very tired.)
I planned to buy a bark collar. A shock collar. SOMETHING.
And we also needed to get a gate she couldn’t ram. I wanted to buy an extra-long tension gate, but my husband told me he could fix the problem for two bucks at the hardware store. I was skeptical (because I’m that wife), but he came through like a champ. She can ram all she wants. This gate ain’t going nowhere.
The same day my husband rigged the gate, I bought THIS:
When the dog barks, it makes a sonic beep that only the dog can hear, and, ideally, the dog stops barking. Ironic, right? The howling dog doesn’t like the noise! I wasn’t sure it would work. The woman who sold it to me wasn’t sure, either. Some dogs can’t associate an unpleasant noise with their howling and barking. But Layla could, and this freaking egg of amazingness changed my life. I get to sleep through the night. No one plays the “but I got up with the dog last night card.” I don’t suffer the guilt of pretending to be sound asleep so my husband will get up with her. It is bliss. (It also worked for a friend of mine whose neighbor’s dog barked outside all the time. She plopped this little sucker outside, and the problem was solved.)
If your dog is a barker, I highly recommend you try this little space-age-looking gem. I got mine at PetSmart. Amazon has them…for a higher price. 🙂
The cherry on top of this sundae of awesomeness? We bought a new king-size bed. (A life goal! Once we get a headboard, we’ll be real adults!) It’s so tall, the dog can’t get up into it! We don’t have a dog in our bed anymore! Ever! If your wondering why this is so exciting, you’ve never slept in a bed of dog hair with a scratchy paw up your butt. Now, when my husband gets up at 5 am to go to work, he lets the dog out, and then she gets into bed with our middle kid. Middle Kid loves this. I love this.
Everything in life is perfect now. Well…
Except for the carpet.
Do you have any funny pet stories? Feel free to share them or make fun of us in the comments. I can’t believe that nonsense went on for years. YEARS. Especially since it was solved in, no joke, one night. *groan*
All commenters will be entered into my fall/back-to-school giveaway of a gift card to Amazon, B&N, or The Ripped Bodice.
Pets…you gotta love ’em! (Or at least pretend you do and be convincing enough that the kids believe you.)