Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The First Month: Cute Dog or Cunning Escape Artist?

The short answer: both.
Housebreaking continues to improve. Izzy so wants to please us and is a creature of habit. Both good things. But she's also a little, ahem, In and Out burger, and I must watch her every second after she eats to encourage her to go outside or on the wee pad. If I remember to immediately take her outside we have success. But she still doesn't love walking on a leash. Anytime she has an accident inside we firmly tell her "no." Anytime she goes on the wee pad or outside she gets a small treat. Each day gets better. Meanwhile, we've been gating her in an alcove that connects to a small bathroom with a tile floor when we leave her alone.

However...Izzy has never met a gate she couldn't beat. The first time she showed total disregard for barriers was when I gated the stairs to keep her on the ground floor. It was an eighteen-inch high gate I use to contain my younger daughter's pekingese, Ken, whenever I petsit him. Ken respects the gate. Izzy pushed it over and scaled it like it was a fun hurdle in an agility course.

I dragged out the twenty-four inch gate that has contained two children, five dogs, and two cats. Okay, the cats always went wherever they damn well pleased, but the wood and plastic mesh gate worked just fine with the kids and dogs. This gate was battered and the plastic was separated from the frame a little. Ken respects this gate. Not Izzy. After I gated both doorways of the bathroom and put Izzy inside before going out one day I turned around and she was in the hallway. Didn't I just put her in the bathroom? I wasn't positive, but pretty sure. I put her inside once again and was telling my husband my uncertainty when we look down and see Izzy pushing her head through the gate. It was like the pink slime scene from Poltergeist. The hole was small but she wanted out, and out she came.

So until I order new gates with wire mesh, Izzy will be shut in the bathroom with the regular doors whenever I leave. No views for you, Izzy.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Day Two: Izzy Gets her own Harness

Izzy had captured my heart. She already was a superhero in my eyes. She didn't need to wear Mitzy's red harness/cape to prove it. So the next day I embarked on a new harness expedition to PetCo with Mitzy's harness in hand for size comparison. Almost all of the harnesses had a heavy plastic piece to adjust the neck which would be way too heavy for Izzy's little neck. I hadn't weighed her yet but the rescue lady described her as "just five pounds." I wanted one like Mitzy's, soft mesh fabric only. Christmas buyers had clearly depleted Petco's harness inventory. Then at the bottom of the rack I spotted a little red harness with black trim that was similar to Mitzy's. It matched nicely with the two leashes I already had too: one red, one black, both with rhinestone trim. The red one was Mitzy's and the black one belonged to the late, lamented, Baxter, a senior Yorkie. The Yorkie character, Bear, in FRIGHT ON, is mainly based on Baxter. To complete the package, and feeling very tech-savvy, I engraved a chrome, bone-shaped ID tag using Petco's magic machine and attached it to the harness. When I got home and tried it on Izzy, it fit like a charm, even though she reminded me of Marcel the monkey from Friends. We kept the harness on her the whole day so we could quickly attach the leash to take her outside when she needed to go. For housebreaking to progress, anticipation, timing and speed were critical factors. She wasn't thrilled with being on a leash (she bit the little rhinestone trim, either as a display of her hatred for being tethered or as a test to see if they were real diamonds), but overall, she seemed fine with her new harness.

Until it was time for bed. When we removed it she ran around  the house like crazy, happy to be unencumbered.

Next on Adventures in Izzyland: Cute Dog or Cunning Escape Artist?