Monday, July 25, 2011

Alarm Clock

Zoe was never beaten or struck in any way. I would yell sometimes, but that was even rare. I treated her as I would a child. And what do children crave most from adults? Attention.

When Zoe misbehaved, as puppy's tend to do, I would give her, "time-out". "Time-out" consisted of placing the dog under the kitchen table and making her stay there for an allotted time.It began with five minutes. If the dog moved from the spot, I placed her under the table and told her, "Ten minutes" and so on. During "time-out" I would not look in her direction. This pained puppy more than you could imagine. She was a very social dog. Very social.

When visitors left my house she would run to the screen door. The door had a solid bottom panel and a removable screen/storm window on the upper half. Zoe would place her paws on the door and look out the screen, whining as people left the house. She believed everyone came to see her and no one should ever leave.

Puppy learned the concept of "time-out" quickly. When she was naughty I only had to say, "Five minutes" and point to the table and she would obey. One day, she took the concept of "time-out" to a new level.

Zoe liked to rise and shine early. Up with the sun and out with the birds was her mantra. That meant I did not get a chance to sleep in. How did she wake me? She would check to see if I was stirring in bed. And she knew the difference between sleeping and pretending to sleep. If I was drowsy in the morning she would walk to the footboard and bite my toes. WHOA! That's a wake up call. Nothing says, "get your butt out of bed now" like a dog biting your feet.

Her little tactic earned a "time-out". I was still sleepy so I told her, "Just five more minutes, Zoe, five minutes." She left in a huff and laid in the hallway. Five minutes passed and puppy returned. "Ten minutes, Zoe. Please, just ten minutes." Again she turned tail and laid down. This continued for 20 minutes until Zoe would have no more of my snooze button antics and barked at me and I got my lazy bones out of bed and let her outside for her morning ritual.

I wondered if she really was coming back every five minutes when I gave her the command. The next day, I tried the snooze alarm bit again this time checking the clock when she left the room and when she returned. Sure enough, she was spot on with the time.

I waited a week and did the snooze alarm command once again. Five minutes, ten, all the way to 20 minutes - each time Zoe got the command right. What a dog! Zoe, the wonder dog.

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