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March 1st –First Anniversary of that Rainy Trip to the Dog Shelter

March 1, 2015


Last March first it was raining in San Diego. I know because that was the day I adopted Tashi. (See my blog, The Puppy). March first has again gushed in and we are celebrating our first year together, stuck in the house, listening to the much-needed rain on the skylight. We have survived backyard mushrooms and dead gophers, attack dogs at the local dog park, a trip across country to Wichita and back, and outings to San Diego’s Fiesta Island. I now have a tee shirt that asks, “Are you smarter than a Border Collie?” The answer is no.

We do share a common trait, stubbornness about following orders, but she has me beat in persistence. Her trainer ‘s dog is currently winning a gazillion awards in obedience. Lyric reads her owner’s mind and obeys. Tashi reads my mind, too, but she decides when she wants to obey. Every other dog I know jumps up and down with excitement when their owner brings out a leash. Tashi evaluates. I can see her thinking, “Am I going to get stuck in the car while she runs into the post office? She has one of those envelopes with her.” “Does she really think walking around Home Depot counts as a walk?” “ Is it worth that long ride to go to the beach?” What if she takes me to that crummy dog park with those nasty attack shepherds?”

Tashi usually likes big dogs. At Fiesta Island, she picks out the biggest, scariest pit bulls and Rottweilers to play with. But ever since I asked the guy in the white truck if it was ok if we joined them in the Mt. Miguel dog park and his attack dogs jumped her, German Shepherds have not been her favorites. That guy isn’t my favorite, either. His game is “going to the rescue.” It was only after he waved us through the gate and into the fenced area that he mentioned his dogs didn’t like puppies.

Putting on Tashi’s walking harness and leash has become a keep-away game that SHE enjoys. I have learned to close the doggy door before grabbing her paraphernalia or even mentioning a walk, so I have a fighting chance of reaching her before she bounds out into the back yard.

Tashi’s trainers (actually the people trying to train me to train her) continue to emphasize the importance of going potty on demand. (For her, not me. My eagerness for pit stops is legendary). I understand the value of minimizing the time for a pit stop during a long road trip, especially if I forget and decide to let her go first, but this training endeavor requires leashing her up in the morning, walking downstairs to the backyard, finding a spot and issuing the “go potty” command, regardless of the weather and my current pre-coffee state. About a month ago, standing in THE SPOT I composed a poem, which now rattles around in my head every morning.   I call it,

On the Futility of Asserting Dominance in a Relationship with a Border Collie

Tashi, Tashi, Please go potty
Looks at me aloof and haughty
“Let me off this leash, I will”
Can’t let you off this leash until…

Oh look, you peed!
Well that’s a start
Did I hear
A little fart?

I took you to
Your favorite spot
You don’t need
To do a lot

Tashi, I am tired and cold
Your stubbornness is getting old
“Let me off this leash I will”
Can’t let you off this leash until…

Continued battle
Of the wits
One of us
Must call it quits

Tashi, Tashi, please go potty
Looks at me aloof and haughty
“Let me off this leash, I will”
Can’t let you off this leash until…

Obviously you can see who is winning…

  1. Nice. Last night and this morning Baron left us a present on the mat. I think its perhaps the rain that prevents him from waiting to do this thing outside. When we came downstairs to his “Den” we spotted his deposit. We looked over at him both at once. Baron turned his head away from us but life one eye looking in our direction. I’m sure if he could whistle he would’ve and just pretended he had no inclination as to why we seemed perplexed. Needless to say.. Dog and favorite ball spent the day outside on the patio.

  2. Interesting about the guy in the White Truck. Hadn’t heard of Dog potty training – great idea

  3. Patrick, I have had dogs that did that. I think Tashi would just hold it until she blew up! Yep, Don. The guy with the 2 attack dogs loves to play the rescuer. I heard more about him when I went to another Chula Vista dog park. When folks see his truck, they go elsewhere. That day, a kind gentleman opened the gate for Tashi to run into the small dog area, thank goodness.

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