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First Times for Rebel

At his former home, Rebel spent nearly all his time tied to a tree.  His Mom said they tried to bring him inside a couple of times during severe weather but he was miserable from the heat and they had to put him back outside.  I’m guessing this means he spent almost no time at all in their home.  House breaking will be a new experience for Rebel.

For a couple of months Rebel has needed close monitoring because of a medical issue he was having.  He has moved beyond that now, but he has become so accustomed to sleeping in the house at night that I can’t leave him outside at night because he cries and carries on something awful.  When his friends, Hudson and Sable are in their kennels too, he’s happy and quiet.  But those two strongly dislike being outside at night if it’s cold at all.  They’d much rather be in their snug warm beds in the bunkhouse.  But I couldn’t put Rebel in there with them because he needed monitoring and frequent trips outside.

Since he had no housebreaking experience I was not willing to take him into the carpeted bedroom where Marie and the other four dogs were all sleeping.  Rebel and I slept in the living room: me on the sofa, him in a crate at first, then on a long tether that gave him more mobility but not the ability to wander off and cause trouble elsewhere in the house.

For the past several nights, Rebel has been able to stay indoors from around 10:00 pm until 5:00 am.  He will get up and shift position several times, but doesn’t ask me to let him out until 5:00 and by then I’m ready to get up anyway.  He also has not had any accidents in the house recently — mostly because I have watched him like a hawk while he’s loose and if he starts sniffing at anything, I take him outside and praise him when he pees out there.

He understands the “no potting in the house” thing, he can get through the night without having to go out, and he is not antagonistic toward the other dogs.  Time to try sleeping in the bedroom.  I would be grateful to be sleeping in a real bed again.  SO we tried that last night.

Sooo … what’s with this fuzzy floor?

I moved his tether from the sofa leg to the leg of the bed and took him in to check it out.  He sniffed everything thoroughly, and I watched him closely.

I got ready for bed while Rebel made his last (or so I thought) trip outside.  Then I settled in with my Kindle to read for a while.

“This is MY place”

What I had not counted on was the fact that Blondie Bear has always laid claim to the chunk of floor in front of my night stand, to be as close to me as possible.  Especially when it’s raining – which it was that night.  When she discovered that I was — at long last — going to sleep in the bed again, Blondie was right there to claim her spot.

That was okay with Rebel, but she was laying on his tether, so every time he got up to spin around and resettle in a cool spot, it jostled Blondie.  Eventually she gave up and wandered off to sulk in the living room.

I finished reading and turned out the light.  Just as I was about to fall asleep I heard Rebel’s soft (almost whispered) “Woo woo rooo” which is his was of saying, “I need to ‘go'”.  So I got up and let him out.  While he was out I went in and snuggled up with Blondie, lavishing some attention on her to soothe her hurt feelings.  When I heard Rebel at the back door, I gave her a good scratching and went to let him in.

I grabbed a wet cloth I had handy and corralled Rebel as he came in to clean his muddy feet.  Then toweled him off.  He tolerated the foot cleaning and enjoyed the toweling.  Then we went back to bed.

It took him a while to settle, even with the heat turned down he was still too warm for comfort.  But he did eventually get to sleep, and so did I.  I heard him stir a few times during the night, but he settled again.  I got up once to visit the bathroom, and once to let Josephine out.  Both times I managed to get past him, he lifted his head, I said, “I’ll be right back” and he put it back down again.  I’m convinced that he now recognizes that when I say that I’m not leaving and everything is cool.  For about a week now this has worked this way with him.

I woke up around 5:00.  Rebel was still laying on the floor with his spine pressed up against the bed, just the way he did when I was on the sofa.  I considered going back to sleep, but my bladder was hinting that it was about to need attention, so I got up.  Rebel decided that was a good idea, and we went to the back door so he could go out.

I got him a treat stick and awaited his return.  He’d kept his feet clean, but was quite wet.  I toweled him off and we went to the den where I gave him his treat.  I left him loose in the room and left the door open so I could hear when the other dogs got up and wanted out.

Rebel wandered out into the hallway once, I called him back and said, “Stay in here.”  We’ve had this discussion before and when he refuses to comply he gets tethered to keep him in the room.  Today he remembered those lessons:

He wasn’t sleepy so he wandered from peeking out the door to looking out the window to sniffing at Blondie Bear (who was sleeping on a dog bed in the room), to sitting by me to ask for skritchies, to playing gently with one of the toys in the room to laying on the other dog bed and watching me work, then go check the door again to see if anyone else was up yet.  All the while being very quiet and exceedingly well behaved.

He didn’t get rowdy until the sun was fully up and I had not yet begun dishing kibbles.  He was HUNGRY!  Marie was sleeping unusually late to day.  So I put him outside, not in his kennel: that would make him cry and fuss since he would be alone.  Just out in the yard to wander and play.  He could take shelter in the dog play cabin if he wished.

Marie must have heard him get fussy, for she was up soon after and I dished up kibbles, fed Rebel in his kennel, brought out Hudson and Sable for their breakfasts, gave each of them a potty run when they finished, and put them back in their kennels so I could go in and fix breakfast for everyone else.

Rebel had been SO good overnight that I decided to bring him back inside and see how he did while I made dog treats.

Guarding the oven full of dog cookies

In short, Rebel did REALLY well.  He was tethered but he had access to a front window, the water dispenser, and the area where I was cooking.  We made peanut butter dog cookies, dried hot dog treats, and I diced and roasted some sweet potatoes.  Through it all he was interested but not intrusive.  He got samples (along with all the others) but didn’t get demanding.

At one point Buddy Beagle wandered in, as he had several times, but this time Rebel decided to nibble on Buddy’s ear — just a friendly, gentle nibble — and Callie took high offense to it.  She told him off in no uncertain manner.  I think she mistook the gesture as some sort of attack and was defending the little guy.  So that marked the time for Rebel to go back out to his kennel.  It was lunch time anyway and Rebel was happy to dash to the door to go empty out and say “hi” to his friends.

Overall, it was an exceptionally good morning for Rebel and I am encouraged that he will do well as we progress in teaching him to be a House Dog.

Go to Rebel’s Summary Page

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