Li’l Ollie has settled in a treat. Every sunday, he goes to the Hobson’s Bay dog obedience club (which is in Port Melbourne, just to be different.) We take Maggie too. She used to go there when she was a crazy little basket case from the Lost Dogs home, and now she is a real goody two-shoes, heeling, staying and dropping like a pro. I don’t watch Ollie because he’s in the beginner’s class, but he comes to call better than I ever hoped he would after this long, and he responds to Sit and Stay, and he walks nicely on the leash.
He’s everybody’s friend and teenage girls, in particular, think he’s adorable – they’ll stop you in the street to squee! over him. Boychild doesn’t yet appreciate how this will work in his favour in a few years’ time. He (Ollie, not boychild) does like to race up to other dogs and people somewhat precipitately, but because he’s so delicate looking and has such a funny face, we haven’t had any screams of terror and/or glares from parental units yet. You can put a leash on him without chasing him around and he hops in the car without a thought. He still thinks he ought to be able to hang out in the kitchen and put his front paws on people, two habits which I’m still trying to get out of him, but in general he’s a cute, cuddly, intelligent little dog. Both his owner (boychild) and Maggie love him dearly. He does get called “the little bug-eyed freak”, but with love.
Ollie only has one major flaw.
When we first got him, he’d poo on the floor about once a week. This always happened overnight and always on a friday or saturday night – the nights when we’d have visitors over, or disappear somewhere else for a few hours. So I wasn’t too worried. He’d demonstrated he had the ability to go the distance and dogs who have been rehomed always have a few psychological kinks to straighten out. Once he was confident and secure, he’d get over it.
Unfortunately, the little devil upped the ante and now he thinks he can poo on the floor every night. I bought some repellent spray from the vet, but it seems to work only intermittently. So, today the boy and I went to Ascot Saddlery in Flemington, one of those places that’s heaven to poke around in (all those saddles!) We bought a crate.* It’s not one of those plastic ones, but a metal mesh one which allows him a good view of the surroundings.
At the moment it’s sitting there with the door open, and a nice thick sheepskin pad inside, onto which I toss the odd good-O to encourage him to go in and have a wander. Let’s see what happens tonight. Will Ollie go into his crate? Will he make a god-awful racket at 3 am, forcing us to get him out again? Stand by for the next exciting episode of Ollie Learns Bowel Control.
*For non-dog people, the idea is that a dog will not go anywhere that’s too near to its bed.