Dog Training Don’t

Mr. Frog prays for an end to the madness.


I suck at dog training. I frequently see training videos that demonstrate remarkable transformations in dogs with behavioral issues and am dumbfounded. Those with the skills to properly assess and correct such issues have my utmost respect. Heck, I’ll even admit that I’m jealous. Because I lack said skills, I am destined to languish among moderately well behaved dogs due to my inability to be firm with consistency.

Case in point – a crowd favorite, your buddy and mine; Nigel. He is kind, gentle, and generally eager to please. Unfortunately (begin dramatic voice) Nigel has a dirty secret.

In short, he is a carpet crapper.

It takes merely a loud clap to spook him, so training him not to counter surf was easy. He never snacks on furniture (as did Sola) or bullies the ladies. He loves everyone in a big way, and we cherish him. Yet for more than a year, Mrs. Author would arrive home from running errands to find a most unfortunate gift, given in the most fresh and warm way possible. A real stink bomb.

Every attempt to discourage such behavior failed miserably. I clapped many times, stomped my feet; threw loud tantrums and scared him silly. It was all for naught. For no apparent reason, Nigel preferred to take care of business in the house. We could have walked him to Alaska and back and he’d hold out. Profanities were uttered out of sheer frustration, knowing that no matter how hard we tried, how far we walked, how much we begged, he was going to bomb the carpet.

There is a faint silver lining in this literal cloud of a story. He chose the mat by the front door as his target. There was an unsavory lesson to be learned as we embarked on this journey – opening the door on the way in took a perfect slice off the top and smeared it across the carpet like so much frosting, a perfect patch of rancid refuse waiting for the shoe to drop. The first couple of times it did.

For a year we were locked in this poop pattern, and there was much applause in the house. I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to give up my dream of wiring every appliance in the house with The Clapper. In retrospect, it was this crushing blow that sent me over the edge.

As I watched TV one evening, a disturbing scene played out before me. Nigel quietly made his way to the door and assumed the position while I sat there stunned. He must not have cared for the weather forecast on TV, and thus decided it appropriate to create his own brown clouds. I went bonkers. All of the rules had changed – Nigel no longer cared to muster the energy to hide it.

I fumed as I bagged his bounty, hands bruised from months of clapping, olfactory senses ablaze. Nigel eyed me with amusement. I rose, molten bag in tow, and took a step toward the kitchen. As Nigel relaxed I paused briefly, positioned the bag approximately six inches above his head, took aim and….by the time Nigel realized what had happened I had resumed my walk to the kitchen and was ten feet away. He bemoaned my lack of restraint: I reveled in it. Truffles and Sola averted their eyes…

Nigel: I am scarred for life. A chocolate hot water bottle deposited squarely on my noggin – the utter indignity.

Author: Actually, you just stood there and let it lazily roll off your head. Your eyes however, were the size of my head.

Nigel: Fine, you made your point.

Author: And I did. Oddly enough, Nigel never had an accident in the house again.

Now before all of you start complaining to me telling me I should not have written about this, that I should have found another way – understand that I am not advocating making turd hats for your dog if you have the same problem.

I simply had a profound need to share the fact that Nigel is just strange enough to have required it.

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  1. Not to embarrass anyone, but my brother has taken to doing the same thing: either on the rug in front of the couch in th eliving room or by the door in the bedroom — even though he has ample opportunity outside. So, since Mom is afraid to ask the question, I will: do you think if we find him in the act and do the same thing, he will reform?????

    We also read your post about Truffles, and hope you can find the right treatment.

    Thanks for stopping by our blog!!


  2. oh we are laffing too! Very funny indeed. Although not for poor you!

    Marvin once sicked up a whole bird, bones, feathers and all, even the blinking beak. My back was turned – in the kitchen – and when I walked into the living room, there it was on the carpet. Like the scene from Alien when the thing bursts out of the chest or wherever. It was totally gross.

    Took me ages to clear up and I am very squeamish, and daughter was screaming and in hysterics too.

    After all the clear up had ensued, I had to cook tea, and everyone wanted to know why I was not hungry.

    Roast chicken? I don’t think so!

    Happy New Year and thanks for calling by our Blog. Jeannie ;0) and Marvin x

  3. hellow! thanks for dropping by. we are so glad thta nigel chose to make his presence felt by leaving ONLY a comment and not the usual piece of “fudge” that he leaves you behind as a welcome gift.

    as for the poo-eradication method, we have to say we are bit taken aback but had to just laugh our way through. We are just so glad that our hoomans probably have more patience and chose to be contended with grumbling their way through our stains. WE’d sure hate to bathe in er.. mudcake? BOL!

    we love your bloggie a lot! can we pretty pretty please add you up?

    Labradors Rule!!

    drooly kisses,


    pee-ees. I loved Nigel’s last comment! truly hilarious! All of you are labs, right?

  4. Hi there! Thanks for dropping by! LOL this is really funny! LS is starting to feel hopeful again about placing rugs and mats at our place after reading this.

  5. Thanks for your offer of snow, but we got a huge dump today and more on the way. Wait, maybe that is snow you sent. I didn’t realize you pups are in Vermont. I go there sometimes. We think it’s very pretty in Vermont and mom loves the mountains. We wish we could live there, but being a Canadian, it’s kind of easier to live in Canada. I figure I’m half American, since I’m half Chesapeake Bay Retriever. I wonder if that would qualify me for citizenship.


  6. Hello! Nice to meet you and thank you for dropping by my blog. Now I am off to try this with my training-challenged baby brudder who leaves unfortunate deposits from time to time. (Do you have a remedy for eating said deposits? Is there a sequel to poop hat?)

    wally t.

  7. Terrific post! What a story….so enjoyable.
    Thanks for stopping by Team Fire and Ice’s blog. Hope you’ll come back again for a visit. Dock Diving season is cranking up soon, and Sally and Spud are getting excited. I’ll most definitely by back here for some more entertainment.

  8. I bet thats what they call behavyur modifacashun, is it? I have never been a house pooper, but I believe that would cure me.

    My Mom laughed her head off at that story!


  9. I may have to try your solution to a similar problem. Levi started doing this same thing about a week ago, both morning and night directly after being outside. It’s a frustrating problem when you think you have housebreaking long behind you. Thanks for sharing. Now I don’t feel so alone.

    Levi’s mom

  10. Hi there,
    thanks for stopping by our blog. It’s great to meet you.
    We’re sorry to hear about Truffles. We’re keeping our paws crossed that she remains steady.
    Happy New Year to you all.


  11. Well, this is a pawtastic blog. I wish I was fluent in english (wich I’m definately not), to reach and comprehend the true dimension and brightness of all your words and expressions. It seems to me you are a great writter… and so, I’ll come back for more of your adventures!

    Thank you so much for visiting me.


  12. Oh my dogness! That is sooo gross but at least it worked. 😉 Poor, poor Nigel, I bet he was super stunned but sounds as though he learned his lesson! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I wish I could trade the beach for snow but unfortunately I no longer have the wonderful sandy beach as I have returned home. It is covered in snow here but not the nice, fluffly kind…it is hard and crunchy and hurts my feet to walk in. 🙁 Oh well, only a couple more months of snow left.

    Also, I read about Truffles and I am definitely sending good vibes your way! 🙂


  13. Hey, if it works, go for it. That inside turding is just totally not cool.

    Momma says she is also “training challenged.” I mean, there is only so much time in a day. Moderately trained is good enough.


  14. Chester’s Mom said…

    Very hard to post with tears rolling down my cheeks and belly and hands shaking from laughter….

    I’m glad you enjoyed your visit. Truffles is just about the same – not quite what we were hoping for, but she’s not getting worse.

    Happy new year to you as well!

  15. Very hard to post with tears rolling down my cheeks and belly and hands shaking from laughter. I’m not sure if I would have held out as long as you before the bomb had to be dropped but congrats on finding what works! I believe every dog has their very own unique “button” that seems to turn the lightbulb on when a problem needs to be addressed. I would love for you to send this story to Caesar to see what his take is on it. Thanks for the greatest (and last) laugh of 2008!!!
    ps. On a more serious note, I was here to check on Truffles and see how she’s doing. My prayers are for her to have this and many, many more Happy New Year’s!

  16. Ha Ha Ha! Your post was hysterical. I may need to try this on my Tucker. He is a couch pooper. The couch in our den has a recliner on each end and a cushion in the middle. He climbs under the couch to the middle spot where he can stand underneath it and proceeds to do the deed. The only warning is the stench oozing up from under the cushion. We have tried everything and being a Pekingese, he is indifferent to all of our tactics. Perhaps a nice reminder on the noggin would do the trick. Probably not though. He loves to be dirty and stinky and yucky – typical boy! Your post made my day though! Any advice… send it my way.

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