Archive for October, 2012

Amongst the household noise, the music, the I love You’s and the wonderful sound of children’s laughter. There is one other absolutely amazing thing heard so very often within the walls of my home…

“Argh, damn it Dela, you piece of shit dog! Quit peeing in my fucking house!”

Sentimental isn’t it.

Yes the joys of owning a pet for some are quite, well…joyful. And for the most part I share in those joys more often than not. Dela Mae is a beautiful Australian Shepherd mix, affectionate and very smart. Her energy is non-stop and possesses the characteristics of the breed I have always been so fond of. But ever since we decided to bring home our four pawed bundle of pee, I mean joy, we have dealt with countless chewed up possessions, fence jumps and uh umm…”accidents”.

“Accidents”, really, who the heck named them that. This two year old (estimated) kennel adopted (cause I am a responsible hoe) dog (pee factory), knows what the heck she is doing (Angry Face). She has two pee spots that she enjoys using for the sole purpose of watering my carpet. Each one carefully chosen to avoid detection no matter what room we occupied. So by no means would these be considered accidents. Being mainly Australian Shepherd, her intelligence has been our biggest enemy.

At first, we granted her adjustment time. Figuring that the trauma of being in a pound for seven days, just being fixed and then thrown into a new environment. She was deserving of a few get out of jail pee cards.

But then it didn’t stop. In addition to the aforecited problems, I started to feel my affinity for our new family member begin to falter. Not wanting to grow any resentment towards Ms. Dela Mae, we stepped up our efforts to get our belle house broken.

Timely walks-                          check
Kennel kept-                            check
more timely walks (5am)-     check
no water before bed-              check
Anti-puppy-pee spray-          check
untimely walks-                       check
still pee’s in the house-          check

It came down to this, make Dela an outside dog or find a new home for her. Two options I just didn’t want to see happen. So I decided on one last option-


Partnered with a doggy door, I assumed this option would solve her jumping the fence and also allow her to venture in and out of the house to do her business. All on her own time.

The cost for everything was a bit much and it took about a day of labor to dig the trench that circumnavigated my backyard. The doggy door was simple enough, except that the one purchased was for a entryway that was much taller than ours. After a few modifications to the puppy-pee-portal, testing circuits and burying copper lines, I was done.

Now for those of you who don’t know how an invisible fence works here is the four uno uno on that shiz.

Dog is fitted with collar which is battery powered and contains some sort of sensor.
Boundary is created with copper wire.
Dog approaches boundary, transmitter uses magic to detect copper wire and emits behavioral correcting shock to dog creating awareness of newly set boundaries.

Of course curiosity got the better me and my kiddos. And with the battery now half drained from us shocking each other into uncontrollable giggle fits. We equipped our hairy family member with her SPARK-ly new necklace and proceeded to monitor her reaction.

As per the pamphlet’s instructions, I gave her leashed walks in the backyard, treats to show her what areas were “safe” and lots and lots of affection. Most importantly though, give it time to work.

Initially, Dela was still her stubborn self. I witnessed her power through the electric force field to freedom as she bound over the fence. I heard her yelp at the pricks when she attempted all known exits when she thought no one was around. I even found her begin to dig in the middle of the yard seemly looking for a safer escape route.

I wanted this to work so badly. I began to lose sight at what it was doing to my dog. It started to dawn on me that the whole experience just down right scared her. The first few shocks freaked her out yes. But then came the refusal to leave the house all together. The exact opposite place I wanted her to be. Locking the doggy door and bringing her back outside provided more of the same…a frightened puppy.

The backyard was now her enemy, annoyingly, it became mine as well. With her new refusal to have anything to do with the outside world. Her pee spots quickly became her poop spots. Dela took her newly shrunken world very hard. The few times when she was alone out back, our adjacent neighbor notified me of Dela’s presence in their yard. Not happy to be playing with their two dogs, but frightened trying to get inside the house.  So, still jumping the fence and desecrating my carpet I almost lost it…but as instructed I gave her time.

After a while she lost her energy, her zest for life…she wasn’t my Dela anymore. She moped around, didn’t eat much and was a shadow of her former self. I thought I broke my dog and I had a feeling that not even duct tape could fix her.

Slowly, she came around. She seemed to have come to terms with her new limitations and began to emerge from her forced upon funk. I started to see my happy tail-wagging puppy again.  But all this made me begin to think a much bigger thing had unfolded right in front of my eyes.

Dela Mae being a dog, had no idea what happened to her world. To her, one day the world was open to her. As long as no one was watching she could do anything and go anywhere she wanted to. Then out of nowhere she was blindsided, and fight it as she did, her world as she knew it had ended. Or so it had seemed…

I have come to the conclusion that she emerged from her funk for one very good reason. Dela realized that this single event would not stop her from being who she is.

-She adjusted, she overcame and she found herself again.

It is with these thoughts that I realize our own worlds are not very much different from Dela Mae’s. Things happen, boundaries are set and shit just sometimes sucks. But how we deal with these matters and the things we learn from them defines our character. We all can take notice to Dela’s victory over adversity. Either you painfully pass through the electric fence, you cower in your safe place, or do it all and emerge from the funk albeit a little wiser.

My admiration for my dog has grown ten-fold following these proceedings.Though she leaves us the occasional pee-present. Dela Mae gave me, and my carpet, a break from the pooping. Happily the fence jumping has ended as well. She’s my puppy again!

Seems as though my dog and I taught each other a few life lessons with all this. Taking a step back, I can recount many Invisible Fences in my life that seemingly popped up out of the blue. Proudly, I can say I emerged just as Dela has. A little shocked and all the more enlightened about the world around me.

~~Cute Janessa~~

*****For the record, I am not trying to be an advocate for this route of animal training nor was it my first, second, third or fourth choice in the matter. This was decided after many discussions with my other half. We are not dog trainers nor do we pretend to be. We tried what we knew best when it comes to housebreaking a dog. Along with many other suggestions from friends and family we couldn’t find anything that worked for our Dela Mae. I may be making light of the situation but truthfully we felt as though this was our last option before we sought a new family for her.