Wednesday, March 04, 2009


. . . but I'm not sure who!

We've had Cavaliers since I was 4, Sophie was our first. But Jolly was my first Cavalier who was mine from the beginning in my own home (it feels wrong to type that without qualifying that before her I'd had Busy who was loyally and completely mine - bought to be mine, arriving home the day after I'd returned to school for my A level term). Jolly was a nightmare as a puppy, she was such a trial over her first 2 years that Mum and I discussed therapy sessions, rehoming or even putting her to sleep. Eventually she was a wonderful dog who lived between my house and Mum's, undoubtedly she was one of Mum's favourites (Mum even worried that Jol would pine for her when she was away in France a few weeks before she died, luckily Jol was a typical Cav and completely sidetracked by food!!) One of the things that Jol taught me was the success of 'elimination triggering' (not sure if that's the right terminology) - when house training a dog you use a trigger word as they begin to 'go' and eventually use of the trigger word will prompt them to 'go'. This method of training is more time consuming than usual house training, but it was so useful, especially as Jol had kidney failure and in her last months I needed many samples that were obtained via the trigger word!

I've tried this trigger word training with Boo and Fuss but it wasn't nearly so successful and I'm still not sure why. This time round, with Pud, I was determined to try again and with a 'more intelligent' (the jury's close to a decision) dog and with a child to consider as well I am more committed to this than before. The trigger I've always used is P*iddle, repeated over and over again as it happens. For Alice's safety and my sanity, I've tended to stay on the doorstep (with Alice inside and Pud outside), using the trigger at the appropriate times.

But I'm no longer sure who I'm training - as this afternoon Alice stood on the doorstep and shouted outside, ' Good girl Puddy, piggle, piggle, piggle!'

Oh well, let's hope it will help with potty training!!

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