February 8, 2014
"By peeing on the bed where we all sleep? Really? It doesn't make me feel more sisterly toward her." Our Tiny Dancer has made great strides in coming closer and allowing me to pet her and even on a few occasions lift her into my arms. But she still dashes off if you move toward her too quickly or cross the boundary line of being too close.
Bella relishes following her siblings around and copies their ways and marks over their spots in the yard. We were thrilled when she started hopping up on the bed where Steve, I and White Dog regularly sleep, where Oso often joins us for cuddling in the early morning, where the entire WDA is triaged when hurt or sick, and where the Big Boys (YoYoMa and Taiko) rest for owl feet trimming and toenail clips.
The thrill died the other day when Steve caught TWD up on the bed (she usually quickly jumps down)... marking the blanket on the spot where White Dog curls up against me at night. Suddenly the light dawned and Steve understood why the foot of the bed was wet the other night when he slipped under the covers ...and why Bella was anxious not to be seen on the bed.
So we are attempting to solve the issue without making a big deal of it to our Littlest One. Steve covered the bed with a plastic sheet after he made the bed and refined his design with weights and by tucking the sides in when it appeared our girl was engineering ways to defeat the system.
I have heard her jump up on the bed several times, but she does not seem to like the rustling sound or the feel of the plastic under her feet. White Dog is annoyed because the plastic means she has lost one of her favorite places to nap in the sunny late morning but we have explained that the hope is that this is a short term interruption...just until we break Bella's behavior pattern and she understands that the bed is NOT an appropriate pottying option. She learned the dog door in about 10 minutes and uses it regularly, and has never had a single accident in the house until the marking began.
During this time, I have made an extra effort to give her more "momma and me" time especially as she lies beside me in the office. Every couple of days I press the trust issue by gently lifting her into my arms and holding her in my desk chair for 10 minutes or so. She seems somewhat willing to trust, I suspect, because she sees Oso resting in my arms often as I work.
Even a newer member than Taiko, Bella has only been with us since November so she is just beginning to test her limits and boundaries. But like Taiko, our former puppy mill breeder does not want to rock the boat for fear of losing all wonderfulness that she is experiencing as a member of the WDA.
"Patience," I tell White Dog, "in time Bella E. Premuroso will understand that the only mark she needs to leave is the one she has already left on our hearts."