Rocco’s Dirty Little Secret
Subtitle: And How We Deal.
Rocco‘s been getting a lot of face time on the blog lately. While he may be a fine representation of ideal weight, this write up will be less than flattering. Rocco would NOT like you to know about the single most naughty behavior he engages in on a daily basis. Rocco pees in the house.
For that, he sports a diverse collection of diapers.
Let me be more specific and confusing at the same time. Rocco is house trained. He potties outside everyday, several times a day, religiously. He holds it in his crate. He always poos outside. The inside peeing, its not out of necessity. Its because Rocco is an insecure kind of guy. And he’s an asshole. We are not talking pools of pee. We are talking 5 to 10 drops of urine on the corners of any convenient item. Rocco marks.
Marking is worse than an actual potty training issue. Potty training issues I can and have corrected. Peeing in the house produces large puddles, easy to identify, easy to clean up. You can anticipate when a dog has to go. It is much harder to always be on the lookout for half a dozen dime sized urine spots. Rocco will mark in the house moments after going outside to do his standard business. He has an inexhaustible reserve tank just for this purpose. In fact, when first Rocco came to live with us, we were in denial about this problem. We would see him potty outside like a good little terrier, and fail to witness in his unseemly in-house leg lifting. In his year and a half(ish) of life before us, I don’t think anyone knew. On top of everything else, he’s sneaky.
When we came to grips with the reality of our secret pee-er, something had to be done. It’s a behavior to be corrected, that maybe can’t be corrected. In which case, it’s got to be managed. In some households, such a habit could mean a less than lifelong home. Not here. For better or worse, we make commitments and we keep them. Even to ungrateful terriers, determined to ruin your hardwoods. Despite his flaws, Rocco is here to stay.
Over the years, we’ve cultivated strategies to keep the house from becoming a big smelly fire hydrant, thereby preserving our sanity.
Di-Di’s. The diapers. Our first line of defense. Officially, its not a diaper. Its a belly band. Whatever, we’ve a collection of them (about 10-14) that the bad dog wears at all times when he is in the house. These are snug fitting, so much so that he can’t get them off. And oh, he’s tried. They don’t stop the urination in and off itself (I had my hopes), but because we are dealing with small quantities they catch and absorb it. We keep an eye on di-di status and change out where appropriate. Even with a large collection, these could become a stinky mess to deal with, were it not for…
Pure Ayre. Rather enzymatic cleaners. I have my doubts as to the efficacy of most of these products. Nature’s Miracle is crap. However, I do know that cleaning with a standard non-pet-enzyme cleaner is not going to do you a heck of a lot of good. Pee is special. It needs a special cleaner. Pure Ayre is the best of the best at eliminating odor in my opinion, and non-toxic to boot. Around here we go through a lot of it. Hence the gallon size jugs. Soiled di-di’s are treated, as are any spots that make appear despite our best efforts. This is all about management and management is imperfect. Di-di’s are in appropriately placed. They become soiled with out us noticing and leak through. Sometimes we even forget or delude ourselves by thinking “Oh, I’m sure he’s over that by now”. Heh. Stupid humans. That means we carefully consider our…
Flooring options. It’s straight forward: Plush, bad. Hard, good. Beyond that though, the finish on hardwood can be compromised by a missed spot. Some colors make it harder to identify those tiny drops. When we recently opted to replace the only section of carpet in our house, very unfortunately placed in out dog-centric TV watching room, we went down to the cement. We ripped up carpet (it had to go), we ripped up (very poorly installed) tile, then we finished and sealed the 60 year old original concrete pour. Shiny and nice. Also incredibly durable, not absorbant and easy to see those ‘little mistakes’ at 15 paces. I learned about the beauty of finished cement from The Pet Store. For us, it was a good option because of previous…
Damage done. How do I know what happens to pee left standing on a hardwood finish? Go ahead, guess. Someday, when Rocco is no longer with us (due to natural causes) I will refinish my floors. Until then, I remind myself that dogs are more important than (mostly) discreet flaws in your flooring. He’s also gotten shoes, laundry baskets, trim, speakers (!!!), furniture. Nothing is safe, and over the years, he’ seized every opportunity available to him. As much as the small amount of pee frustrates me from an identification standpoint, it usually doesn’t ruin things entirely. I’ve learned to take most things in stride. Clean, relocate, move on, continue to love your dog.
Options not tried. There are a few strategies we don’t use, for a variety of reasons. We could keep Rocco tethered to us at all times in the house. If we are with him, he can’t be sneaky. Voila! No Pee! I’ve used this under certain circumstances, but its not practical every day. Frankly it’s exhausting and limits the quality of life for both of us. If it were a temporary training thing, I’d do it. But it’s not. Again management. From time to time I also consider prozac. That’s right drugging the jerk. If this does all stem from insecurity as we presume, a little anti-depressant has been known to do the trick. To quell the urge to constantly communicate his presence and superiority. I consider the moral ramifications of altering his brain chemistry for my own benefit, but maybe that’s silly. Like the floor refinishing, perhaps someday.
Why the confession. Over the years, we’ve put a lot of thought into inappropriate urination. All told, we do a pretty good job of keeping the effects to a minimum. We can’t be the only ones with such problems, which makes this share-worthy. Yep, its gross. However, it doesn’t mean my house is disgusting and it doesn’t mean I have to get rid of my dog. It means I have to be a little more creative, observant and hands-on with my day to day cleaning. There are worse fates. Also, I’d like to point out, my dogs are not perfect. Far, far from it. They bark too much. They jump on people. They pee in the house. On occasion, even their diet is less than ideal. I don’t want to sugar coat our existence. Confessions of the secret-peer should burst that bubble.
Do your pets have their own dirty little secrets? How did you fix or manage them?