Dutch is our almost two year old full bred Golden Retriever. He is a good dog and is very intelligent. I believe he gets his intelligence from being around us almost constantly. He is an indoor dog about ninety percent of the time and so he observes things that happen around him and he learns from these observations very quickly.
He is very trainable as it only takes two or three walk through's on a new trick before he has it down pat. He knows what is expected of him and he sincerely does his best to do what is right. Sometimes he gets carried away playing and all we have to do is to send him to his kennel or simply tell him to calm down and he does.
He has a lot of energy and expends as much of it as he can before ten o'clock in the evening when his body gives out and he crashes into a deep sleep for the night. He is a people dog and loves to be patted and given attention. By far he is the most intelligent dog we have had in our house.
This makes sense because he was named for a republican president as were his predecessors. The first dog we had was named Milhous after President Richard Milhous Nixon. Milhous was followed by Rudy named for President Gerald Rudolph Ford. Dutch was named using President Ronald Reagan's nickname while he was growing up. He will be our last dog and I think it is appropriate to name him after President Reagan.
When we brought Dutch home it did not take but a day or so to house train him as far as his toilet habits were concerned. He learned very quickly that the house was not the place to urinate or anything else. He has become quite adept at holding his business until he has a chance to go outside. When I take him for a walk at the lake he does a very good job of fertilizing the grass around the path with his natural waste material. We have had absolutely no problem with Dutch in the house training department. No trouble that is until last weekend when he took it upon himself to take it up a notch and try some advanced training.
Since Barb and I live in the house alone with Dutch there are plenty of times when I go to the bathroom and don't bother shutting the door. There are many reasons for this. If Barb wants to yell something at me I can hear her. If a ball game or car race is on I can keep up with the action while relieving myself. Dutch often follows me around the house and so he has seen me go to the bathroom plenty of times while I was listening to a ballgame. As I said earlier this is one observant dog.
He must have observed me going to the bathroom in the house several dozen times during the course of the last winter. He watches and he thinks then watches some some followed by more thinking. Finally last weekend came about and something happened that neither barb nor myself ever expected to have to deal with.
I was sitting in my chair in the living room after arriving home from a grocery shopping trip. I was waiting for the Nationwide Race to begin and was quietly biding my time. Barb went off to clean up the bathroom and with in seconds was back in the living room. Her eyes were ablaze and her face was red with something that resembled a cross between anger and frustration. She walked in and looked at me and then pointed at me as she spoke in a voice that was not hard to hear. "There is pee all over the stool and on the floor around it!" I sat and looked at her and tried to take in what she was saying. I had the feeling she thought I had gone into the bathroom and simply hosed the whole thing down with urine to amuse myself while waiting for the race to begin.
I thought it was best to nip this accusation in the bid and so I quickly defended myself. "Why did you do that for?" I asked innocently.
"I did NOT do that!" she said and then went on to describe to me what a mess it was in there. There was urine on the toilet tank, the seat, the floor around it and the soft rug that she kept in front of the toilet to keep her feet from getting cold.
"Well, I certainly didn't do it," I said as innocently as I could which wasn't too difficult because I hadn't done it. Then you could almost see the light bulb go on over each of our heads as we looked in the kennel and saw Dutch laying there peacefully sleeping.
Barb pointed at the dog. "You don't think...." her voice faded off as she realized what she was thinking."
"I don't THINK so" I said with the same wonderment that was in Barb's voice.
We both stared at the dog and then I decided to put him outside for awhile. With only the three of us in the house and two of us obviously innocent it was becoming a strange reality that Dutch had tried to use the toilet. He had seen me urinate there many times. It was certainly warmer to urinate in the house than outside and as he had put his observations together he must have figured out that we did have a place for that activity in the house instead of in the back yard.
We talked about the possibility some more. I have never heard of a dog doing that. If it had been Dutch he had made the target a precise place in the bathroom, namely the toilet. The lid had been down so there was no way for the urine to get into the bowl. He would have to hike his leg up high enough to get over the rim which would explain the spraying on the tank and on down to the floor. It became clear to us that Dutch was teaching himself to be house trained inside the house.
While Barb was grumbling cleaning up the mess I tried to look on the positive side. "Look at it this way, " I said trying to use my wise voice, "We already have him half trained to use the toilet." Barb was not amused. Dogs do NOT go to the bathroom indoors. She determined we had to take steps to put a stop to this.
From now on I was to close the door when I used the restroom. The door was to be shut at ALL times whether there was anyone in there or not. The lid would always be kept down and Dutch would not be allowed to even approach the bathroom door without being called back into the living room. And so the rules were set into place and we have been following them since.
As for Dutch I can only imagine the confusion in his brain right now. "I try to better myself, I do the logical thing by wanting to pee in the warm house instead of the cold outside, I go in the correct place and I end up being banned from it and in a way punished by making me go outdoors to pee..... just doesn't seem right, I don't get it."
I have heard of people training their cats to use the toilet. I have never heard of a dog owner trying to teach a dog to do that. But most of all I have never heard of a dog taking it upon himself to train himself in advanced peeing. I doubt if I ever will again.