We have been trying for some time to train Nisa to use a “potty mat” (a green welcome mat) on the boat for those times when it is impossible to take her to shore to do her business. All of our attempts thus far have been a total failure. Maybe not so much failure as a result of Nisa’s refusal to participate. I know Nisa understands what is being asked of her and she simply refuses to participate, much less comply.
This is the routine that played over and over last summer and fall: I put the mat on deck and showed her. Nisa sniffed it with feigned interest and then looked up at me with her usual smile. I gave the command “Do your business” – which I have used since she was a puppy – and she then sat on the mat and looked at me like I’d lost my mind. To punctuate how crazy she thinks I am, she will gaze longingly at the shore and give a few, loud, exaggerated sniffs in the same direction, as if to say “uh hum, the shore is there…I don’t pee on no fake mat, now put that dinghy in the water and let’s GO!”
This summer it may be imperative that she stay on the boat at times – I am thinking about the fact that we are headed to a part of the world with the greatest density of bears on the planet – and I don’t want to leave her without options, i.e. the mat.
Having been unable to convince her of the need to use the mat, we sought out the big guns. We contacted the public radio show Calling All Pets. They took our call and you can hear it this coming weekend. We are the last call of the show. Take a listen and stay tuned for how Patricia McConnell’s advice pans out.
Find out when Calling All Pets plays in your area, click here.
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