Nope - that's not a typo. Not "jingle bells" - I really do mean tinkle bells!!
See the ribbon thingy hanging down from the doorknob? I bought this ingenious little gizmo made by a company called Poochie Bells. Got it over a year ago when I was frustratedly trying to housebreak Brutus. The idea is that the dog goes and rings the bells when they need to go outside to potty. He never got it. In fact Brute was almost 18 months old by the time I could actually trust him not to have an accident!
It was my husband's idea to bring the tinkle bells back out this summer to see if we could train Carmen to use them. I initially spent a few minutes with the bells and a clicker, easily teaching her to use her paw to bat the ribbon to make the bells ring. She caught on to that really fast, but wasn't so sure I could get Carmen to make the connection that ringing the bells meant she needed to go outside.
Let me just say that I completely underestimated her. I set up a video camera the other day so that I could show you all how good Carmen is at ringing her bells. In the 45 minutes or so that I recorded, she rang the bells no fewer than 6 times. Here's a few of her best "notifications" (if you look close you can see some pretty snowflakes fluttering down outside as well).
Not only does she get the concept of ringing the bells, Carmen has since become quite the percussionist. She rings them not only when she NEEDS to go outside, but also anytime there's something out there she feels like checking out! I can't sit down for more than two minutes without hearing Carmen's rendition of "Carol of the bells". And if I try to ignore her, she just gets more insistent, slapping at the bells until I can't take the ringing in my ears anymore!
|But there is a WHOLE WORLD out there for me to explore!|
The only bad news is that, in the long run, I feel that Carmen is the one training us. We snap to attention whenever I hear those *@%# tinkle bells. They can wake me up out of a dead sleep! Even though Brutus never got the idea to ring the bells himself, he saunters over to the door when Carmen rings them - guess he figures that as long as she's doing the work, he might as well take advantage of the opportunity to go out (you can see this happen in the video). Below is a still frame from the video, in case you couldn't see the live action footage.
Leave it to my little brindle brainiac to capitalize on what was supposed to be a training tool and turn it into a luxury. After all, as a four-month old pup she figured out how to relocate her x-pen (see the "Carmentopia" post I did a few months ago), so what did I expect?? As we say on a regular basis around here, it's just a good thing Carmen doesn't have thumbs - she'd take over the world!!
|You say that like it'd be a bad thing....|