The morning wake-up routine has switched from getting dressed and off to school to a good stretch and going potty outside
Every morning the six of us (that’s me and the five dogs) have a routine. It’s actually not that different from a few years ago when it was kids instead of dogs.
Back then it was chasing sleepy children out of bed, making lunches, finding shoes, and herding them into the car for school. Now it’s chasing sleepy dachshunds out of bed, finding missing slippers, and herding the pack outside to its business.
The routine begins with the German Shepherds, Sunna and Noet, engaging in a big dog ultimate-cage-fighting-wrestling-to-the-death match directly in front of me as I try to get out of bed. Once a victor has been declared and I’ve managed to establish a footing on the floor (I’m not sure how this occurs, I just know the girls suddenly call their match to a halt), I’ll turn to locate the lumps in my bed that identify where the dachshunds have burrowed.
Now the doxies want none of the shepherd’s morning “Thunderdome” nonsense and generally burrow deeper into the blankets to avoid it. But with some coaxing words spoken in the same high-pitched voice I use to ask “who wants a snack?”, I can usually get Franzi an Rommel to reluctantly poke their heads out to look around (just in case there actually is a snack). At that point I’ll scoop them up and place them on the floor next to the shepherds.
The real trick is capturing Montgomery. He’s a wily one. Not only does he not fall for the whole “who wants a snack?” voice (unless there actually is a snack involved), but he’s also figured out how to burrow deep under the covers, flatten himself and take on a dead weight equivalent to a steamer trunk filled with lead. He’s virtually impossible to move.
After years trying to drag him from bed without success, I finally landed on a new approach that takes advantage of the dachshund’s naturally excited pack hunting behavior. I like to call it “The Running of the Doxies.”
It begins with me announcing in a happy voice “who wants to go outside?” And then I’ll repeat it slightly more excited. And again, even more excitedly. Eventually I’ll have the entire pack on the floor baying, barking, leaping and throwing themselves at the sliding glass door in a complete frenzy. Then I fling the door open and shout “go get `em!” in full voice and the mob charges through in a full speed “unleash the hounds of hell!” gallop in hot pursuit of who-knows what.
Then I slam the sliding door shut and go to the kitchen.
The five hell hounds spend several minutes racing through the yard (there’s two acres, so plenty of distance) before they forget what it was they were so excited about. Then they calm down, investigate the various scents left behind after last night’s patrol of coyotes, opossums, raccoons, weasels, squirrels, etc., do their business, and return to the house through the kitchen dog door where they find me watching them out the window and enjoying a cup of tea.
Rain or Shine, it works every time.
How about you? What do you do to get your dogs outside in the morning?