Sardines: Not Hot.
Posted at 10:58AM - Comments: (8)
Nights with typical winter temperatures are finally arriving here in Northern California. (Sorry! I know that many of you have been experiencing freezing temps at night for weeks – months? – already.) And with the cold comes Tito’s reluctance to go outside and potty on any schedule other than his own.
Tito is a Chihuahua – well, probably a Chihuahua-mix. (Our niece, who left him with us “temporarily” two years ago bought him as a puppy, goodness knows where; he’s likely a puppy mill product.) He’s far larger than the breed standard and he has a thick coat, like a Labrador! But he has the typical Chihuahua’s aversion to being cold without a darn good reason. Suddenly he won’t come to me when I want him to go outside and pee before I go to bed. “Naw,” he seems to say from the comfort of his bed in the living room. “I’m fine! I don’t have to go! Y’all go without me!”
Otto always goes out; you never know when you might see a raccoon or stray cat out in the yard. Yahoo! Bonus! But after his pee, he wants to come right back in. In his rash youth, he wanted to sleep outside all night every night. (His large crate has an insulated cover on it, like this: gundogsupply.com/mudriver-large.html. And it’s stuffed with several layers of plush pads. And it’s right outside the back door, on the covered porch. There is no door on the crate, just the insulated cover’s front hanging down, like a tent flap, so he can enter and exit at will but still stay snug.) Every once in a while, probably on high-cat-activity nights, he’ll go into his crate instead of coming into the house after his pee, making his choice for that night. But most nights now, starting in mid-October or so, he takes the indoor option. He’s an adult now!
Tito always sleeps inside. When it was warmer, he’d always take the “last chance to pee tonight” option, but not now. NOW THAT IT’S FREEZING AT NIGHT, he skips the pre-bedtime pee – in favor of the 4 or 5 am, whining at my bedside option. Gah! Well, it’s better than just peeing in the house. So I always respond, and jump out of bed and let him out. He’s fast and businesslike – but the damage is done. Once my feet are frozen (even with socks) I have a hard time getting back to sleep.
So I’ve been working on reinforcing the last-chance pee. And as the temperature drops, it’s taking higher-and higher value rewards to get him to come to me and go outside before bedtime. Kibble stopped working at 50 degrees; cheese and even meat failed at about 40. Now we are down into the sardine temperatures. And I can’t tell you just how sexy it is to smell like sardines in bed! Ha!