As wonderful and precious as we think Bailey and Rosie are, there are a couple bad habits that we needed to help these pups break. For starters, they saw another dog get into a trash can one time, and these smart creatures learned that they could get snacks from doing that and started getting into the trash can all. the. time. Or it could have been due to the fact that they are chubby, little piglets that love food almost, if not, more than I do. Regardless of the reason, knocking over trash cans and tearing apart every morsel of its contents is a habit that we needed to help them break.
When we lived in Fayetteville, we had the option of a spacious laundry room right off of the kitchen where we eventually moved the trash can. This was a temporary fix though and not a permanent one. If we forgot to close that door, they would knock the trash can over and rummage through every single thing that was inside of it. Parker and I quickly got into the habit of closing the door, so there was no possible way for them to get into the trash.
Our new home in Southaven does not have the luxury of a spacious laundry room right off of the kitchen. Or any other room where a trash can for the kitchen would make sense. So, after the first two times the trashcan was knocked over, we decided we had to come up with some plan to break this awful habit. (The first three pictures below were taken at our house in Fayetteville, and the next two pictures were taken at our house in Southaven.)
As you can probably tell by the pictures, it is such a pain to clean up, and worst of all- something in there could hurt them. We needed to know who the guilty pup was. Was it both of them? One of them? Talking to both of them sternly was not working. They knew they were in the wrong because they both acted SO guilty every time we came home and they had knocked it over. I wanted to find out who the bad girl was. Enter technology.
I always wanted to get baby monitors or video cameras or something like that to see what Bailey and Rosie do while we are gone (obsessive dog mom? definitely), but I didn't want to spend the money that those items cost. I thought about setting up a phone facing the trash can and starting the video camera when we were about to leave, but no telling how long it would take them to get over to it. Eventually, it came to me- Parker and I needed to FaceTime each other. We needed to leave one phone in the kitchen facing the trash can and bring one phone with us, so we could watch them.
As soon as I had this revelation, I wanted to test it out immediately. Parker didn't want to actually leave, so I said ok, we'll act like we're leaving and go stand in the garage silently and watch the phone. He said great, we're going to be standing out there for half an hour. I said no, we'll give them 10 minutes and then go back in regardless of what happens. So, we told Bailey and Rosie bye-bye and acted like we usually do when we leave them, and then we went out to the garage and stood there silently. It did not take more than 10 seconds for BAILEY (our sweet, calm 6 year old) to make a mad dash for the trash can. As soon as she did, we went inside and said NO and made her feel guilty.
We were so excited this plan worked that we started setting up our phones and FaceTiming each other every time we could leave together. The first two times we caught Bailey going straight to the trash can and jumping up on it to try to knock it down. We unmuted my phone and yelled NO, BAILEY into the phone. She stopped and never went back to the trash can either time. We also profusely apologized to Rosie for disciplining her too when she was in no way involved with Bailey's bad habit. She has never once shown up in our FaceTime screens, and we are totally shocked by this.
The third and fourth times we tried out this little experiment, Bailey walked over to the trash can and sniffed it, but she never jumped up on it. She sniffed it and kept on walking past it. We eventually got to the point where she stopped showing up on our FaceTime screens altogether!
To be honest, she has had a slip up, but don't we all when we're trying to break our own bad habits? It happened right after we spent a week in Mobile, so her routine was a little off. However, once we FaceTimed and told her NO one time after her slip up, she has not done it again. Fingers crossed this bad habit will be broken once and for all this time! We want to keep these happy girls safe!
Thanks so much for reading! This may not be relevant to you whatsoever, but maybe one day you can share the FaceTime strategy with someone who needs to help their sweet pup break a bad habit. Do you have a dog that has any bad habits you have helped him or her to break? Please fill me in! I would love to hear the strategies you used!