Let me tell you how my mornings start.

When Cosette was a puppy and house-trained enough to be out of her crate at night, she slept beside my bed on her dog bed.  This arrangement was fine, and every morning she would wake me up by gently resting her chin on my mattress and waiting for me to awaken.  Then, I upgraded to a taller bed, and she would still lift her chin up and place just the tip of it on my bed.  I’d usually wake to the soft sound of pft pft pft pft as her tail hit the nearby wall.  Occasionally, she would do a little throaty whine if she needed to reliever her bladder, but it was only every once in a while.  We’d get up, I’d let her out, I would feed her breakfast and then sit down to eat my breakfast.

Now, Cosette whines every morning, and it’s not a regular little throaty whine.  It is a you can hear this vibrating through the walls, my neighbors can probably hear it, oh my gosh will you shut up kind of whine.  I wish I could record her doing this, because it is a riot; however, it was only cute the first few mornings she did it.  Now for the past month, EVERY single morning I wake up to this very insistent, gurgling, throaty, harrumph of a whine that will continue until I get up. 

Here’s my dilemma:  I know that I am positively reinforcing this behavior.  I’m in the psychology field, I know how this works.  However, she catches me in the morning when a) I need to get up, and b) when I have to get up otherwise MY bladder will explode.  Every time I come up out of the bed, I recognize that I have just strongly reinforced the behavior.  I don’t know how to get around it without actually moving her back into her crate and into another room, in a galaxy far far away.  I try to stop her behavior by saying "No." and giving her the 'down' command, which quiets her for a little while.

I think I’d be a little more concerned with how to deal with it if this was guaranteed to be an ongoing situation, but in less than a week we will be adding another furball of love to our life and the morning routine will be altered again. 

Has anyone else ever encountered this, and if so, how do you deal with it (meaning: how do you stop it?)?

 


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