"Daddy!" she yells in delight when I walk through the door after a hard day's work, running into my arms and planting a big sloppy kiss on my mouth, successfully diluting the day's sour remains.
"Hi baby," I say, smiling from ear to ear in pure, unsurpassable joy. "I missed you! Did you miss me?"
"Yeah," she says, matter of factly and moving on to more important issues. "Today Fluke went out through the right door. Can we give him a snack?"
"He did? Through the puppy door? Are you sure?" I ask incredulous.
"I opened the door for him."
"And did he go potty, like a good dog?"
"He only went peepee!" she says, frustrated. "Can I give him a snack, and Rocky too?"
This has been one of my biggest problems with the new puppy. He doesn't want to get out of the screened patio and into the yard through the flapping pet door. He insists on tearing right through my screen door. I've had to repair the damned thing at least six times already. And then when he bounces off the taut screen, he proceeds to ram it until it gives way. Man, it drives me nuts!
So we've decided to reward him for using the pet door, but he'll only do it if one of us holds it up for him. So, Christina goes and holds it open while he goes out, she waits for him to take care of business then lets him back in. If she doesn't hold the door for him, forget it! He's going through the screen.
The most frustrating part of this is that he sees the other dog go through the dog door before him, every time, but he seems to think that, it's just not for him. He needs his own door. He's special.
"Well sweetie," I tell my daughter, "the snack only works if we give it to him right after he does something good."
"But, I saw him!" she insists.
"Why don't we let him out now," I say. "Maybe he'll do it again and then you can give him a snack. Okay?"
"Okay!" she says cheerfully. "Fluke! C'mon! Let's go potty!"
She's doing a lot better job of training the mutt than I am.