Did you ever have a creepy toy when you were little? You know, you begged for it because it looked cool in the Sears Christmas Catalog or it caught your eye in the Zayre toy aisle, but when it arrived under your tree, it was a little too freaky to be liked.
Maybe it was because its eyes seemed to follow you around the room, even after you hid it in the back of your closet at night? It might have smelled funny, like those baby dolls that smelled like baby powder and strained peas. Maybe it did something weird, like vomit and then you got the pleasure of cleaning it up - which you suddenly realized was only cool on the TV commercial. Yeah, there were plenty of toys out there that looked good in theory that could scar a kid.
I kinda see my girls' relationship to the evil Orvis bed like the love/hate one might have for such a desired toy. They love that they got the bed, but hate that I force them to like it. Let me clarify - Roxy humors mom and pretends to like it.
So, after the initial dis of the bed (for my new readers, you can get the background on this on-going saga here) and reviewing the results of the online poll (Kev's underwear was the winner) I decided to try the combo of some batting, shredded old undies and removing more beads. After removing a ton of beads from the guts and turning my living room into a scene from one of those claymation Christmas movies and adding in the contraband stuffing, I thought for sure that I had created the perfect ratio of beads to cloth. Still, no takers.
I moved on to the runner-up suggestion in the poll and took on the challenge of attempting to clicker train Roxy to love the bed (also known as dog bribery). After all, I'm too hard headed to send it back now. Plus how am I going to explain how my husband's old underwear ended up inside the bed?
Now, Roxy loves that darn clicker. The clicker is a magic hot dog dispenser. When mom touches the clicker, she knows what's about to happen and will offer up anything she knows to beat me to the punch before I ask her to do something. Prior to taking Jen's class, this included sitting and laying down consecutively as fast as she could. Now she has way more tricks up her doggy sleeves - but I digress.
After about five minutes and three whole hot dogs later, Roxy figured out that when I say "on your bed" I wanted her to get on the evil Orvis bed. I started by rewarding any touch of the scary, pellet filled monster, which she quickly picked up on. It was like a giant touch the cup game for her (for those of you familiar with clicker training methods). Touch the bed progressed to "stand on the bed", which became "put your bum on the bed", and then finally to "down on the bed" and lastly "stay on the bed". Roxy figured out that "on your bed" equals hot dogs.
Seka, on the other hand, thinks Roxy is crazy and no matter how many hot dogs are involved, the Orvis bed is filled with red hot coals. But just like any kid who has a toy that they longed for and it may not be all it's cracked up to be once you get it, they still play with it every now and again when no one is looking. And I've caught Seka sleeping on it once of twice.
While Roxy only chooses the evil Orvis bed 1 out 5 times as her place to relax, it's becoming more popular as time passes. The more I work with her, the more eager she is to go over and try it out unprompted with the hope that I notice and reward her for her "bed trick." She doesn't get a treat every time she uses it as I don't want her to think she's doing it just to please me.
However, I don't worry about the expensive bed not getting usage, unlike my parents did with the doll I begged for that you cared for like a real baby and that I didn't touch again after she burped one time and it smelled like real vomit. I have caught at least two cats sleeping on it at the same time on a regular basis.
One dog's trash is another cat's treasure.
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