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Toilet Swimming

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Lyra has taken up a new sport.  It’s called “Swimming In the Toilet”.

It works like this.  (Keep in mind there is some conjecture here, since I’ve never actually witnessed this).

Lyra takes a  bone and sits down for a chew.  Then she waits until I’m distracted, at which time she takes the bone to the bathroom and drops it into the toilet.  Next, she attempts to remove the bone from the toilet, digging violently in the bowl until she has removed all of the water from the bowl and covered the floor with it.  She leaves the bone for me to remove at a later time.

Lyra is not the first dog in my house to take up a toilet sport.  When Juno was young she also thought it was great fun to remove the water from the toilet; the key difference is that Juno screams when she does it, so I can come running and prevent the full catastrophe.  Lyra is silent.

Lyra’s addition of the toy to the bowl is pure genius, since my kids are not likely to pay any attention and next thing we’ll have a plumber at the house to remove the bone and whatever else gets stuck with it.   I can’t wait.

I could close the toilet seat.  This action would prevent the toilet swimming and I would no longer be mopping the floor on a daily basis, however…. I also have human children.  I have been pleased to see these children lift the toilet seat in recent months rather than peeing indiscriminately all over the place.  Closing the toilet lid upon completion of bathroom activity is probably asking too much now that they have just learned to open it.

Lyra has another favored activity.  She climbs on top of the bookcase to pull down my son’s stuffies.  I’m not completely sure how she does this, but I know that I have been carefully putting the stuffies up, and then ten minutes later they are down again.  A few days ago I got a glimpse of her methods when I saw her stretched between the back of a couch (which is she is not allowed on) and a middle shelf on the bookcase.   It has crossed my mind that we may not be far from finding stuffies in the toilet.  My human child will not be pleased.

If I catch Lyra toilet swimming, we will have a discussion.  It will not be motivational.

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

18 responses »

  1. I have observed puppies stepping into the water bowl and digging at the water, and adult dogs that are prone to “digging” in their water bowl to splash the water all over the place. A few of the digging dogs will then lie in the resulting puddle. I interpret the behavior as means of cooling down on hot days. Digging at the water get their tummy wet, with a nice cooling effect. This being a recent behavior for her and the hot weather we’ve had recently seems to support the theory. Did you notice whether Lyra has drinking water available during this episodes? Even if she does, the toilet water might be cooler then the water bowl, so she may choose it over the water bowl, then when she gets there, she drops the bone into the toilet so she can drink, get’s distracted by or tired from the digging/swimming activity, and neglects to pick the bone up. It’s also possible that the bottom of the toilet is too narrow for her to pick the bone up when she’s done.
    You may want to weight the mess resulting from giving her access to an indoor kiddy pool, vs the plumbing cost and mess of a clogged toilet 😦

  2. omg….i am still laughing (with you of course)

  3. Kylie is a complete water dog…I have to chain up her water bucket in her kennel or she will be a thirsty dog when I get home from work. I had to spend a considerable amount of money to completely fence in my pond to keep her from swimming 24/7. Any garbage can, kiddie swimming pool, feed pans etc. That have water in it she’s either jumping up to tip it over or grabbing it with her teeth. Then she bites and laps at the moving water. I don’t need to mention that living in the Pacific Northwest things fill up with water pretty consisently. 🙂

  4. Lmao too. I am now totally in love with Lyra. Didn’t you tell me a Spritepup would find something to do if they were bored? It sounds vastly amusing to me, and such a smart girl to be quiet and not get caught. Maybe she just wants to go swimming. I don’t know exactly what stuffies are, but I do wonder if the hamster still lives with you?

  5. All my young dogs have loved the drop-item-into-water game. I have a very large stainless steel water bowl on the back porch when I have a young dog who wants to do this. Then they can play this game with a ball or toy outside where there’s no mess to clean up. When played outside, they sometimes get themselves all worked up into a session of the zoomies. It’s really amusing. I get a real kick out of it.

    As for the stuffed toys, I would say it would be safest and easiest to just put them completely away and out of site just for the time being – perhaps in a closet. It won’t be long until all this adolescent stuff is over and you can have all the toys out again without some big mishap or expensive vet bill.

    After rescuing six adolescent dogs during my life, I’ve found that the easiest thing is simply to employ the “out of sight out of mind” training method for a little while. It’s all over before you know it and you’ll completely forget that you had to ever put anything away and out of sight from your young dog. Well, that is, until you get your next pup!

  6. Just when I thought you had the perfect dog, you confirm it 🙂 What great ingenuity! I’d like to have a front-row seat for that non-motivational discussion, and I’d like to be inside her head to hear what she thinks of it.

  7. I have no advice. Phoenix has spent the last 5 1/2 years dropping balls in the big water bowl in the kitchen and digging them out. TG it’s just me and my husband, our toilet lid is firmly put down after each use. That would be a whole new wonderland. Thanks for the laughs.

  8. Love it!! What a quandary human children bring into the mix….really you would be doing you future daughters in law a favor for teaching them to drop the lid…maybe a gold star they bring you for a quarter…good luck with your non motivational discussion….

  9. PLEASE let me know what you do about this. I have more than one dog who engages in similar behavior in their water bowls/buckets (I use 2 gallon buckets since I have lots of dogs). I now have my first ever Belgian who engages in this behavior of digging water out of the bucket. I have had Tervuren for 25 years and this 14 week old has been climbing UP to get her front into the buckets since she was big enough to do so. I have pools, puddles, other activities for her but she just LOVES the water. I find that my Siberian huskies are the others most likely to play in the water…I am sure it feels a bit like running in deep, cool snow. But my Terv baby??? I suppose lots of close supervision and a non-motivational speech of my own is in our future.

  10. ROFLMAO! I don’t have toilet water diggers but I have had adolescent dogs perform the toilet roll end grab and run manoeuver. My setter prefers the toilet bowl water to any water bowls we have in the house, including the $42 electric doggie water fountain (yes, I did!). So we often have wet toilet seat and slippery tile floors due to drooly drinky mouth. I have also recently had my 2 year old human child discover the joys of grabbing the end of the toilet roll and running throughout the house. And he’s now quite interesting in flushing things. Like the end of the toilet roll so that you can watch the toilet roll unroll on its own AND watch it flush. Double fun! We go through a lot of toilet paper. Sooooo what we do now is keep the doors closed to all the bathrooms. And the door to my son’s room is closed when I can remember to, as it cuts down on the number of disembowelled stuffies. My dogs are 8 and 5 and they still enjoy a good stuffie disembowellment.

  11. Several years ago I remember taking a toilet apart and finding that the clog was from my dogs bone. He also used to like his bone wet

  12. Funny story! But it surprises me that you allow your dog into the bathroom. I never allow any of my dogs into the bathroom. It is good for dogs to have a boundary and can help against anxious dogs who like to be at your side 24/7 in the house. Also its a personal area and dogs shouldn’t be a part of the areas that you bath and toilet and clean. It would also solve all toilet water problems 🙂

  13. Don’t think that you will be able to stop her by leaving the seat down. My girl just walks in and flips the lid back up whenever she wants a drink. I should probably get one of those waterfall bowls as she is uninterested in drinking from any other source.

  14. Denise…it took me a LONG time to train my teenage boy (13 yr old) to lift the toilet seat. I find it way easier to train my dog NOT to do something 🙂

  15. When my husband and I got our first puppy I found that training hubby was much harder than training the puppy! We ended up putting auto-hinges on the closet door because hubby could not remember to close the door and the pup would go in and remove the foam inserts from his runners and eat them, then poop blue foam for days. :(( Auto-hinges meant shoes and puppy were safe! :))

  16. I have a self-closing baby gate in the bathroom doorway to keep the dog out, since we keep the cat’s litterbox in there.

  17. Leslie Whitney

    LMAO!!! Omy God Denise!! Just reading this today 8/25/14 as, I have been reading through Lyra’s first year–making my “plan” for Teyla!! This soooo could be Teyla in a few short months…she is already FACINATED with the toilet and it’s workings!! LOL!! This was such a great share!! Thank you!! 🙂


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