Sammy knew what to do with grass, yessir!
You peed on it.
He also knew it was the place you walked around in funny little circles until you finally squatted to poop. That was very good.
So, three or four times a day, we would go out onto our upper deck, then down the two flights of stairs to our back-yard. Mom provided a security escort, of course, in case something scary tried to get him—like a bird.
M had also given me instructions about this procedure. Sammy, apparently, would sometimes try to fake her out about going. If it was cold, or wet, he would “pretend-squat” to look like he was peeing, then dance around a bit, as if to say, “See, I did my business, aren’t I a good dog? Can we go back inside where it’s warm and comfy now?”
He tried the same thing with me. He had no problem squatting immediately on hitting the ground, because he genuinely had to pee. But for some reason, if he had to poop, we had to go through a little routine. If I thought he had to do a dump, I would give the command, “You go!” He would give me a dirty look, make a few little circles, all the while looking up at me to see my reaction, then sometimes do his fake-squat. I knew it was fake because he only squatted half-way. But I would continue to give the “you go” command until finally, after all his circling, he would do his business. It was almost like he had to poop on command.
Of course, sometimes he really didn’t have to go, but he would dutifully do his circles until I was satisfied and gave the “okay” command. Then he would do his little happy wriggle and bound up the stairs ahead of me.
Since we got Sammy in the summertime, this going out and down the stairs several times a day wasn’t too bad. But I have difficulty with stairs, and I could see that come winter, going up and down those two flights was something I was not prepared to do. I was going to have to train this guy to go on his own. But again, how was I going to do that? He had learned “Stay!” and “Come!” but how was I going to teach him to go away from my side willingly?
I was his safety place, and he was my constant shadow.