I had just finished cleaning the floors.
There was nothing to do but turn on the hose and spray their legs and underbellies to wash off as much mud as I could. At the simultaneous appearance of the hose and the leash, it seemed to suddenly dawn on them that the situation had taken a serious turn. Funny, my waving arms and shouting hadn't given them a clue.
Training experts tell us that tone of voice is of the utmost importance in communicating with dogs. I evidently used the wrong tone when I told them firmly to stay and a different but equally wrong tone when I yelled, "STOP IT! STOP IT! COMEHERETHISMINUTEORIWILLKILLYOU!"
I did a more effective job of communicating when I talked to them non-stop while hosing them off and continued speaking to them while I mopped the floor. Again. By the time I finished talking it all out, they seemed to understand that I was unhappy. They possibly even understood the context of a few new words I had repeated several times during our little talk.
Or maybe they just recognized the expression on my face. Whatever. At least I got their attention.
Gimpy (left) and Levi, posing for mugshots
UPDATE: February 11, 2013
My two boys could not have been better today; I think they may have learned something after yesterday's muddy misadventure. This morning, once again, they rushed out the backdoor before I told them they could go. I made that awful aaaaaccckk sound in my throat and said, "In the house," and they turned around and nearly tripped over each other in their rush to get back inside. That's more like it.