So, I guess it’s time to confess. In my head, I understand the sense and value of crating but my heart still rebels against it just a little. Ray doesn’t hate his crate, but he doesn’t love it, either. His man cave has been under the kitchen table for so long that we ended up putting a comforter down under there for him to lay on since he likes it so well.
It’s a nice chill spot for him where he can still see most of the goings on in the house. While Asia was home on maternity leave, I would still crate Ray when I left and when Ray’s
girlfriend dog walker came at noon she would let him out for his bio-break then re-crate him. We eventually worked to where he was only crated half of that time; either I would leave him out (in the two gated rooms) and she would re-crate or vice versa until finally the crate was gone and Ray was able to nap on the sofa or what have you. He did great and we were feeling pretty pleased because he seemed much happier and was being pretty responsible for a puppy not yet a year old.
When Asia returned to work, things still seemed to go well, until I discovered the support slats on two of the chairs above were whittled down to toothpicks. Uh-oh. All for giving the benefit of a doubt and second chances, etc.we still did not crate Ray day or night. The picture above is the family room where Ray spends most of his time, but you may have seen pictures more recently of this room that looked like this:
|A lot of throw rugs.|
Yeah, that’s an army of throw rugs across the floor. I got a call from Becca, who walks Ray every day and her voice sounded worried so I immediately started fretting. She said Ray tore up the carpet and she would send me a picture so in the meantime, we decided to have her get a gate out of the garage and leave him in the kitchen. I had to go to a meeting so I didn’t receive the picture right away butI figured, “How bad could it be?” This bad.
|Right down to the foundation.|
Knowing Kevin wouldn’t be home until about 4:30, I figured I could call him and give him a head’s up, but when he answered he sounded so stunned that I knew he was home early. He was in such shock that, although I don’t mean to make light of it, it almost became a non-event. The immediate problem at this point was that Ray was already used to not being in the crate, so we couldn’t just toss him back in right way. We decided that at night he could sleep in the man cave. That way he wouldn’t be able to get to the carpet while we slept. And we could have time to get him back in the crate without it seeming like a punishment. Until he acquired a taste for drywall.
Ray is still allowed to chill in his man-cave under the table, believe it or not, and he is actually pretty good about going to his crate. He knows the command, “go to your mat” which includes the mat in his crate, so he knows he’ll get a good treat if he goes so we’ve kind of struck a truce between Dr. Destructo and the ever maturing puppy. I know I pushed the process too quickly and although he shows absolutely no stress about being in his crate, I have to wonder if it was just rambunctious puppy play or a bit of separation anxiety that caused the terrible-awful. I really lean towards the former. When he is crated, he naps, gnaws his antler and listens to tunes. I usually only latch the top latch and once we left both latches undone. We found him sitting in his crate looking totally freaked because the latches were undone!
So, like any kid who is given too much freedom too soon, Ray has had some house rules laid on him and as for me? I got new carpet.
So did your pooch ever go through a Dr. Destructo phase?
Our now 8 month old girl has not been crated during the day since we got her at 9 weeks (she's crated all night, so I feel too guilty to do it during the day). She always behaves like a dream, except the ONE day I came home to a destroyed couch.
I've heard a few destroyed couch stories lately!
I always feared the he would chew on the family room furniture. It's all leater and I figured it was just like a big chew toy for him. I guess he just prefers carpet and wood.
We've got a dog room in our house which has done wonders bridging the gap between “I want to give you freedom of the house” and “you have shown maturity and earned freedom of the house”. Basically, we just took most of the furniture out of one room and replaced it with dog beds. Sure, we no longer have a proper spare room for people but the sacrifice was well worth not worrying about Hurley destroying all of the contents of our house.
Granted, we did this also because Hurley kept hulking out of his crate.
It's so good to read that we all have our challenges. Sometimes I've felt like I have the best dog in the world (or at least on the block) and other times the biggest headache!
Oh, and welcome, new commenters! <3
Oh my goodness! Crating is such a good thing to do, but I never did end up crating Shiner. We tried when she was a puppy but she would just whine all night so we just gave in. She was definitely a destructive puppy. Fortunately, I don't really remember her doing anything too terribly bad. She still has her destructive moments and likes to shred an occasional pillow or blanket.
Braylon was crated when we first adopted her, then not after about a year. She did great at first, although if left alone too long had a couple accidents. Then she was perfect forever. Then out of nowhere she chewed a book. Then one day she chewed a very minimal piece of carpet where the carpet meets the tile at a doorframe. Each day she'd chew just a shred more. It amounted to a very tiny space. Then when we moved we started crating her again just until her anxiety about the move eased to avoid any destruction in the new house. Well suddenly she's started to poop in her crate now and then which she didn't even do when we first adopted her… so who knows! I think she's getting a little separation anxiety over time which I feel bad about and I think we need to start to tackle that issue…