Saturday, August 31, 2013

Peter has had some more crate time today--in the crate, and on the crate.

He didn't sleep well last night. He yawned and sighed and moved around a lot. I think he wasn't being crated overnight at his last home (although he was crated at earlier foster homes), so it's probably just a matter of getting used to it again--of him resigning himself to the idea that his foster mom isn't going to let him out just because he makes a little noise. His future adopters might not want to crate him, but if they need to crate him, I don't want him to react badly to that decision. He's been kenneled for most of his life; there's no reason he can't tolerate a kennel again now--especially one with padding, a blanket he can dig a nest in, and with water, a Kong, and something to chew on.

He stayed peacefully in his crate while Silver went to obedience classes. He had a Kong to keep him busy at first. Then, I'm betting, he slept.

We got home from obedience and he had another Kong. I was working with my back to him when I heard a noise. I turned around--and found him standing on top of his 3-foot-tall crate. He wanted out of the ex-pen, but he thinks it's too flimsy and unstable for him to climb. A nice, stable crate is a much better platform for an escape; the ex-pen is bungee-corded to the crate for some stability--but clearly, Peter doesn't think it's stable enough.

When I told Peter to get down, he did--jumping back into the ex-pen. This is scary, though: aside from the risks of having a slightly crazy new boy wandering anywhere he likes in my condo, there's the danger that Peter could take a bad fall on a very hard floor if he keeps staging escapes from the ex-pen. (I've seen what lies under my vinyl-that-looks-like-stone floor: it's a concrete slab.)


Peter spent some time out of the crate and pen this afternoon, sleeping snuggled up to me. He ate dinner in his crate (his decision; I was all set to feed him in the ex-pen, but he went into the crate). After dinner and a late walk, we settled down to watch the Braves game. When the game ends--or sooner if Peter seems to want to go to bed (this game has gone to extra innings)--I'll settle him in the crate with a Kong.

Tomorrow, he can be in the ex-pen when I can watch him. The rest of the time--or if he's trying to escape from the pen--he'll be back in his crate.

When he's out of the crate and pen, he's muzzled, and Silver often is muzzled, too. These guys are new to each other. Silver is known to be a grump about being touched when she's sleeping, even when she likes the other dog; let sleeping dogs lie isn't just a quaint old expression. Peter's reaction to contact he wasn't expecting hasn't always been predictable, so we'll be snuggling with muzzles for a while. So far, the dogs have been fine together, but taking a chance with their temperaments right now could mean stitches for one or the other, and I won't risk that. (Neither dog likes the muzzle; they both try to wipe the muzzle against the wall to dislodge it. But it doesn't interfere with anyone's ability to sleep.) Peter also wears his collar and leash when he's out of the crate and ex-pen so I can steer him out of trouble if he starts to wander. (Keeping him leashed is called "tethering": where you keep the dog on leash until you're sure he won't get out of your sight to pee or otherwise get into trouble. Tethering won't be necessary for long--he's shown no inclination to pee in the house--but I don't want to set him up to fail Housetraining 101 because I wasn't watching him.)


Some good news: Peter and I were outside when it started to thunder, and he didn't react badly to it--just cocked his head in that direction. Later, back in the house, there was a really loud bang that startled him, but he settled right down again: he's not thunder-phobic.

I want to make it clear: Peter isn't a bad dog. He's sweet, gorgeous, curious, bold, inquisitive, responsive, and an absolute darling. When I told him to get off the top of his crate (he's the first dog I've ever had do that, so I really wasn't prepared)-- When I corrected him he got down immediately. He hasn't once been sullen or snarky. If I've told him "no" over something he was interested in, he left it alone. But you need to let him know his limits, because he'll push against the universe until it pushes back.

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