Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Love Bug

If you call Peter to come to you in the house, you've got a 50-50 chance that he'll respond. (We're working on actual recalls out back, with him on a long leash. He's only 50-50 out there, too.)

But fling your arms wide and call him. He'll trot to you, tuck his head down, and lean and lean against you for hugs and petting. He'll keep leaning as long as you keep petting.

* * *

When I leave the dogs home alone, both dogs are muzzled, but no one's confined. They each get a couple of small cookies. Silver settles on her dog bed before I get out the door. Peter comes halfway to the door to watch me, but that's all.

If Silver is going with me and Peter will be left home alone, it's totally different. When Silver has the car harness on and Peter doesn't, he figures out that he's being left and he doesn't like it. There's no way I can get Silver out the door and all my stuff out the door without Peter pushing to join us, and I'm worried about the potential for tails pinched in doors (there's a wood door and a storm door), shins scraped, toes crunched in door jams.

I'm still using the Dog Anchor in the house to keep Peter from getting into trouble while I'm busy (or while Silver's eating). So, in order to get Silver and my stuff out of the house safely, I hook Peter to the Dog Anchor until Silver and my gear are in the car. But I can't leave Peter attached to the Dog Anchor when I'm not around. He's silly about the leash when it wraps around his leg(s), and I won't risk that he'll hurt himself with the Dog Anchor once I'm gone, so I unhook him from the anchor. At this point, it's a contest between him and me to see if he can get out of the house while I'm getting out. And because I've already taken off his martingale (for safety's sake: he never wears a martingale when I'm not home), the risk that he'll squeeze out of the house when I leave is a serious one: he'd be out there, muzzled and leashless. (He always wears my foster dog tag collar: a collar with a tag that says "I'm lost" on one side, with my phone number on the other.)

So I needed something to keep him safely occupied while I leave, something that works even though he's muzzled. I tried dropping a couple of little cookies for him, but he knows how to get the cookies through the holes of his muzzle, and he still can get to the door before I get out safely.

I put down an old cookie sheet. It's warped and stained and due to be replaced. (It's too large to fit comfortably in my oven.) It has raised edges all the way around. I drop it in the floor and toss a quarter-cup of kibble onto it. Peter blissfully stands there, hoovering up the bits of kibble through the holes in his muzzle. And I can leave the house safely, without trying to wrestle my way out the door. In fact, yesterday I got to the car, realized I'd forgotten my phone, and unlocked the door, came in and got my phone, and left and locked the door again--all while Peter scrambled for kibble pieces.

Why not crate him? He doesn't like the crate. You have to get behind him and push to get him in there. And since he chews on the crate, he still needs to be muzzled to protect himself. If he has to be muzzled to keep him from chewing things, it just seems like overkill to crate him, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment