Crate Destruction

July 31, 2013

Sigh. Today was a tough one. We had to leave early to ride into town for my volunteer work this morning. I got A.J. to walk into his crate on his own by throwing a couple of treats into the back corner. He went in and ate the treats and I closed the door. I gave him a couple more treat bits, then gave him the rest of a jerky strip and a MilkBone. He was busy with these when I walked out of the bedroom and closed the door.

When Greg came home a little over an hour later, A.J. was standing just inside the bedroom door. The crate was bent where he’d somehow managed to break out, and he had chewed on the blinds on the back door.

I had left a Kong filled with peanut butter and treats for Greg to give to A.J. in the crate when he came back to meet me at the end of my volunteer shift. He put the Kong in the crate, but A.J. wouldn’t go in. He put a collar and leash on him to lead him in, but A.J. flattened out on the floor and wouldn’t budge. Finally he picked him up and put him in, then wrapped a bungee cord around the door so he couldn’t push his was out. Not exactly the recommended method of crate training, but he needed to leave and didn’t see a lot of good options at that point.

When I met Greg and he told me what happened, we decided to skip lunch and go straight home. When I opened the door I heard howling, but I was hopeful that that meant A.J. was still in his crate. Wrong. He had managed to bend up the crate more and push out the door. He had then proceeded to tear up a plastic bag that had miscellaneous hardware – such as screws and bolts – in it. I have no idea how much hardware was actually in the bag, I’m desperately hoping he didn’t swallow any. He also chewed more on the blinds. He had obviously been on the bed and had demolished a box of Kleenex. On the plus side, there were marks by the door where he dug at the carpet, but he didn’t hurt the carpet and didn’t scratch the door. He also skipped over the books and the Kindle that were sitting out.

Now what?

I worked with him for a little while on learning “Down.” He did pretty well. I worked on brushing him. He did a little better. He still reached over with his mouth when I touched his back end, but we got through it. I played with him in the house for a little while.

After I gave him his medicine, we took him for a walk around the block. Then we brought him home and I gave him half a MilkBone. We then tried to leave the house. He tried to charge out with us, and was not happy. When we got back the MilkBone was still lying in front of the door, and he came running up panting to greet us. He had obviously been pretty stressed out about being left. But he didn’t destroy anything while we were gone. We were only away less than half an hour. We’ll have to start extending the time and hope he can start to deal with it. We also have to hope this gets better when he’s more comfortable here and when we can exercise him more. There’s no reason I can’t work on training him more, I need to start doing that.

A little bit of a discouraging day, but we’ll keep working.