Dogs have problems to figure out too. (Or is it my problem to figure out!) It appears my new 3.5 – 4 year old rescue dog has his issues. He doesn’t like being left in his crate! My crate, though adequate for a 73 pound dog, is not as large as his foster mother’s crate for him. Her huge one suffices as a room in itself! He had no problems being crated in her house. Of course, three other dogs were crated at the same time, one within a few feet of his crate.
The night I first brought him home, I told his foster mother I would be away for about 5 hours the next day. Since his crate, food, and water are in my master bathroom, I planned to shut the bathroom door and not crate him. She said, “I would not do that if I were you. I did that and he ruined my door.” So I suggested maybe using a baby gate and not shut the door. She responded, “That is exactly what I did.” He ruined the doorway and pushed the gate out. Oh. So I crated him. No problems emerged the first few times I needed to leave the house and crate him. After having him for a week, I came home to find him chewing on the crate and salivating profusely with a puddle of saliva around the crate. The next day, he went back to his foster mother’s for a week while I traveled. It was an exciting homecoming to see her and his foster siblings again. As I prepared to leave, he came to the door wanting to go home with me!!! He has bonded!!!
The next week, he heard the car as I parked in the driveway, looked out, saw it was me, and his foster mother reported he went berserk. He jumped all over me when I entered, even reaching my face for kisses. Once he jumped from the side into my ear and almost sent me tumbling. He has SPIRIT!!!! Yay!!!! I had worried he might be mad at me for leaving him, or he might not be interested in going home with me. There was no need to question his devotion! He could not wait to go out the door with me! I thought the foster mom and I would have a little chat, but no. We had to hurry on our way home!
The next morning, I had to leave him for 7 hours. I gave him a Kong full of Kong treats. When I returned, there was a lake of saliva around his crate, and his fluffy crate mat was balled up at the end of the crate (as usual) and the treats were broken into small pieces all over the mat and bottom tray of the crate. After he left the crate, he went back in, pulled out the mat full of crumbs and dragged it to the living room where the treat pieces tumbled everywhere. He couldn’t be bothered eating them in the crate, but he gobbled them up from the floor. When I picked up the mat, it was sopping wet. He had not peed on it; it was saliva.
Soon I will be attending an all day seminar and realized I could not crate him again that long. My local Petsmart here has a doggie day care. I called to book him in. I needed to be out a couple of hours today and decided he may as well have a brief stay there this afternoon as well. His Pawgress Report at the top testifies to his good behavior.
I have known I need to test him for short periods of time alone in the house and gradually extend those freedom periods. This afternoon I saw my across-the-street neighbor sitting on her porch. I went over to chat for 15 minutes as our first test. He passed with flying colors. I need to begin extending that time with, hopefully, equally good results!
If your pooch has experienced crate anxiety, I would love to hear how you conquered it!