Today, I attended a writing seminar from 9 to 3. Toby stayed at Petsmart Day Care to avoid any crate anxiety. When we arrived, I told the staff present about his crate behavior, the reason for him being there. They had a couple of good suggestions. Buy him a plastic crate — the enclosed kind which makes the dog feel he is in a cave. Or put a blanket over the crate thus transforming his wire crate into a tent cave.
I had great expectations he would have a wonderful day. Well, he may have regarded it as a wonderful day, but I was disappointed. Since I knew they put the dogs in a kennel for their individual treat time, I should have been wiser. Since I had already told them about his crate anxiety, they should have been a bit smarter as well! The blame is not entirely mine especially since they refer to treat time being in a “private room.” We all lacked foresight. At day care, the owner may choose for his pet to have a treat or not. I chose a Kong filled with treats topped off with peanut butter for his treat today. He ate the peanut butter, but left the treats in the Kong. Apparently, they store the dog’s leash and collar next to the crate which is theirs for snack time. After eating the peanut butter, he reached his collar and tore it to shreds!! He did not swallow any of the leather collar as they think they have all the pieces. Thus, if he ever goes there again, he will not have any treats. If he would eat a leather collar while crated, what would he do to a blanket covering a wire crate? This is worrisome for leaving him in an enclosed car for very long! My car has always been my dog’s crate on wheels. As long as the weather is not too hot, my dog goes everywhere with me.
I need a doggie psychologist!
From Doggie Day Care, we moved to the training room at the front of the store for our second lesson. The dogs were taught to hold still for examination accomplished by holding a treat at his mouth without letting him have it while you touch his ears and paws. Toby did so well at sitting still, I used the hand motion for stay and walked around him saying “stay,” and he stayed! The teacher complimented the Intermediate maneuver. I think it was a fluke. The second objective was to stay close to the owner while walking. The teacher asked if we understood what walking with a loose lead meant. With only two of us in class today, I, a smart Alec, threw the leash over my right shoulder with Toby on my left side and walked around the room with him walking perfectly with me. SHOCK! We had never done that before! The norm is for me to be dragged behind him. The next part of the lesson was to go to an aisle in the store and practice sitting still while being touched and walking on a loose lead. Toby, being so interested in the products on the shelves, paid no attention to my pleas for “Look at me” or “Sit” which were last week’s lesson and he performs admirably under less distracting circumstances. But, in Aisle 11, that learning is down the tubes. I eventually had him walking fast, almost running, with me down the aisle. Then I told him, “Easy, easy,” and he slowed down. It would seem perhaps he has had previous training, but chooses to ignore what he has learned. Or maybe, after training four dogs, my voice is authoritative and understood?