Sunday, December 14, 2008

We give up! (And a few other notes)

Well it's official. We have given up in the quest to not kennel Scrubs when we leave the house. We tried it. He tried it. And he repeatedly failed to pass the test. Mind you, we only leave him in the laundry room. Mind you, we take everything out of the laundry room except his kennel and a few of his things. Mind you, he still finds something to get into.

The first time it was a small rug by the door. Okay. So the next time we left, we removed the rug as well. The next time he actually started chewing pieces off his toy basket. Okay, so we removed that the next time we left. The next time we noticed he had started chewing on piece of his kennel. Okay, we can't remove that but we can spray down the sections he was chewing on with the "bitter yuck" stuff he hates so much. Last night, he chewed off the handle to his kennel -- one part I hadn't sprayed.

We came home from our Christmas party and declared we were done trying. His kennel is very large. He has plenty of room in there to stand up, lie down, turn around, and roll over if he wants. I am home a good portion of everyday so it is not often we have to leave him. But for now, when we do, we'll have to continue to leave him in his kennel. Sigh . . . Scrubs, we were trying to give your more freedom! Doesn't he understand that?!

Now let me tell you that Scrubs doesn't get into any of these things when we are home. He never chews on anything in our house now except toys from his own basket. We curbed his thievery long ago by spraying him with the bitter yuck every time he stole. I've been told that many Dalmatians are "counter-surfers" -- grabbing anything they can off kitchen counters. Scrubs doesn't do that all. We can leave a slab of meat on the counter without him going near it. If we we were to drop a steak on the floor in front of him, he wouldn't get it unless we said he could! He doesn't get on our furniture. He doesn't touch the trash can. Other than some bursts of hyperactivity that sometimes get a little rambunctious, his behavior when we are home is really pretty good.

But for some reason, when we leave, he just gets bored (despite the raw hide and peanut butter filled bones I put in the laundry room for him to help prevent this). They say some dogs start this behavior because they are mad. I don't think Scrubs is mad. I just think he starts chewing, thinks: wow, this is kind of fun and keeps doing it. Even though he wouldn't dream of this behavior when we are there. We've tried only leaving him out of his kennel at night when he is bound to go to sleep. No go.

So for now, Scrubs will remain in his kennel. If you have any advice, I am open to it, but JB said he is done with this. For now at least. It will be easier to kennel him when I am trying to get out of the house with two babies anyway. Oh well.

In other news:
  • Happy third birthday to my nephew Nate!
  • Joia had a successful inversion of her little Tiny last night. Keep them all in your prayers!
  • Last night we celebrated Christmas at our Care Group Leaders' house: Bernard and Lisa. What a great time despite the fact that Isaac is still sick and JB and I are feeling a little cruddy now as well. This time the white elephant game actually produced -- a fish! It's a Beta that JB plans to accompany him to work. (Check back later for pictures. I'll wait until Brittney posts them and then link to her blog since I never got around to taking very many.)
  • My parents will be here a week from Wednesday to celebrate with us.
  • JB is DONE WITH HIS PENSACOLA ROTATION! This was a killer month. With driving, he was doing about 60-70 hours each week. He starts a much lighter rotation on Monday, and we are all so relieved to have him home.
  • Please keep praying for Isaac. The poor kid is still pretty sick. He is drinking enough to stay hydrated but just barely. He normally drinks about 32-40 ounces of formula a day and yesterday he drank about 12 total. Don't worry everyone. We have a doctor in the house so Isaac is in good hands. We just feel so bad for the little guy.


Anonymous said...

oh, i think he's lonely Wen...he just loves you guys! Well, it reminds me of kids --they can be sooo good and you don't want to be strict about everything, but sometimes you just have to say we have to do this and you think -don't they get it? they'd be freer if we didn't do this! and you feel awful being the tough guy --it's a bit easier to do with a dog let me warn you! :)
I feel so badly for little Isaac --rest up all of you for your folks coming and Gramma Di and Grampa Coach will take over! So glad JB is home now more! Thinking of you over the holidays -we head to TN to spend it with Eddie, Hannah and their 3, with Cara and Brian and their two and Uncle Ed's brothers' family from close but so far from a stop over to see you guys! Tante Jan

Anonymous said...

Poor Isaac, sorry to hear that he is still under the weather. I'm sure it just needs to run its course. Pretty soon you will have lots of help holding and tending to him. He'll be better in no time.

LOL! My boxer was in her exercise pen right in front of me and reached over grabbed the cord to the vacuum cleaner I was JUST using and bit down on it. OUCH, not enough to make her think twice apparently before I could run over and pull the cord did it again. With a small yelp and me running across the room, she was fine but do you think that would stop her. NOPE! LOL She's too funny but at only less than 17 months old would I trust her overnight without being kenneled NO WAY! I dash to the street and back to retrieve the mail. When she isn't following me 24/7 she is also in an exercise pen that is only 32" tall and she stands up on it and plays inside it, mind you she could easily jump over it at any time but hey don't tell her that. LOL

He's still a young guy, most dals don't fully mature until they are at the age of 3. It is more boredom that dogs destruct. They have nothing better to do since their humans left and went without them so why not? :) There is nothing wrong with kenneling, most dogs feel more secure in their crate especially when noone is at home.

Anonymous said...

You guys do such an awesome job with Scrubbers. I think he sort of likes his pen. It's probably a relief cause he doesn't have to try and resist temptation!! He has come so far!! You should be very proud.
Tell Isaac we'll be there soon and he'll feel so much better then!!
Take care of you toots!

Anonymous said...

Dogs usually consider their crates to be their dens... It is likely that not crating him is stressing him out and causing him to display the negative behavior he has when not crated. If he has always done well with crating why change his routine? Does it hurt you to not crate him when you go away? no. But consider that while your intentions of giving him fredom are in the right place he may not want the freedom yet and would prefer his crate (I think he has shown this with his negative behavior).

Something else you should consider is that dogs have no sense of time, you could leave him in his crate for 10 minutes and come back or leave for 2 hours and come back and he won't know the differance.

Likely you are feeling guilty about leaving him in there thinking he wante more room, when chances are he is perfectly happy being contained. Crates usually make (normal) dogs feel secure. I think of them as security blankets for dogs, some need them, some don't and the ones that need them can outgrow them after puppyhood.

I agree with JB and would leave it for now and possibly explore it again when he turns 3 and is no longer a puppy.

Tara said...

We crated our dogs (Labs) until they were 4. We had to...they chewed and chewed and chewed. Can't tell you how much drywall we had to replace because when all else failed that's what they went after. We still have one that chews things that are left out that appeal to her and they will be 7 next month (for example, I am on my third pair of slippers in 2 months). I'd just keep him in the crate and not worry about it! It's much easier that way. And they do like their crates. :)