Tuesday, February 21

Busting Out of the Big House.

And by that I mean "small crate."

I might have mentioned once or twice that Teddy doesn't particularly care for his crate. We don't put him in there for long stretches of time (other than when we're at work, of course). We feed him his dinner in there. We leave toys for him to play with too. He has two crates -- a puppy one to sleep in, and a big one to hang out in when we don't want to watch his every move in the family room. We're doing all the right things.

But he's not buying this crate business. He sprints into it full speed when we come inside, because he knows he'll get a treat... but if you're not slipping dog food through those cold steel bars, he is not a happy camper.


Kyle and I went shopping on Sunday for about five hours. Before we left, we crated Teddy and slipped him THREE morsels of dog food, then put up the baby gate so Bailey would lay on her dog bed in our mud room and keep him company.

We came home, opened up the front door, and were surprised, to put it mildly, to find Teddy happily trotting toward us in the entryway.

The baby gate, already collapsed once or twice by our littlest monster, was quite bent (and has not yet recovered). Bailey -- she of small courage -- was still back in the mud room, unwilling to risk the terror of the baby gate that Teddy had already clearly conquered. I don't know how he got out of his crate. The most logical explanation is that I forgot to lock it... that's what must have happened... but I could have sworn I clicked that lock as I slipped in his third treat.

Amazingly, he didn't wreak havoc. No accidents, in fact. He tore a dryer sheet in half, and scattered a few shoes. Most amazingly, Kyle noticed later that he smelled like maple syrup and I remembered... there was an overturned mug of coffee on the coffee table when we came home! Just a few drops were left, so nothing really spilled. But Teddy apparently had a taste of Green Mountain's finest, plus a little Cinnabon creamer for good measure (also, there may or may not have been a dash of Kahlua in that coffee, because that's just how we roll on Sunday mornings. Well, not usually. Don't judge me, I was trying to kill my sick germs).

We may never know what sort of shenanigans Teddy was up to in our house on Sunday afternoon. No evidence remains. Only Bailey witnessed it, and she's not talking. But I can tell you that, after proving to us that he is incredibly trustworthy with sweet, sweet freedom, he was not happy when we put him back in the crate on Sunday night.

Yesterday morning, when I stayed home sick from work and was snuggled up on the couch, he showed me just what he thought of our lack of trust. After an entire week without an accident and just minutes after he relieved himself in the yard, he squatted and pooped on our living room floor. While I was trying to enjoy my coffee (sans Kahlua this time, in case you're judging wondering).

What a little stinker. Literally.

Don't be fooled. That is the look of rage.


  1. Scallywag! What an interesting case study in nature vs. nurture. Raised by the same parents, and yet Teddy is a wild child and Bailey just wants to follow the rules. I know they're obviously at different stages in their lives, but they just seem so different.

    Is there any way Teddy has too much room in his crates? We used to stuff a full size pillow in the back of Luna's crate so she'd just have enough room to stand up, turn around and lay down. I think forcing her to lay helped her understand that crates are for resting. Or maybe he's overstimulated when you put him in the crate? Luna still gets herself worked into a tizzy. Whenever she's overstimulated I hold her close against my body until she settles down. Sometimes it takes 5-10 minutes of dog-squeezing, but she usually falls right to sleep afterwards. I'm convinced she likes the security of being held tightly, and is by no means passed out due to lack of oxygen.

  2. It's funny, because their innate personalities are VERY different, but they certainly influence each other. Bailey can be a little wild herself, prodded on by Teddy -- and Teddy sometimes surprises me in that he just wants to snuggle and sit quietly. In both cases, these are the exceptions, definitely not the rules -- but yes, I always thought I believed more in the nature than nurture, and my dogs have just confirmed it :)

    Actually, Teddy has almost no extra room at all in his puppy crate, which is where he usually freaks out. The crate pictured above is his "grown up crate," and while he doesn't exactly love it, he doesn't hate it either. My mom's puppy, his sister, is the same way -- bonkers with the tiny crate.

    Teddy is almost certainly overstimulated when we put him in the crate, but it's tough to find a time when he ISN'T overstimulated. The crate eventually calms him down (AKA he gives up and conks out), but I'll have to try that dog-squeezing. Have you ever heard of Temple Grandin? She has a really interesting story about pressure calming animals (and humans) down.