Who is Training Whom?

Well, it’s 10:30 and I’ve just tucked the foster dogs into their crates for the night and I’m completely exhausted.  Today’s lessons:

  1. Some dogs have to pee every 2 hours
  2. It’s easier to clean a hard-surface floor than an area rug
  3. It’s even easier to set a timer and get the dogs outside before they need to go
  4. No matter how much we walk, the humans will always be more tired than the dogs
  5. Some dogs play rough.

Two accidents today.  One on the rug and one after the rug was put away.  The big progress was that I recognized the signs that Lucy had to go out before she actually had her second accident.  The problem was that I was in the middle of a conference call and couldn’t take her out right then.  She doesn’t yet have the concept of “holding it.”

I went to a workshop on macro photography this evening.  I felt a little guilty leaving my husband home alone with the dogs for 2 1/2 hours.  We put them in their crates before he drove me to the workshop.  It was the first time they were in their crates during the day.  When he returned home, Rex was barking like mad.  I suspect we are the most popular tenants in our building right now.  Fortunately, it only took 10 minutes to run me across the river and get back.

Last night, Rex was barking furiously in his crate when we went to bed.  I got out my iPad and googled for suggestions on what to do.  I found a checklist for successful crate training:

  • Don’t use crate as punishment.  Check.
  • Feed in crate.  Check.
  • Have special treat they only get while in crate.  Check.
  • Make sure they’ve gotten plenty of exercise during the day.  Check.
  • Make sure they’ve gotten enough attention during the day.  Check.
  • Don’t feed them less than 90 minutes before they go in the crate.  Check.
  • Make sure they go out and go potty before going into the crate.  Check.
  • Cover the crate to help block out distractions.  Check.

Then, I see the suggestion of shaking a can of pennies.  I had already prepared a can of pennies in the hope of interrupting Lucy when she pees in the house.  (Unfortunately, another idea not suited for conference calls.)  But, it was 11PM and the dog was going nuts and I figured it was get him quiet or face the wrath of neighbors.  I grabbed the can of pennies, opened the bedroom door, and stood out of sight.  When Rex started barking again, I gave the can a big shake.  He stopped.  We repeated 4 times and then he laid down and remained quiet the rest of the night.  Whew.

Tonight, we are trying putting the dogs in their crates before we go to bed.  They are sleeping peacefully with us in the room.  They look exhausted.  Maybe all that walking paid off after all?