Tuesday, January 11

Dax Breaks Out - Again!

Dax broke his crate. Again. Pulled the front wire off from their supports. While it's not really a "necessary" wire, and a major flaw in the Midwest Lifestages crates, IMO, he pulled off the weld with it too so there are sharp bits, so I have to have my dad weld it back. Again.

This is the second time he's broken this particular crate. I had him in Roofus's old crate before, to give him more room - but it just gave him more leverage, apparently, because he broke out of that one pretty quick, and it was a crate designed specifically for large, powerful dog breeds. Ripped the entire front panel off, including many welds.

My dad sees this is a challenge to his intelligence, taking it personally that Dax has yet again broken a crate, and swears that he's going to weld a 2" bar of steel there so he can't mess with that particular weakness again.

Dax doesn't break out of his crate because there's nothing to do in it - I leave all his favorite toys in there, at least two different nylabones, at least one thing freshly stuffed with peanut butter, a dog bone... but he won't play with them. At his ex-owner's house, he was abused while in his crate, left in it for extremely long periods, and he also has separation anxiety. We don't have these issues at night - he trots in happily and starts chewing on a bone or toy. He doesn't try to escape. But then, I'm right there beside him too.

I've tried working with him by putting him in it randomly for short periods, with a chew or a peanut butter stuffed toy. He's fine with that. But if I leave the house, he doesn't play with anything, doesn't chew on the peanut butter toy... he grabs the front of the crate and tugs backwards as hard as he can to escape. I've tried DAP collars, calming music - but he panics and wants out. NOW!

If he weren't an insane puppy, I'd have no problem leaving him out while I'm not at home. But now that I've seen what he's capable of doing to his crate, I'd hate to come home and see what he's done to my house!!

Sunday, January 9

Don't mess with my stuff!

Today, I started giving my bedroom a much needed going over, throwing lots of stuff away, organizing, and otherwise leaving my room looking like a hurricane went through it.

Merlin, our Pembroke Welsh Corgi, always gets a little freaked out when we clean or move things, and will usually find a "safe spot" to hide until we're done.

Dax, our Australian Cattle Dog, well, gets more than a little freaked out. But he was handling it remarkably well.

First, he dashed in and out of my room looking at everything I was tossing. Then, he decided the best place for him to be was in the center of my bed, snuggled around all the piles of junk I was throwing out, and watching me carefully.

That bit was fine.

Then I had to move his crate for a few minutes. I think the little dog went into full-out panic mode. First, he kept slinking in and out of the cage. Then he began sneaking out all his toys (I keep his crate well-stocked with his favorites) and piling them up near the door. When I put his crate back in its original position, he started moving all his toys back in, and settled down inside to chew on his nylabone, keeping an eye on me while I tidied up a few last things.

While I don't follow his logic, thankfully I am finished for now with my cleaning. He's tired from being watchful and worrying, so he's napping comfortably beside me on the sofa.

Friday, January 7

Playing Agility with Roofus

Yesterday I took Roofus, my Old English Sheepdog, outside to see if I could get him started in agility. He's freaking humongous (30" or so at the shoulders) so I don't really want him doing most things in agility. Like contacts. Or weaves. And if I run him in CPE, he can do 16" as a specialist, so the jumping part isn't too bad. The only thing left that I don't really like is the tunnel - it's 24" tall, so giant dogs like Roo have to literally crawl through them, while every other dog can take them at a run. I'm still waiting for a "Giant Dog Breed Agility Association," but one does not look forthcoming. :( They have teacup dog agility, why not giant breed? Lower jumping heights (it is NOT necessary to jump a dog at 24", I'm sorry), bigger tunnels, wider dog walk and teeter, 30" weaves, and maybe a lower a-frame with a longer contact.

Anyhow, Roofus can be a dim bulb. And I say that in the most loving way imaginable. I wouldn't change a thing about him (except his recent leash aggression issue), I picked the breed knowing he was not going to win any IQ tests.

After he got used to the first jump back and forth a few times, I tried to step it up by running beside him. Going from one direction, that was fine. But going the other direction, he would run around the jump, no matter how nicely I lined him up or made it so the jump was impossible to run around. I started laughing because he's just a big fluffy goofball and he was having a great time running around the jump. :)

Eventually we worked it out, and I added in a tire jump, because I don't currently own more than one 16" jump (my other dogs jump 8" and 12"). Santa brought me a competition tire jump for Christmas, but it is at my in-laws, and alas, I had to use my cheesy, piece of crap tire jump that is roughly the same size around as Roofus is.

Our sequence looked like this - an enormous bunny butt running at the first jump, doing a tiny little hop, galloping towards the tire jump, EEEERK, slamming on the brakes, and walking daintily through the tire jump one leg at a time. :)

I love my Roofus!

Tuesday, January 4

One step forward... two steps back.

Now that the holidays are over, I'm hoping to blog a big more.

They are doing construction down the street from my house, in this lovely, big field that will now be filled with cookie cutter, overpriced houses. Joy.

The best part is that I can clearly hear all of it from my house. We had a nice hiatus with the holidays, but they're back in full-swing, and Dax is going nuts.

We had finally gotten to the point where he might stand on my chair once or twice in the morning, and a repeat in the afternoon, just as a little "check-in." He'd lay quietly or entertain himself, and then when work was over for the day, happily participate in whatever was planned (or happened).

Now with all the machinery moving around, he's nervous and hyper. He continually stands on my chair and slurps me in the head. He's bringing me all his favorite toys, dropping them into my lap or nudging me with them. Whether he's trying to bribe me to get the noises to stop, or just get me to play so he can forget his troubles, I've no idea.

Hopefully he can adapt to the new noises (which irritate me as well), otherwise it's going to be a very long year until those houses are built.