|Hmm what's wrong with this picture?|
I shared with you back in September that we welcomed a new member to our family back in September. I won't go into the story of how we came to adopt "Fergus", instead of "Lloyd" (the Boston Terrier / Pug that I had originally gone to the Humane Society to adopt). I shared that story with you back in September.
Back in September Fergus was this timid little dog who was afraid of Christopher. When we would raise our hand to pat him he would cringe and shrink away. The broom horrified him. It was heartbreaking. I told Christopher that I was going to give him a month to settle in and feel safe before I began to discipline. I wanted him to know that he was not going to be beaten, that our house was a safe place. Perhaps that was a mistake. Did I mention that I know nothing about dogs? I mean we had a dog, Maggie for years and years, but that does not make me an expert. Everything I read said to make sure that we had a crate, because dogs like crates. We had just shelled out close to $500.00 for adoption fees and dog supplies, another $150.00 for a dog crate was not in the budget. The first night we put him in the laundry room and made a makeshift door out of laundry bins. He was good as gold. I kept waiting for the crying, but it did not come. Night number two, there was some short lived crying, and then he settled in. Night number three he jumped over the bins, crying and crying desperate to get to me. That was his last night away from my side, I just didn't have the heart for it.
Fergus is a beautifully natured little dog he lets us put our hands in his mouth while he's eating, but he's naughty, oh he's naughty. He likes to eat crayons (every poop is a colourful surprise), he likes to chew plastic toys. In other words he likes to find trouble. He especially gets into trouble if left by himself alone. When we leave him by himself even for minutes that little dog creates a whole whirlwind of damage. He has eaten all the tiles in our side door landing, and in the downstairs bathroom. He chewed the corners off of my coffee table. The pice de resistance was when he dug a hole in Riley's mattress, nice, really nice. Something had to be done. We bit the bullet and bought a
|Notice how the innocent little lamb has|
fallen asleep clutching in his little black and white
paws one of the children's wooden building blocks
that he was chewed to wood pulp.
We watched episodes of "The Dog Whisperer" to see if we could learn any tricks to train our bad dog. Here is what I have decided, I would like to karate chop the Dog Whisperer on the top of the head! He goes into peoples homes and solves problems so easily. A little "tsssk" and the vicious dog is beautifully natured. No, the dog whisperer is entertaining, but not really a great help for Fergus.
We combed the internet looking for information about crate training. That seemed like the something that would save our sanity. All the information suggested getting them used to the crate before ever locking them in it. We (by we I mean Christopher, while I sat on the couch shouting things out) set up the crate. The kid's loved it! (see top picture). Every time would walk past Fergus he would say in a bit of an evil voice "You're going in a crate". I kept waiting for the evil maniacal laugh and the hands being rubbed together. The kids seemed to think that the crate was a great playhouse for them. Fergus wanted in on the fun and so he would go in with them. We kept the door open at all times so that he could get used to it.
Once the crate had been set up for a while and seemed like a safe place, we locked him in when we left the house. He did pretty well. Lately he has not been as in love, but we force him in, wanting to come home to furniture. It's working out quite well. It turns out I really like that little dog a lot more when he is not destroying the house!
We still keep the crate door open. The other day Christopher noticed a really funny thing (see picture below). Fergus's crate has become full of toys. I assumed that Christopher and the kids were throwing Fergus's toys in there, like a big toy box. Then I saw Fergus going around the room cleaning up his own toys and putting them into his crate. It was the funniest thing that I have seen in a long time! He has included some of the kid's toys as well as his own, and some bits of Christmas wrap. I need to get into talks with TLC about a reality show called Fergus the Hoarding Dog.