Monday, November 29, 2010

Swift is Getting Smarter

When I first got the boys, their previous owner told me that they were crate-trained. I was excited because I didn't really want them running all over my house. It was my first place on my own, and I loved how clean it was.

Well, while they may have technically been crate-trained, I apparently didn't keep it up, because they hated being in their crate. I mean hated. Kool seemed to be okay with it, but Swift refused to get in his kennel. I tried all sorts of things. I put blankets in there (which Swift proceeded to shred); I put in toys, food, water, anything I could think of. I tried switching which crate they went in; I tried putting them in one crate together. Nothing worked. Swift would throw his little body up against the side of the crate to move it, and I would come home to find his crate rotated 180°. Twice, he moved his crate to the side of the couch and pulled in the edge of the couch cover through the door and proceeded to chew it up. One time he pulled it in so far, it took me a good five minutes to get it out. Oooh, he made me so mad that day!

I decided to try to put them in the kitchen. I felt better knowing that they would have access to water all day and that they would be able to walk around a bit. Again, no luck. I used the baby gates that I had gotten from the previous owner, but Swift knocked those down no problem. I tried putting different objects (chairs, couch, etc) in front of the doorway, but Swift was just able to push them away or jump over them. I was at my wits' end. I gave up and just put them in their kennels and tried not to let their whining and howling pull at my heartstrings.

Eventually it bothered me too much, so I bought a new baby gate. This one was stronger and had a locking mechanism. It kept the boys in the kitchen for several months. One day, Swift discovered that he could actually knock this one down, too, and then it was on! They never stayed in the kitchen again. I tried to use 2 gates together - the newer, locking one, and one of the older wooden ones. It was a 50/50 chance whether Swift would be able to get out. I never knew what I would come home to. And when he did get out, he always left Kool behind. Poor Kool was stuck in the kitchen while Swift had the run of the house. Swift eventually chewed a hole in the wooden gate, so I gave up on the kitchen idea.

Escape Artists

When I started fostering dogs for the Seattle Humane Society, they gave me a large crate for the dogs I was fostering. Apparently Swift and Kool loved this new, bigger kennel. I remember one of the first nights I had Elsie - I found all 3 dogs sleeping in the kennel. It was so adorable. However, by the next morning, the boys had kicked Elsie out and had taken over the crate. So I
tried to keep them away from it. But after the gate-chewing incident, I decided to try to use that kennel for them. It was a miracle! Swift actually wanted to get in the kennel every morning. I was shocked. I couldn't believe it. I just counted my blessings and hoped it would last.

It lasted a few months, and then one day, Swift decided he didn't like that crate any more. And ever since, it's been a constant battle. He hides under my bed, and when I pick him up to put him in the kennel, he shakes his little body as if he is terrified. I tried filling the hole under my bed where he hides, and it works for a while, but he eventually pushes everything aside to burrow deeper. I can usually coax him out by squeezing orange squeaky, but now he's caught on to that game. So now I have to squeak orange squeaky, then throw orange squeaky. Once Swift hears orange squeaky bouncing, he'll take off after it. However, this morning, Swift decided that he was smarter than that. So I threw orange squeaky about three times, but Swift only came out halfway from under the bed. The last time I threw it, Swift went after it, but once he saw me, he raced back under the bed. I yelled at him, "I don't have time for this!" and grabbed him from under the bed. Then he pulled his "I'm so scared" look and started trembling. It didn't bother me! Into the crate with Kool he went, and I left for work.

I just don't know what to do with that dog. Sometimes I swear he's smarter than me.

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