Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
A Walk in the Woods
TODAY on TV
SOMETHINGS GOTTA GIVE
30 July 2004
Im singing the old Johnny Mercer tune these days.
Crate training is not going swimmingly.
When the crate arrived, Sheila became very suspicious. But I started feeding her in it. Previous to my getting serious about this training jazz, the dogs had a self-feeder, where they could eat throughout the day whenever they were hungry. But now thing were different. If Im going to be alpha dog, Sheila has to look to me for her needs.
So we started on a 2-meal a day plan for her and each meal is fed inside the crate. I began adding little bits of canned food to the kibble to make it a little more irresistible and she has taken to eating in the crate very well.
I also started keeping her toys at the back of the crate and she will cautiously enter the crate to get a toy.
Shes starting to get comfortable.
Today was the day to move on to step 2. That, according to reader Joan (not my neighbor Joan) is to begin putting her into the crate for short periods of time. Begin with 5 minutes, she says.
Before I actually got her into the crate with the door closed, I was wishing Id started this project a few weeks ago. We had cable TV guys running around the back yard and Sheila was going nuts. How lovely it would have been to send her to her crate. But, hindsight is 20/20. I was going to start to do it right.
She wasnt too happy about going into the crate, but I told her what a wonderful girl she was and gave her a tasty treat through the door. Then I left her alone. By 4½ minutes she was trying to remove the door, so I decided to leave her for another minute--to 6 minutes, because I didnt want her getting the notion that if she made enough noise, Id let her out.
At 6 minutes, I let her out, told her she was wonderful, let her out into the back yard (the workers had gone by then) and then we went back to business as usual.
In the afternoon, I was going to go for another 5 minute session.
Sheila decided I was not.
There was absolutely no way that she would budge, be pushed, or anything else. And, as the point of this is to make her LIKE being in the crate, to consider it her special place, I didnt want to force her painfully.
I gave up and came in to my computer to write to Joan and also to my editor, who had said to me this very morning, "I have two words for you: crate training."
The score now stands at Bev: 1, Sheila: 1.
Joan responded first and she suggested I remove the top portion of the crate, put in bedding, and let her use it as a bed. So I took off the heavy top that Id so painstakingly assembled after bringing it home from the pet store.
I gave her a blanket and a rug and put her toys in there.
She is sleeping on the hard floor under my feet.
The note came from my editor telling me that the bed idea is good, but not to let it go on too long because the point is to make her like being enclosed.
Obviously this, like everything else with the Solid Gold Dog, is going to take a bit longer than anticipated.
If I can get her to like this, she might easily go in. This morning we went to the new dog park. When we got across the grassy field from the park, there wasnt a soul around, so I just let her off leash. She had the entire park to run around in, but she ran straight to the gate into the dog park--because shes figured out that if shes in there, in the enclosed park, dogs will magically appear for her to play with. And they did.
They say you cant teach an old dog new tricks. Well, at 18 months, Sheila is still a new dog--Im the old dog and Im determined that I will learn the new tricks necessary to make this the dog that I really want, a dog that actually does what I say.
Unfortunately, I give up more easily than she does.
Never dreamed I'd ever get so much e-mail on dog humping behavior! Thanks to Kate for sending me to the definitive web site!
My Favorite Web Site today..
I don't know how interesting it is to anybody else, but I love these photos of the stairs of San Francisco--I knew so many of these hidden away staircases when I was growing up in The City and it's a great trip down Memory Lane to see them like this. One set of stairs is missing, those of Macondray Lane, made famous as the mythical "Barbary Place" in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City.