Thursday, November 01, 2007

Adventures in Crate Training

Let me just begin by saying that I hate that dog.

The more that I live with Tyson, the more I come to understand his personality.

Casey is like the ADD validectorian of your high school. She really really really wants to please the teacher and get an A in her class. She's always paying attention, and she's learning as much as she can. When you want her to perform, she's going to do her best - as long as there is nothing bright and shiny, or loud, or unexpected....or...well, as long as there isn't ANYTHING to distract her.

Tyson is more like a student who really likes his teachers, and wants them to like him, but when it comes right down to it, he can beat the living shit out of them. So if he doesn't want to listen, he knows he doesn't really have to. And since he's more stubborn than 99% of the population, he's practically guaranteed to get his way.

Unfortunately he lives with me, and I'm part of the 1% who can trump him in the stubborn department. I may not be able to find my way out of the forest with a map, and I may not be able to say no to chips and queso, but I'm a stubborn ass when I want to be.

All this basically means that Tyson and I are squaring off for an epic battle.

To review - Casey is crate trained. She has been crated since she was the six week old puppy who came to live with me. This is her crate:

Crate training her wasn't easy, but even though I know she would never harm my cat, I'm of the opinion that dogs do not need free reign over a household. A) I don't have an unlimited furniture budget, B) even the best dogs get into trouble sometimes, and C) they're dogs. I hate people who tell me that it's less cruel to let the dog roam free in a house all day. It's not. They're still confined. It's just a bigger crate. They spend most of the time sleeping anyway. (And to those who say, "Well I wouldn't want to be in a crate all day." I say "I don't really want to sniff pee and roll in it either. That's what makes us different than dogs.")

Casey is used to her crate now. So much so that exceptions can be made and she can sleep out with me sometimes, or spend days at a time with me and never go into her crate. But when I say "kennel up" she's in her crate immediately.

Tyson is NOT crate trained. Before we knew that he was insane, the boyfriend purchased a crate for him that was identical to Casey's, put him in it, and proceeded to get ready for work. He had just gotten to the bathroom and picked up his toothbrush when he saw Tyson sitting by the bathroom door. We estimate that it took him 30 seconds to break the welds on the door and shove his way out of the crate.

The next step was an airline kennel. It looks like this:

This one took him a little longer. It took him about 5 minutes to break the door off of its hinges to get out. After that, we did what any rational couple would do. We put bungee cords around the crate to hold the door in place, and then took the added step of facing the door of the kennel towards the wall (once Tyson was in it of course) and put the sofa behind the kennel to keep it from moving when he started trying to fight his way out.

That held him. It wasn't pretty, but it held him. We had just gotten to the point where Tyson was throwing shit fits (literally) when the boyfriend threw in the towl. I don't really blame him. I mean, he lived alone, crating Tyson was a huge pain in the ass and required furniture movement on a regular basis, which was unrealistic. So while he lived alone, the boyfriend basically gave in and Tyson had run of the apartment. He "loaned" his sister his crate to use for her dog.

Then the boyfriend and I moved in together. And you all know what happened then. But you've never actually SEEN the damage inflicted by the devil dog. Here it is, my friends, in all of its gruesome glory.

The carpet was destroyed within hours of moving Tyson into the apartment. Now, to keep our carpet from facing more destruction, we have placed an ugly piece of plastic over the torn carpet. Here's what it looks like now:

Note the cracks. The damn dog is digging through the plastic. But I guess I should be grateful that the door actually holds him in, right?

Since the day we moved in together, I've been telling the boyfriend that Tyson would be crate trained. I had visions of my beautiful apartment with an actual functioning guest room. Of my perfectly trained dogs who would go to bed on command. It was all too feasible...all I needed was a crate that Tyson couldn't break out of. Then he would learn once and for all that the humans in the apartment are actually the alpha dogs and are to be obeyed at all times.

I should be careful what I wish for, right? This time, I got it, but it's got a few unexpected strings attached.

More to come, but for now, I think the score stands at Tyson 1, Emily 0.


Cathy said...

Our neighbors had a very crazy dog and they had a dog trainer come to their home and help them with some of the behaviors. Our dog is perfect. Unless we leave her home alone. Then she becomes insane. Our solution is to take her everywhere. Yes, I know.

(found you on the NaBloPoMo randomizer)

dancanrun77 said...

Dear God in Heaven...this is why I don't own an animal.