Saturday, 2 November 2013

Fun on the furniture...

Good intentions.  It's what we all have when we adopt any dog or puppy.  But how many of your rules have stuck?  How many of your rules did you yourself truly believe in?

When we got Caesar, we had a short (we thought) list of rules that were going to form the foundation of our relationship.  They were as follows:

1.  No going upstairs
2.  Must sleep in a crate
3.  To be contained to dining room when left alone.
4.  No going on the furniture

I can quite honestly say that none of these rules are now in place.  But, hopefully, I can justify the reason for the majority of them being scrapped.  Let's break these down.

1.  No going upstairs
We spent the first few days of Caesar's adoption chasing him back downstairs.  He would insist on investigating the top of the stairs and rooms surrounding.  It consumed a great deal of our time stopping this and, having fitted a baby gate, he proceeded to jump over it.  The problem was, Caesar wanted to be wherever I was and if that place was upstairs, then it was upstairs that he wanted to be.  Eventually, I got him to stay downstairs.  Then, one day while I was alone in the house and in the shower, I heard a lot of noise coming from downstairs.  I couldn't get down to find out what he was doing and by the time I did he had pulled things off shelves and torn pieces of paper to shreds.  He had also gone to the toilet on the floor.  I realised how uncomfortable he was being left and it hit me that, by extending that time to times when I was upstairs as well as times when I was out of the house, I extended his anxiety.  I decided that I was fighting a losing battle by banishing him to the downstairs of the house and so, eventually, taught him how to follow me up and down the stairs carefully.  Now, he sits in the bathroom while I have a shower or even go to the toilet.  He gets ready with me for nights out and watches me while I do my hair on a morning before work.  Never again has he destroyed anything in the house while I have been there...

Now I've broken this rule, I can't even go to the toilet in peace!

2.  Must sleep in a crate
The point of this rule was to make Caesar feel safe but also to stop him from destroying anything while we were in bed.  He hated his crate from the word go, despite our trying everything in the book.  We fed him in there, we left treats and toys in there and, when all that didn't work, we eventually tried sitting in there with him.  Caesar's in-crate behaviour was not only naughty but downright dangerous.  He would screech and cry for some time and then we would hear a lot of clattering and crashing.  On going downstairs, we would find thin trails of blood everywhere, usually coming from his tail.  Caesar had learnt to force the crate door by crashing into it so hard that he hurt himself.  When he was trapped inside, he would bite his tail until it bled.  After a few nights, we realised that he was less likely to hurt himself by being left out of his crate within the confines of the dining room; even if the dining room suffered as a result.

Much happier in his own comfy bed

3.  Be contained to the dining room
The dining room in our house is a good size and had toys, bowls of food and drink as well as a comfortable bed and crate for Caesar.  However, none of these proved enough to satisfy him.  And, on returning from work, I would take a pause before opening the door.  Caesar had usually, at the very least, messed on the floor but usually, had skidded around on the dining table, pulled books off the shelves and bitten his tail some more.  Eventually, my dog trainer suggested giving him the run of the house...

The second week that we had Caesar - exhausted from playing with his Kong all around the house!

4.  No going on the furniture
After a few months of developing an unbreakable bond with Caesar, I realised that I wanted to take him for a cuddle on a night or sit him on my knee on an evening.  So, selfishly, he is now allowed on the furniture.

I'll admit it was a mistake telling him that he was 'allowed on the furniture'...

So there you are, all 4 rules broken in the first 18 months.

What rules have you broken?  Leave a comment and let us know.