I like to think of myself as a responsible pet owner. But it took some work. We’ve done training classes, tricks to keep his mind occupied, regular vet visits, feeding him the best food possible for his 101 stomach issues, we even paid a trainer $50 a week to take him for 1 walk a week to leash train him. ok, so that one seems a bit excessive looking back on it, but we did what we could.
I was VERY fortunate to work at a GREAT veterinary clinic, with some of the most amazing staff, and a VERY talented, VERY knowledgeable vet, all of which made raising a crazy puppy a little easier.
We had no idea what we were doing when we got Bernie. When we got him, it took our then 14 year old son 4 days to house train him. It was great!! We weren’t sure if crate training was for us, so the first couple nights, we tried to get him used to sleeping with us in our room. When he was sick so young, it worked well for us to have him close in case an emergency came up middle of the night. Bernie never really liked the open space of our bedroom (Mississauga was a GREAT house) so we got a couple baby gates, and when bedtime came, set him up in the kitchen. This worked great, and he took to it right away.
Fast forward a couple days to when the we take the boys to the airport. We rushed out of the house after an impromptu birthday party for Rhys, put the dog in the kitchen, and out we went. We got home a couple hours later and it was a scene out of a comic strip. We pulled up in front of the house, and the curtain rod in the front window was down across the window. Hmmm… that’s strange. We put the key in the door, and hear a bark pretty close to the door. Not a good sign when the kitchen is in the back of the house. In we go and a fuzzball with a grin from ear to ear is lying on the landing (the ONLY carpeted place in the house) nest to a little present for us. We quickly survey the damage, and find the 1/2 of Rhys’s birthday cake that was left… gone… no where to be found. The knife we used to cut it is laying in the bathroom licked clean and spotless. There are about 4 rolls of toilet paper missing, and in what I’m sure is a completely unrelated matter, there has been a sudden “spitball blizzard” in the kitchen. There are socks we’re sure we’ve never seen since.
So Shel went out that afternoon and bought a crate. We crate trained him, and he loved it! Dogs by nature feel comfortable in a secure, clean, semi-darkened nesting space, away from all other distractions. When things get crazy, you can find Bernie snuggled down in his crate, away from the fuss. Its great, its helped with his anxiety, and really does relax him. Am I writing this to tell you that you should crate train your dog? no. (but I think you should 🙂 )
I’m writing because I’m a selfish owner. I’m writing because I want my dog to cuddle with me. Don’t get me wrong, he’s 120lbs of lapdog, and will crawl up onto my lap whenever I’m sitting down, but.. I’m laying in bed today, keeping Hayden company while he’s sick. And I want Bernie to keep ME company. I want him to lay on the bed and snuggle in. Doggy snores and pushes, and all of the fun stuff that comes with an afternoon nap with your puppy. But Bernie wont hear of it. He has to be bribed to even get on the bed. He’s not comfortable with “cushy” spaces. He likes to lay on the floor, or in his crate. If you put a blanket in his crate, he’ll either rip it up, or push it to the corner of the crate and turn his back to it. I’m thinking of keeping him in here tonight when bedtime comes, to see how he does. But I’m not sure its Bernie proof enough. I’ll let you know. 😛