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Monday, May 22, 2006

Testing Out Of Crate Behavior

We have finally begun the process of testing our Labs' loyalty and ability to behave.

It is a normal ritual to get up bright and early on Sunday mornings to head out grocery shopping. Normally there is hardly anyone in the store and what used to take us at least an hour, takes us only 30 minutes at the most. So, as we get our shopping list together, we will tell Cheyenne and Dakota to "kennel up", which means for them to go into their crates while we are gone. Normally, we never leave them out on their own however, this Sunday was different.

Neither of the Lab Brats had any idea what was going on as we proceeded to walk out of the house with our grocery list and keys in hand. They tried to follow us out the door but we insisted that they stay. Of course, before leaving, we took anything out of the main living area that Cheyenne liked to chew on and closed all the doors to the bedrooms and bathroom. Sure, we trust Dakota but, well, Cheyenne is not even 7 months old and still loves to nibble on things she shouldn't.

To our amazement, we came home to two sleeping pups and no damage to our house at all. Our return was treated with barks - telling us that we were not welcome if we were strangers. However, once they saw us and our blue shopping bags, all was forgiven! Why did I mention the shopping bags? Well the girls know that when we return from food shopping on Sunday mornings, they get a special treat - Frosty Paws (doggie ice cream). As the tails were wagging, we led them outside to where they enjoyed their wonderful treat in the early morning sun.

Will we try this again? Actually we did do it again for a couple of more hours throughout the day and will try it again next weekend. It is a slow and steady process to reassure our dogs that they will be fine without being crated all the time and that we will, indeed, return. This will help them feel more secure during these times and help alleviate any separation anxiety they may have. For we all know that the more comfortable they feel, the more likely we will return to a well kept house.


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