Friday, March 7, 2014

Brisbane and His Lairs

Before I had the patience and resourcefulness to come up with new ways to crate train a panicked puppy, baby Brisbane would scream all night in his crate. After a week of zero sleep I thumped the top of his plastic airline crate in frustration, interrupting his temper tantrum. He fell asleep immediately and willingly went into the crate at bedtime from then on.
I call him a crate junkie. Brisbane really isn't comfortable unless he has a crate to sleep in at night. When he was a tiny, adorable baby puppy I let him sleep in bed with me. After a couple of weeks he was big enough to get down from the bed himself, and he never slept on the bed with me ever again.

I'm sure Brisbane's need for a den of his own is a product of his general anxiety. He's a high-strung dog, and he can't fully relax unless he knows he is truly safe.
The crate makes him feel secure. It also makes a great place to hide when he thinks I might be considering giving him a bath or cutting his toenails. He definitely needs a place to retreat when scary things happen, and after almost nine years he still sleeps in his bedroom crate every night. Brisbane has definite feelings about bedtime too, he often retires long before the humans in the house. His bedroom lair is covered with a blanket and filled with a homemade fleece bed atop three layers of eggcrate foam from a twin mattress pad I cut up. Comfort, cheap, cheap comfort.

The dogs are allowed on all the furniture, but Brisbane is happiest when he also has a crate in the livingroom. The current one is a 36" Noz2Noz n2 Sof-Krate that I found stuffed in the rafters of the garage when we moved into this house.
The previous tenants had a husky puppy, and I assume he ripped his way out of it at some point. I could buy a replacement cover for a lot less than I'd pay for a whole new soft crate, but Brisbane has ripped his way out of one before so I don't plan on using this one to confine him. Its entire purpose is to provide a lair for him to lurk in when he feels the need.

Josie also enjoys lurking from time to time, but her hind end weakness combined with her lack of spinal flexibility means she needs a very wide crate. She can't walk backwards at all, and has an enormous turning radius, so she can get stuck in an otherwise roomy crate. Josie enjoys napping in Brisbane's livingroom lair, but usually needs help getting back out. Wandering Costumer gave me a huge plastic airline crate before she left on her trip, Josie gets stuck in that one too. I need to set up my gargantuan wire crate for her.

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