Inflicting A Reign Of Terrier On A Pup
Iknow humans are typi cally your s ubject, but this is a relationship question, so I hope you’ll consider answering it. I have a new puppy ( an 8- pound t errier mutt). I eventually want her to sleep i n bed with me. However, she’s not t oil et- t rained yet, s o I “crate” her at night in the laundry room (in a small dog cage). She cries all night. It’s heartbreaking. Please help!
We call dogs “man’s best friend” and treat them just like our human best friends — if at 11 p.m. you say to your BFF, “Wow — wouldja look at the time,” gently remove her beer from her hand, and usher her to her cage in your laundry room.
Crate t r aining, r ecommended by vets, breeders and the American Kennel dog to a “den” — a cage or gated-off area — with her bed and her favorite toys to dismember.
However, the crate is not supposed to be used for punishment — as a sort of Doggy San Quentin — but, say, for times you can’t watch her to keep her from using the $3,000 leather couch as a chew toy or the antique Persian rug as an opulently colored hand-knotted toilet.
The problem you’re experiencing in crating your dog at night comes out of doggy-human coevolution.
Anthrozoologist J ohn W.S. Bradshaw explains that over generations, we humans bred dogs to be emotionally dependent on us.
Not surprisingly, dogs miss t heir owners, somet i mes desperately, when t hey are s eparated f r om t hem — and other dogs tional void.
I n one of Bradshaw’s studies — of 40 Labrador retrievers and border col- lies — “well over 50 percent of the Labs and almost half of the collies showed some kind of separation distress” when left alone.
Fortunately, puppies can be t r ained t o understand that your picking up your car keys isn’t human-ese for “Goodbye, forever!”
Bradshaw’s advice in Dog Sense: “Pick up keys, go to door, praise dog.” Next: Pick up keys. Go out door. Come right back in. Praise dog. Next: Go out for increasingly longer intervals — and “go back a stage” (timewise) if the dog shows anxiety.
And good news for you: You probably don’t have to spoon with your dog to keep her from feeling separation distress at night.
My tiny Chinese crested now sleeps (uh, snores like a cirrhotic old wino) on my pillow, resting her tiny snout on my neck. However, back before she had her bathroom business under control, I went t hrough t he cryingat-night-in-the-crate thing (actually a gated alcove by
I felt like the second coming of Cruella de Vil. Then I remembered something about dogs: They have a sense of smell on the level of superhero powers. May- be my dog didn’t have to be in bed; maybe near bed would do. I snagged a big see-through plastic container (maybe 4 feet long and 3 feet high) that my neighbors were tossing out.
At bedtime, I put it next to my bed and put my dog in it with her bed and a pee pad. She turned around three times, curled up, and went to sleep — after giving me a look I’m pretty sure said, “Hey, next time you’re gonna throw me in ‘the hole,’ gimme some notice, and I’ll menace t he mailman and chase the neighbors’ bratty children with a sharpened Nylabone.“