Earlier today, I actually had the feeling that we might have made a mistake adopting these dogs. Instead of getting better at housetraining and getting along, it seemed that Nutmeg and Nora were backsliding.
They got in such a nasty fight the other day that when I was trying to pull them apart, my hand got in the way, and I received a bite that barely broke the skin, but caused enough bruising that it looked as though I had just had blown a vein from an IV in the back of my hand.
A Crate is Not a Bathroom, Yo.
The dogs’ bad habit of using the crate as a bathroom was getting worse, not better. Every day when I’d come home from work, I had a smelly mess waiting for me along with a couple of urine-soaked towels. From everything I’d read on the Internet about dogs pooping in crates, it became apparent that the crate was too big. Apparently, the crate should be just big enough for the dog to get up and turn around.
So, last night, Husband Jim and I went to PetSmart and bought two new crates. They are only 25” X 19” X 20” and were super simple to set up. Nutmeg took a toy inside hers immediately, turned around in a circle, and laid right down. Nora wasn’t quite so sure. We decided to have them sleep in the crates last night because we haven’t been able to get them to settle down when they sleep with us, resulting in a lack of sleep on our end.
Without too much trouble, we got Nora into her crate, gave both dogs treats and went to bed. There was some barking and howling during the night, but not an excessive amount. This morning, I was very anxious to see what awaited me in the crates. Would they be fecal disasters? Thankfully, no. I’m happy to report that they only peed in the crates during the night. I had hoped that they would be dry in the morning, but at least I didn’t have the usual mess.
Two Crates are Better Than One
After letting the dogs out of their crates, I took them outside to their little fenced-off area that Jim made for them last week. In some ways, having this area outside of the garage is nice because we don’t have to take the dogs out on leashes and stand in the rain with them, but it also causes them to procrastinate as they eat the plants next to the house.
When we came back in the house, I took their little dog beds down to the laundry room and brought up a couple of beach towels to reline their new crates. Even though the dogs had only been out of my sight for a moment, there was a nice little surprise waiting for me on the kitchen floor when I came back upstairs. Crap. So, I cleaned that up and went to wash out the rag I had used with the XO cleaner. When I returned to the kitchen I caught Nutmeg in the act! I was livid, and it’s a darn good thing I’m not a dog beater, because I was more than a little riled up.
That’s when I started thinking that maybe this is why the spouse of their deceased owner wanted to euthanize them. What if they kept doing this stuff for him? I can imagine it would get old real quick, especially if you’re not a dog lover.
Maybe We Should Cut Our Losses?
Discouraged and dismayed, I thought about telling Jim when he got up that we should consider giving these two little ladies back to the rescue organization. I mean, after five weeks, I had hoped to make a lot more progress on their issues. Grumbling, I took them back outside, on leashes this time and vowed not to let them back in until they, at least, squatted and pretended to go where they should. Nutmeg squats every five minutes, whether she has to go or not, so she wasn’t too much of a challenge. Nora was another story, so she ended up coming back inside having done nothing but try to reach the plants that she likes to gnaw on.
So for the rest of the day, they were either in their crates or on leashes. During the afternoon, we played fetch in the living room, and they had so much fun, they won my heart back again.
With the two crates, I no longer have to worry how much they’re beating each other up when we’re at work. In fact, at one point today, they started growling at each other, but both being separated, side by side, they couldn’t inflict any damage upon one another.
So, yes, the honeymoon is over, Nutmeg and Nora. You’re both walking on thin ice. Neither of you has had an accident since this morning. You’ve both given me a few little nips when trying to grab your toys from me, but there was no malice behind those. I love seeing your little tails wag and your tongues hanging from your mouths as you pant from numerous fetches. I love how when I sit down to write this blog post, you both want to hop up on my lap. I love how Nutmeg paws at my hand when she wants me to pet her. The honeymoon is over, but the marriage will probably last.