Since Achilles has continued to consistently escape from his crate every time we leave him, we decided we needed to get to the bottom of this and see how this is actually happening. And the answer is: he uses his teeth. He licks/bites at the part of the crate with the handle, until eventually he gets it hooked on his bottom teeth and slides it over. That tricky little dog.
To make this discovery, we set up our camera to videotape him while we went to church yesterday. Our camera had 40 minutes of recording time, and we wondered if that would be enough. And the answer is: yes. Yes, it would. Achilles was free in 10 minutes and 49 seconds.
The video is below. I did a little editing, because the escape attempts were accompanied by lots of barking. There still is lots of barking in the edited video, but honestly, I cut out about 5 minutes of barking. The below video is only about 5 minutes long (not the full 10:49) and gives you a very good idea of how Achilles spends his time in the crate. In case you're in a rush and don't want to watch the whole thing, this is the video breakdown:
0:05 We just left. Let the barking begin.
0:28 Retrieves his treat from his food bowl and tries to bury it.
0:39 Tries to bury his entire food bowl (while barking).
1:07 Escape attempt #1. Fails. Goes back to barking.
1:19 Escape attempt #2. Fails again. More barking.
1:33 Licks and randomly bites at bars.
1:53 Escape attempt #3. You can see the handle moving. You can also see dog slobber dripping down from the crate. Gross. Stops to bark at a passing siren.
2:25 More bar licking, then escape attempt #4. More slobber dripping. Tries to use his paw. Fails. Barks.
3:03 Escape attempt #5. Fails. Goes back to burying his food bowl.
3:46 More bar licking.
3:58 Escape attempt #6...
4:49 SUCCESS! Free at last!
4:55 Grabs a bite to eat, shakes off his slobber Hooch-style (of Turner and Hooch, of course), and goes on his way.
Please enjoy the following video (and be sure to turn your speakers on to enjoy the music!). If you're anything like me, as the video progresses, you'll start cheering the little guy on. Go, Achilles, go! You can do it! Don't give up! "...they may take our lives, but they'll never take our FREEDOM!" (Braveheart, naturally. I'm all about the movie references all of a sudden.)
VIDEO: Achilles' Crate Escape
And in case you're wondering what he does once he goes out of our video sight, the answer is: Continues barking for a bit. Finds trash. Destroys trash and carries it all over the house. Sleeps on the bed and waits for us to come home.