Monday, January 4, 2010

Another Achilles Crisis

Before I get to my Christmas recaps, I am here begging for help. I fear I am at my wit's end.

I have chronicled in great detail our struggles with Achilles and his separation anxiety. He has always been a challenge, and our efforts to crate train him have been a constant battle. Basically, I'm convinced it's not possible. If you need background to this discussion, please read my whole outline of our struggles here. And check out this video.

Basically, throughout our five years with Achilles, it has been my dream to have him nicely crate-trained like my earlier dog (living with my Dad) Lucy. Lucy would just go right in her crate when it was time for us to leave, and sleep in there, and then come out when we got home. No troubles. But not Achilles. Why? Because Achilles is PSYCHOTIC.

So as we've been trying to make this crate thing work for him (because if we don't he digs holes through doors and floors), he just keeps presenting us with one challenge after another, and we keep coming up with answers. Just when we think we finally outsmarted him, it's something else. Most recently, he figured out how to open his crate (again, see video above). So, we started actually padlocking it. Ridiculous, right? No, not ridiculous - NECESSARY.

No, he has not figured out how to turn the key to unlock himself. Heaven help me if he ever does that, because I surrender. Now we've reverted back to an old problem: moving the crate. He used to do this so we started putting plastic car mats under there, which (we thought) both kept the floor dry from his EXCESSIVE slobbering (though I now learn this is not true), and held him in place so he couldn't slide himself around.

But now, all of a sudden, those mats are not doing the trick anymore. HE'S SLIDING AGAIN. I realized this when I came home on Wednesday to this sight:

See that nice, clear, nothing-to-destroy open space against the wall? That's where he's SUPPOSED to be.

The problem is not the sliding itself. If he were JUST sliding, he could slide his little self all over the apartment for all I care. The problem is he's sliding with purpose. And what is that purpose? DESTRUCTION. What you can't see in the above picture is our duvet cover. Our lovely, beautiful, wedding-gift, they-don't-sell-it-anymore-so-don't-even-think-about-getting-a-replacement duvet cover is pulled through the bars of his crate with a giant hole now torn in it.

I know this is a lousy cell phone picture, but can you make out that hole? BAD. DOG.

I had hoped this was a one-time deal, so I put everything back in order before I went out again today and hoped for the best. Hey, guess what? NOT A ONE-TIME DEAL. This time, just in case, at least I thought to pull up our sheets/duvet cover/bedskirt so he couldn't pull those in and shred them. But, by tucking up the bedskirt, I left exposed a bag of little stuffed animals Eric and I have given each other over the years that I was storing under the bed. And oh, THE CARNAGE. Stuffed animals pieces EVERYWHERE.

I make jokes as a defense mechanism here, people. But seriously, I need help. What do I do? How can I keep him from sliding around? I can't tie his crate to anything unless it is an immovable object, so that's not an option. Is there a way to weigh the crate down? Anything with better friction we can put under it to keep it from sliding? I need some suggestions. Please, don't think like you're trying to contain a cute little chihuahua - think, instead, that you are containing THE HULK. Or Superman. Or someone equally uncontainable. WHY IS MY DOG MENTALLY ILL?!

I'm just so frustrated that after all this time we still deal with this. He's such a smart dog, but after five years, he still hasn't learned that when we leave, we always come back. He hasn't learned that being in the crate is no different than being out of the crate - just sleep the day away like usual! It's so, so frustrating.

Any suggestions are welcome, as are prayers for my sanity.


Dad said...

Did you have it turned over like we did here?

Anonymous said...

can,t you get a creaight that he can,t see out of kelley has a metel one that you can only see out the front door it has metel sides love gramz

Anonymous said...

How about drugging him with dramamine or benadryl or something?
Aunt Rachel

Mrs. W. said...

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

Dad - we don't have one of those office chair mat thingies, we have car mats. We couldn't find a mat like yours that was small enough to fit our space. We may have to do some searching though, maybe if our mat had those spikey things it would help.

Gramz - I am definitely going to look into different crate types. Unfortunately, even if he can see out the door, that's usually enough space for him to pull stuff through to destroy.

Aunt Rachel - we've tried drugging him when we travel, and it does NOTHING! He's like superhuman. He just gets himself into such a fit that there's nothing that can calm him, drugs or otherwise. It's unreal.

You see what kind of beast I am dealing with here?! He's CRAZY!

Dad said...

Hmmm...any possibility of tying hime spread eagle to the floor of the crate? Might work and would certainly be worth a pic :o)

ps..don't tell him I said that

Anonymous said...

if you get a closed craight maybe you can tie his craight to the wall and then can,t get near anything

love you gramz

Becky said...

I wonder if there is some sort of adhesive that you could put on the bottom of the crate that would hold it to the floor. Unfortunately it would probably ruin the floor, but looking at your picture it kind of looks like its already ruined. Maybe you could ask at a Home Depot place or even ask the people at petsmart or wherever you get your stuff. Have you talked to your vet about it? They might have some ideas on what to do as well. There is one other possible solution: get another dog for company. I know you probably don't want to hear that, but it could be a solution. He is so afraid of being alone, so if he had a playmate he wouldn't be alone and the problem just might be solved. As long as you don't get another psychotic one!!!! Wish I could be more help...

AD said...

I say weight the crate.