Yesterday an excellent dog behavourist made a housecall. I gained a lot of knowledge about my dog’s brain. Turns out 8 year old Mandy is exceptionally bright and I’ve done a good job teaching her the basic commands. She loves to work for “good girls” and neck rubs and this will come in handy as we move forward. It’s not going to be easy, however, to subdue her nasty barking habit—sadly a byproduct of her anxiety.
In an effort to ease her anxiety over being left alone, I bought and installed a wooden gate. This way she could still see the front door but remain confined to her warm, cozy basement abode. As I was getting everyone into the car, my five year old came yelling. “Come see this Mom, it’s really cool. Mandy can jump right over the gate.” I moved the gate up a couple of steps. She make the leap effortlessly. I then moved the gate to the top of the steps. Check. She appeared contained so I left.
When I arrived at work I realized the gate to the main floor was also closed. This meant that if she did jump the new gate, she would be stuck on the stairwell between floors. No water and no toys, save for about 20 pair of shoes and a lace window treatment on my front door. I called for backup patrol. She had in fact jumped the gate and was a happy prisoner amid the risers.
For her safety, the upstairs gate was opened. Ironically, the same gate that was meant to keep her in the basement was now restricting her from roaming there. Checkmate. Did I mention Mandy is extremely smart?
On my way home I planned my next opportunity to return my latest purchase. At home I discovered that before she jumped the new $20 gate, she actually attempted to chew her way through it. Wooden splinters filled the foyer. I’m the proud owner of a slightly usable gate.
And after our walk I also noticed a nice little brown package on the newly patched carpet. Thanks Mandy you’ve saved me a trip to Wal-Mart Customer Service and blended the new carpet nicely with the old.
Day 1 of retraining. Commands are going well. Barking under control when I’m home. Human interventions are failing.