Thursday, July 14, 2011

separation anxiety? boredom? curiosity? puppy-ness? aka the return of wacky wednesday

i may have mentioned that my dog is a jerk. as of last night, he is the jerk who came between us and at least two episodes of Big Brother. this is unacceptable.

this chair used to be shoved right into the corner here, blocking access to that box--the box which brings in the signal from verizon to our dvr, router, and phone.

"i keep trying to tell you to pay attention to me and not your stupid computer. this is what you get."--Des

all kidding aside, we don't know what to make of this. we feel angry that he has ruined more of our stuff but confused as to why he did it this time.

i haven't mentioned it to many people yet, but our attack plan of no-go spray, boundary spray, and a DAP diffuser, plus nightly trips to the dog run was working perfectly. perfectly. since june 28th. we were coming home to no destruction or surprises at all.

then, this week started off poorly with us not spraying the no-go on monday. desmond peed in the house every day this week--even after we sprayed again on tuesday and wednesday and, of course, cleaned up thoroughly with the proper pet odor elimination products.

plus, he ate our cable. and internet. and phone. (in essence. don't judge me for exaggerating. he took jordan away from me and is delaying our camping trip by making us have to wait for the verizon guy to show up and fix his mess. by the way, Dear Verizon: Why can you not be a peach and just overnight us a new plug? It seems to be that simple from what we can tell. We'd pay shipping; you'd save on resources. You kind of suck right now. Love, Desmond's parents)

[it is at this point that i'm going to start inserting random photos of desmond being cute to help lighten the tone and break up my very wordy post.]

desmond chillin' in his new favorite spot. "what, you never seen a dude passed out on your bathroom floor before?"

so, yes, we are very thrown off by the pee situation (though he has been drinking a lot more water recently, so maybe he simply has to go), but the wire thing is even weirder. if you look at the picture, you can see that one of his treat-dispensing toys is at the scene of the crime. our theory is that he was knocking around over there, trying to get the food out, and wound up pushing the chair to the side. this gave him access to a spot of the house where he has never been or even known about. he must have started sniffing around over there and decided that would be a fun wire to chew on.
this theory makes us believe it's not a separation anxiety thing, and we're not even sure it's boredom, because he wouldn't have been over there if not for the food. can we say it was a combination of curiosity and puppy-ness? if this had been the first wire he'd discovered, would he have chewed it, or did he chew it only because he's sparked a love for wires? (see what i did there?)

in any case, this poses a problem bigger than a chewed wire and missed POV & HOH competitions. we feel like we're back at square one, before we had all this progress with the sprays and diffuser. we were at a point this weekend where we discussed when we would start bringing some things back into our living room or dining room to see if we could begin getting our lives back to normal now that the dog was calm all day. is that no longer a possibility? is he going to keep going back there now? is he going to get to other wires? and, really, when is he going to just eat the tv?

"what? he doesn't need to breathe to be happy."

what do we do? dog walker? new trainer? sedatives? crate? wait it out and take our chances? install an industrial door? doggie daycare? hire a bouncer? completely empty the majority of the first floor of our home? hypnosis?

of the non-jokes listed above, there are few options that are realistic for us for various reasons, and i still hold my stance that crating is a last-resort solution (for us. again, i want to be clear that i am not saying crating is abusive or negative or not a fantastic option for many, many people and their dogs). putting desmond in a crate is something that will work only if his actual issue isn't separation anxiety anymore. if he becomes calm all the time but simply bored and/or curious, continuing to get himself into trouble, i will consider a crate. until crating becomes absolutely necessary--our only option before drugging him--i will try other approaches.

look, we got a dog knowing that something like this could be the turnout. we can't blame desmond. it's hard not to be upset about the things getting damaged or ruined, but he's not spiting us. we don't care for him any less because of the destruction. we need to figure out how to get him to understand what is and is not appropriate behavior while we're out, which is easier said than done.

desmond enjoys his new "bed"

we discussed putting up a regular door between the living room and dining room so that at least we could stop worrying about our tv and other things that simply cannot be removed from that room. the door that is between the spare room and kitchen has been safe from harm ever since we put the doggie gate up in front of the door (thanks again to aunt jane for that suggestion), so that combination should work for the living room. however, because desmond chewed the wire to the AC in the kitchen, a door at the living room entrance would cut him off from air conditioning during the hot summer days.

yes, we could just replace the air conditioner, but that is not a cheap or easy thing to do, especially when you add in the purchase of the door and the new gate. this option is not entirely out of the question.

yes, we could hire a dog walker. it's something we are currently looking into, for pricing.

we have agreed that we don't think hiring a new trainer is the answer. we have both done a lot of reading and don't feel that desmond's problem is necessarily going to be solved by training. we also fear that most trainers are going to tell us the answer is to crate him. um...thanks?

and again i say, why did we spend $80 on a dog bed?

our plan of action at this point is to further desmond-proof the room as much as we can and then cross fingers and wait it out. maybe get a door & new AC. maybe get a dog walker. we feel like we want to give him up to a year to settle down. he's 16 months old--still a puppy in many ways--and he missed out on a lot of what would have been a normal puppyhood, so he may be on some kind of developmental delay or like a child who was raised in a stern household and rebels when he goes off to college. if he's still doing this stuff by the time he's 2 years old, we'll have to seriously consider crating him. i don't like to think about that, so i won't start here.

if we all get lucky and he seems to go back to being calm and normal, i want to test him by putting objects back into the room and seeing if he feels compelled to explore them with his teeth. by this, i mean objects that are not our actual belongings, but random items we can buy at the dollar store or something, so that if he does destroy them, no one cares. i'd hate to put our actual stuff back when we think it's safe, only to find out we were quite wrong.

don't worry, desmond, we still love you.

"what? they're on the floor and they're soft. what am i supposed to do--ignore them?"

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