Thursday, August 14, 2008

This Jack Russell puppy may look harmless, but she has earned her nickname of devil. We picked her up at 8 weeks old in February, and the house has not been the same, in good ways and not-so-good ways. Regardless, I am totally attached, and at times, Mike has been completely distraught.

We were crate training her which we knew she would not like. Like good pet owners, we took her outside religiously—every 2-3 hours, including twice in the early morning hours (2am and 5 am). And we followed everyone’s instructions:

-Keep her in the crate most of the day
-Make the crate small, so that she feels like she is in a den
-Feed her in the crate
-Discipline her when she poops or pees in the crate
-Put the crate in the center of the house

But she pooped in the crate. At first we thought she would grow out of it, so we endured. But after 3 months, we were beside ourselves. We were tired from getting up in the middle of the night, and it was so frustrating to have to give her a bath and clean poop 4 times per day.

Our vet was stumped; he felt so bad for us that he took her for a week at a time just to give us a break. We spoke to numerous dog trainers and all of them went through the list (do you feed her in the crate, is the crate small), and then would say, “That is so strange. You never hear of a dog doing that. You are doing all the right things. I don’t know what to tell you.”

We were ready to give her away. Mike believed she was the devil incarnate and just was a fundamentally flawed and nasty dog. So as a last ditch effort, we sent her to camp. We sent her to a kennel that also does training for a week. The trainer told us that she was sensitive (which is rare for her breed) but very smart and stubborn with lots of energy. He gave us some training exercises and changed the crate we used and how we discipline her, and she’s like a new dog.

Don’t get me wrong: she chewed another one of my shoes yesterday, but I’m not cleaning out her crate 4 times a day, so I’ll take it.


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