Do Not Put Your Hands Through The Bars
Or anything else for that matter…..
Marshall has two crates in our house so that he can be where Sharkey, Charm and I spend most of our time. Until he can be house trained he gets supervised time outside the crate and is doing well, but having total freedom of the indoors would be setting him up to fail. Until he trusts me I cannot house-train him. He’s also so frightened of most things that the house overwhelms him most of the time.
The crate I have in my office is a wire sided crate that’s 3 x 4 and three feet high. I chose the crate specifically because it’s open, airy and allows for him to be more social than a regular crate. It has a solid bottom and I’ve put towels and a fleece blanket down for him to cozy into. The sun comes through the window most of the day and he seems to enjoy the light and warmth.
With his history of ten years on a puppy mill, I should have anticipated that there would be problems with the wire ‘sides’ of the crate. The other day he was sitting up looking alert and observing the tug of war Sharkey and I were having over a sock…. word of advice – be certain you WANT to teach your dog to take off your socks before you attempt the deed – you may be creating a monster! I digress. Marshall was observing our tug of war and his ears were up, he seemed interested. I put my hand up to the bars of the crate to give him a pet and he jumped to the back of the crate terrified at my attempt. He cowered back there and began to shake all over.
Pretty much any intrusion into a cage at a puppy mill means pain, fear or filth of some kind. Feces and urine falls down from above. Cruel people intrude into the cages to mistreat or grab the animals to throw them elsewhere. Dogs from adjoining cages often attack in an attempt to get food or prove dominance. If legs or feet slip through the wire to the cages below dogs often break their legs or get attacked by the dogs occupying those cages. Poor Marshall was terrified of what may happen to him.
So now, each morning when he is put into the crate he also gets a treat. I keep them in a canister on my desk and five or six times a day I slip one through the bars. I’ve also started to select certain times I can close my office door and leave the door of his crate open. Yesterday he found the courage to cross that threshold and explore the many corners of my office. I pretended to go on with my work and not notice he was wandering about. He doesn’t like anybody to ‘notice’ that he’s taking an interest in anything. The mirror being stored behind the door fascinates him. But I’ll save that story for another time.