Friday, August 6, 2010

Little Houdini

My dog, Jack, is a free spirit. He does not like to be confined to small spaces. He also does not like to be left alone. And if you do either, or both, you pay dearly for it. In fact, Pmo has to tie Jack up outside when he's mowing or else Jack leaves a nice little present inside. And when I leave for work, I make sure all the bedroom doors are closed because Jack's been known to create a trail of unpleasantness if I don't.

So when I had to work a dayshift this week, and the dogs were going to be cooped up all day, I did what I always do when they're put up for more than a few hours. I barricade them in the kitchen with a tall piece of black cardboard and a couple of chairs. That way, if there is an accident, I can clean it up with no problem. I can't use the baby gate that keeps them in their bedroom at night because the entranceway is too wide. And I have a feeling Jack would jump over it if he really wanted to. He doesn't really care about being cooped up at night anymore. As long as he's not in a pet taxi.

Anyway, I threw my plan into action and start with Bug, who was good to go. He just curled up on his quilt I tossed on the kitchen floor and looked at me like, "You still here?" Jack, however, needed a little more coaxing. Physically. I had to pick him up and place him in the kitchen because he wouldn't go on his own. As I slid the cardboard across, Jack was whining from underneath the kitchen table. And I knew he didn't like it but I didn't want any surprises on the carpet when Pmo got home. Just gotta tough it out, kid.

The rest of the day went pretty smoothly. Before I left work, I was even talking with a co-worker about Jack and his "separation anxiety" as they call it in the dog world. And right before I went to the booth for the 6pm newscast, I get a picture like this from Pmo:

Yep. Jack had chewed a mouse hole and found his freedom. I've used the cardboard trick several times when we've been out on day trips and he's never tried to destroy it. The good news is there were no other messes.
I would have loved to set a camera up to see how the process went. Did Jack stare at the tall black wall for awhile... thinking how he could get on the other side and back to the couch and carpet? How long did it take him to realize he could chew through it? Did he do it in the morning or the evening? Did he have to test it out... chew for a little bit, try to get through, then realize he needed more space? What was Bug doing all this time, watching? Did Jack chew a hole big enough for Bug to fit through? I doubt it.
Nevertheless, our little Houdini has outsmarted us once again. I have another dayshift coming up next week and I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Leave the dogs loose like normal and hope for the best? Or invest in a less destructible barrier? It really doesn't matter. What Jack wants, Jack gets. Whether it's freedom or retribution, it's never my choice.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Ah yes, separation anxiety. Cobalt has a very bad case of that (that's why we got Onyx, to keep him company). They don't like a change in their routine- and since you normally don't work day shift, he doesn't like that. Try getting him a Kong or treat cube-(check your local pet store). You can put peanut butter or kibble or treats in it, and it is supposed to occupy them. Does he make noise when he's left alone? Cobalt howls- this deep, mournful baying that you can hear down the street, and that's with the windows closed! Good Luck!