Where have I been?
It's been a busy few weeks for me and I just haven't been able to post. My apologies. I miss it.
Most embarrassing is that my hiatus came in the middle of a four-part series which I have not yet finished. I kept thinking I'd find the time one night at home, but that clearly hasn't happened.
So here's a brief update:
1) Yes, I am going to finish the four-part series I started on four simple things to teach your dog to make life easier. I've got two posts to go and pledge to work on it as soon as I can. If nothing else, I have a vacation coming up and no vacation is complete for a writer without finding some time to write.
2) Speaking of this vacation, we are once again going camping. Last year, I joked about how Sensi would've hated the campground. A big part of this is the cage, which we made the poor choice of using as punishment for Sensi when we were young and dumb. However, the cage must be used in order to make this trip work. We have a pop-up camper and it's simply not safe to leave Sensi in there alone. One push on the canvas and he's out, so the cage is coming with us. For the past couple of weeks, I've been trying to undo all his phobias of the cage. Progress is slow but surprisingly better than I had expected. He still gets anxious when the door closes, but not if it's while he's eating. Most shocking, he has gone in there three times of his own accord to lay down. That is pretty impressive.
To rehab the cage fear, I started with:
1) Putting a nice comfy bed, his favorite blankets and even a body pillow as a bolster, in the cage
2) Every feeding is done in the cage
3) We play a fetch-tug combo game using the cage — I throw the rope in the cage, he retrieves it and we play tug for about 30 seconds and start over.
4) Every time he goes into the cage of his own accord, he gets a treat
5) Every time he goes into the cage of his own accord and lays down, he gets a better-than-average treat
6) We practice extended down-stays in the cage using food puzzles, like stuffing the Kong with lots of goodies that will take him some time to work out
I need up the ante on the closed-door part, but we're getting there. We are getting there. Wish me luck, though — it never hurts to have a luck on your side, right?