When I leave the house, Rio is left crated about half the time but when he’s not crated he’s gated into part of the house that’s been pretty well doggie proofed. He is a WICKED counter/table surfer and gets himself into trouble chewing inappropriate items (regardless of the number of stuffed kongs, antlers, chew toys, or tug toys available to him). There was a few months time where he was a perfect gentleman outside his crate but something snapped and he became less reliable.
When he gets to stay out of the crate, he is normally gated into one or two rooms. He’s been pretty successful in this set up… he’s destroyed a paper plate he found under the couch and a water bottle–so nothing terribly naughty. This has prompted us to give him more time OUT of the crate when we leave.
About a month ago, one of our baby gates finally broke (it was well over 11 years old!) and I haven’t had the spare $100 to get another gate (we have extra wide doorways so we have to get special gates). Well, after some experimenting, I was able to rig-up one of our crates as a blockade for the doorway. This particular crate is a two-door crate–one on the front and one on the side–I was able to completely open the side door to use as blockade across the doorway that wasn’t blocked by the crate. When I do this the front door must remain closed or the dogs can walk THROUGH the crate to access the other part of the house.
Well, today we left the dogs gated in the living room, like normal, as we went out for just a few hours. When we came home we were SHOCKED to be greeted by Rio and Shayne at the top of the stairs… last we saw, they were securely gated in the family room. Upon further inspection it appears one of the dogs messed with the latch to open the crate door.
Now, many people might be thinking “you don’t know it was Rio! Why accuse him?!?!” Well, last year I taught Shayne to open her crate by pulling at a tug. Watching her figure that out, I really don’t think this is something she’d try–her methodology to problem solving is brute force not necessarily fine motor dexterity. Now Rio, on the other hand, is a much more dainty problem solver–plus, I’ve seen him licking at the latch from INSIDE the door before and he’s just that attentive and intuitive. So, for that reason, Rio is getting ALL the credit for creating an escape route, a quick fix to keep them contained will be a clip on the door to keep it closed.
So, it’s hard living with an ACD/WHIPPET because they are smart enough and dexterous enough to open crates and gain access to the whole house!
**For the record, the pups were good having full access to the house–nothing destroyed**