January, 2016. Next we fostered a Beagle that was having seizures at the shelter. I avoided putting him in a crate the first four days to confirm that it was the stress of being in a shelter cage that was probably triggering it.
Beautiful Herbie proved to be a very patient and stubborn dog who liked to get into and onto anything he took an interest in. This included trash containers, furniture, the bed and at one point a single leap onto the kitchen table. So we had to enact some extreme protocols like moving any meaty smelling trash directly to the garage, moving all floor trash cans way up high and using lots of Lysol.
Early on when he got too excited playing with me he went into a strange growling, mouthy, humping play style. I was able to calm him down and it didn’t reoccur, but I made sure to not let him get too excited while playing.
He wasn’t reliable housetrained, so we kept on a 3 to 4 hour schedule going outside, which coincided with a cold spell and lots of snow. In the backyard his repeated, patient attempts eventually wore me down and he got access to the fenced in garden.
Inside he also wore us down by waiting until we were asleep before jumping up in the bed. If he got access to the bedroom with no one around he would jump up and manage to tunnel under the covers, creating a dog-shaped hump in the middle of the bed.
Some stuffed animals we kept in the living room bookshelves got taken down and stored after he repeatedly jumped up on the couches and made eye contact with them.
Aside from the high maintenance protocol he was a very friendly dog who enjoyed being petted and playing with toys. For the most part he and Boomer got along. They would take turns chasing each other outside, which made for some very scenic (but loud) play sessions in the snow.
Walking took some effort as Herbie wanted to smell everything and go where ever he wanted, but was manageable. He would also bark intensely at any dog or person he saw, but could be distracted with some effort as well.
Crate training was the real challenge. Herbie obviously had severe separation anxiety. He mangled the first metal cage we had him in, so we switched to a plastic airline crate. The first few sessions I just had him sit inside to get some popcorn and other treats, getting him use to having the door open and closed.
Next we used the high value object of a cow bone with meat and fat still on. Unfortunately this proved to be a terrible idea, as it brought out an equally severe case of resource guarding. I had such difficulty in getting it from him the second session that I had to let him outside in the hopes of distracting him easier.
Instead Herbie walked the length of the garden several times and somehow hid the bone, while I was watching, in a way that I couldn’t find it. So no more “too high value objects” for crate training.
It got to the point that, as long as I was in the room, he would relax in the crate. But once he realized we were leaving the house he would bark up a storm and frantically paw and bite at the walls. The front gate would often be covered in drool when we returned and the crate itself moved several feet from where it had been. Once out of the cage he would make a bee-line to the water bowl and drink like crazy, even if he’d only been in there for an hour.
Herbie didn’t show any guarding behavior with the kibble food or seem to overeat so both dogs ate together without incident. He showed a bit of growling sometimes playing with toys but that was easily worked through.
After about three weeks with us Herbie went back to the shelter to find his forever home.