Last week I headed out to the suburbs to be with my boys on Wednesday night; it was kind of a surprise, I showed up unannounced. During the day, Thursday and Friday, I stayed home and hung out with Charlie and Max, while I worked a bit. But at night Max was doing his growling thing and I ended sleeping on the couch both Thursday and Friday nights.
Mike and I were not seeing eye-to-eye in regards to disciplining the dogs. I had been training Max to like the crate, by giving him his treat in there. Every time I gave the boys a treat I would hand Charlie his, and place Maxy’s treat inside the crate. He was very skittish about it. He would look at me, look at the crate, go close to it, sniffed it, step back, until eventually he mustered enough courage to go in and fetch the treat, bring it out and eat outside the crate. We did this 3 days, on the third day he would go in the crate to fetch the treat even if I was sitting close by, which he didn’t do at the beginning. It was like he feared I was going to close the door on him. I think he has had experience with crates. He knows the drill, and probably does not like one bit being locked in there. I had no intention of closing the door, at least not during training. I just wanted him to associate the crate with treats; have it be a positive experience.
On Friday night, I wanted Max to sleep in a different room so I could roam about, and go to the bathroom if needed at 3 am. Mike was not game. He was adamant Charlie was not going to sleep in the other room, so Max had to be in there alone. Mike slept with Charlie in his room/bed, and I slept on the couch. I was adamant that I do not want to sleep with dogs any more. So that’s how it went, after a bit of an argument, as you can imagine.
Well Max, alone in the room, was not happy. First he cried and whimpered, and then he started barking. After about half an hour I went into the room and sat with him until he calmed down. He had peed on the carpet. He was not going to stay in there alone quietly or willingly. I took him out and he slept with me in the living room.
Come Saturday morning, I packed my things, took Max, and headed home. I was not about to sleep on the couch again, and Mike didn’t want Charlie off the bed. So I left. Mike didn’t want me to take Max, but Max was coming with me. Mike was not going to do anything to train Max over the week, and come the following weekend we would be in the exact same place. So I took Max, and he’s been sleeping in his bed, in my room, on the floor.
Ever since we came back from Mike’s Max has not been on my bed once. He sleeps in his doggie bed, on the mat next to my bed, or directly on the floor, but never on the bed. I washed my sheets and have been sleeping dog-free since Saturday. He hasn’t growled at me at night once. There was an incident with a treat, which he hid in the guest bathroom and when I passed by he growled, but quickly snapped out of that because I offered to close the door and leave in there with his treat and his craziness, and as soon as he realized it, it was like someone passed a switch, he was back to his normal sweetness. I even picked up the treat and gave it to him, insisted that he eat it and not hoard it, and he did.
The true test tough will be this weekend, when Mike and Charlie join us again. Max does great one-on-one, but when we are all together in a pack, he seems to feel the need to defend one of us from the other. So we will see how it goes. Charlie will be off the bed too, in the room, just not on the bed.
I still think the best thing for Max at night, is to sleep in the crate. The crate can still be in the bedroom with the rest of us, but have him be confined and not be able to “attack” at will. We’ll see how he behaves this weekend. I’m going to ask Mike to bring the crate, so I can continue giving him treats in there. The sooner he gets use to it, the sooner he can start sleeping in it and we can eliminate the night-attacks all together.