Thursday, August 19, 2010

crate training - for all of us

Lucie and Rufus hate to ride in the car. I hate it, too. Lucie sits on my lap and shakes as I drive, and Rufus paces back and forth in the back seat and cries. The entire time. Needless to say, we don't travel in the car together very often. Basically, I take them to the groomer's or to the vet - which may be the reason they hate it so much.

However, I see a very long car trip in their future, so things will have to change. To that end, I bought them a soft-sided crate, large enough for both of them. We have been trying to acclimate them to the crate gradually. I set it up in the kitchen, with a couple of their soft blankets inside it. And just left it there, for a couple of days. They were curious, but not especially interested in getting inside. Next, I would entice them one at a time inside the crate with a small treat. They each had to sit and lay down inside the crate, then I would pat the floor in front of the crate, and invite them to come out.

Last week, we removed their big pillow from the corner of the kitchen, and placed the crate there instead. We have been delighted to see each of them climb into the crate and curl up there on several occasions. Earlier this week, Julie and I loaded the crate into the back seat of my car, then brought Lucie and Rufus out to the car and zipped them into the crate. Off we went for a very brief ride around the block. I don't think we were even in the car for five minutes. They did really pretty okay. No major freak outs - by any of us. We repeated the ride later in the day. Still okay. Yesterday, I took them out by myself and we drove to a nearby farm stand to buy some fresh corn. I left them in the car as I bought corn, and they seemed fine with that. We were home within twenty minutes of leaving, but still, a good run.

Our next big test is coming sooner than I would have liked. Today, I will have to hurry home from work and pack the doggies into the car so that some prospective buyers can look at the house. I have mixed feelings about that, but this is the path we have chosen, and off we must go. We are supposed to be out of the house for an hour, so I really don't know what we will do during that time. Drive past the house until the driveway is empty, no doubt. I understand that the longer the buyers are here, the better, but Lucie and Rufus and I hope it won't be too long. We're all creatures of habit.


Ben said...

Godspeed, and please post an update after your car ride.

jamanci said...

i'm so glad they're doing alright with this! i really do think they could come to like it--it's safe and comfy, just like under the coffee table, or under the beds. who knows? maybe you can keep up the training after the move, too!