Hello, friends. As many of you know, we absolutely love Duncan, our son/dog. He is crate-trained and spends his days while we work (and until recently, nights) in the crate. Of course, Grandma Jaye comes over and plays with him regularly (especially on our long-days), so he is not caged up all the time.
He recently celebrated his 1 year birthday, which for us meant it was time to take his crate-training in a new direction: free reign training. This, of course, means that we are training him to be a free reign doggy... one who is not destined to be in the crate unless by his own choosing while we are not at home. He will have access to his toys, not have to drink out of a hamster water-thingy, and, of course, can sleep on the sofa all day long (his preferred activity of the weekends).
Until recently, he had been on steroids for his allergies, and with the frequent overnight accidents, our training was delayed. We did, however, get him a doggy bed outside of the crate with the anticipation of beginning training when the sickness cleared. He has since been doing great with sleeping outside of the crate, and aside from a few bizarre incidents where I wake to find him licking my armpit from the side of the bed, he spends his time on his bed until we wake up in the morning.
Now, with free reign doggy training, we have been leaving him for short times outside of the crate, typically while doing errands such as getting the mail, running to the store, taking a tree stump out of our yard, etc.
Duncan had been doing great with all of it until recently... I am not sure which was the first to go, but here are the things we have so far noticed:
1. Puzzle pieces. This actually occurred while I was downstairs doing laundry. I have been working on a marble puzzle, which is perhaps why I did not notice it immediately. So far we estimate he has pilfered about 100 pieces.
2. A camping chair bag. We knew by little blue pieces of fabric left next to the chair, which interestingly enough, was left intact.
3. Many pieces of my... ahem... lady laundry was pulled out of the dirty clothes hamper and hidden at various locations around our house.
And here's the big one...
4. Jeff's glasses. Duncan somehow managed to get them off the middle of the table, and left us chewed up lenses (but not broken, much credit to LensCrafters and their "no-break guarantee") and a long piece of wire.
Needless to say, the free reign training has taken a few steps back. Perhaps, one day (most likely when we pay off the extra pair of glasses), we will begin again, but it is still a work in progress. Hope all is well with you and yours. :)