Carol Reiter: Lenny's better; Jan hates crates

March 14, 2009 

CAROL REITER

Lenny has actually been doing really well since I came home from the hospital. I actually think the big lug missed me. He would never admit it, of course, but after I came home he followed me around for a couple of days, left my food alone and didn't bark hardly at all.

When I sat down, Len would put his big head on my lap and look at me. Every time he does that, I have to laugh. Lenny has a funny marked face. Half of his face is black, and half is white. Except on the white half, there is a circle of black around his eye. He looks totally goofy, and when he sticks his ear out sideways, I swear he looks like a clown.

But I have been enjoying the aging, new Lenny. Oh, don't get me wrong. He's still bad. When I come home from work, he barks at me until I just want to kill him. I think he's just saying hi, but no matter how much I tell him to shut up, he just keeps barking.

But other than that, I think the time away from me did him good. He had to sleep outside at night, something he hasn't done in quite a while. I'm sure that bummed him out, although he had a clean, dry and comfy place to sleep. But it wasn't my bedroom, it wasn't his crate, and it wasn't where he wanted to be.

While Len has been much better, Jan has gone to a doggy bad place. Jan is still defying me about sleeping in a crate. Every night it's a fight. She refuses to go in, and I won't give her a treat until she does go in. She evades me, avoids me, and ends up on her fleecy throw on the bed. A couple of times I have almost given in, but then she gives me that smirk, and I get up and grab her collar and drag her to the crate.

Peg and Len are perfect. Peg heads for her crate as soon as she comes in. She knows treats follow, and she loves it. Len has always liked his crate, he sleeps in it with the door open.

But not Jan. She hates the crate, and I think she's beginning to hate me. When she hears my friend's truck, she practically turns herself inside out. She always liked my friend better, but not like this.

Every night, I try to play ball with Jan for a while. She likes to fetch, but her favorite game is to play soccer. I kick the ball and try and get it past her. She's a pretty good goalie, I hardly ever get it past her needle nose. While Jan's playing, Lenny's barking and Peg is grabbing onto Jan's tail and pulling backwards.

By the time we're through playing, Jan is furious. She has jumped Peg at least 10 times, and she doesn't want to stop playing ball. I'm sure Lenny's constant barking gets on her nerves, and when Jan comes in the house, she's looking for bear.

And she finds it in me. I insist she go in the crate, she says no. Jan is like my old dog, Gwyn. They are both queens, the crowds part before them, and all bow or curtsie when they appear. And to ask the queen to go in a crate? Hah. No way. That was Gwyn's attitude, and that's Jan's attitude.

So I go on and on, trying to convince Jan that a crate is a nice place, and she tries to convince me that the crate is a metal cage meant to lock dogs up from all the comfy, cozy things they love in the house: warm beds, fleecy throws and nice people.

I haven't quite won yet, I still have to drag Jan to the crate every night. She won't bark anymore, but she has taken to not eating her treats. I guess that's her way of saying a queen doesn't eat common dog treats, especially when put in a cage. But I'm sleeping good, and hopefully Jan will get over her pout. I hope so, because the crate's not going away.

Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or creiter@mercedsun-star.com.

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