May 16, 2012

Out of the Window and Off His Rocker

I gave Chuck a big hug before I left for work yesterday. He really had upset me with his recent antics; I was almost certain he was either lost forever or going to end up dead when he made that jump again on Monday. I'm still having a hard time shaking that he could have been out of my life for good.

I noticed that when I hugged him, he didn't react in his normal way. His usual self would give a quiet grumble or just run off to his bed. He's not a hugger. He likes his space. But yesterday, he didn't grumble or try to get away. He settled in and let me hold him.

He wasn't himself, so I ran back up to the kitchen (on the second level) and eyeballed the windows over the sink.
I should close those. Would he? Nah. Maybe?
I assessed the counter and decided that he could definitely get up there if he really wanted to, so I closed the windows and ran off to work.

Half-way through my day I felt my gut sink. I had this terrible feeling that he was gone again. I talked myself out of it.
None of the windows are open. He'd have had to have grown thumbs and gained dexterity in just three hours to have gotten out. Get back to work.
I came home from work around 3:45 and heard Chuck hit the window with his nose, so before unlocking the door, I glanced over. My eyes widened and my chest slowly filled with air as I walked closer to the window.
Oh. MY. GOD.
I unlocked the door and walked inside the house like a robot and turned toward the living room. Chuck is prancing around my legs, ears back, his body curling to the left and to the right as he wagged his tail and licked the air.
"nnNNNO!" I yelled as I pointed toward his bed. 
Chuck immediately ran into his bed as I stood there, staring in disbelief.

The only time Chuck has been destructive was the first year we had him. He was around a year old when we adopted him, and was still into chewing things. Even then, that was it. He gnawed on my high heels, the corners of the coffee table and, well, that's pretty much it. The only things he had ever destroyed were the toys we gave him that he was allowed to destroy.

I walked upstairs to the kitchen. My heart pounded as I saw stuff from the counter on the floor and dog hair and dirty paw prints on the counter.
That [expletive deleted] actually did it! 
There was wet nose and slobber marks all over the windows and he had managed to pull little pieces of foam out of the window edges.

I called Jamie and then I cried.

Google told me that dogs usually develop separation anxiety after a major change like a move or an addition or subtraction of people in the household. We have had no major changes and I cannot figure out what has made him like this.

Since he broke the zipper on his pop-up crate (and even if he hadn't, we know that wouldn't keep him contained), we decided to buy him a steel crate. I ran to PetCo while Jamie cleaned up the living room. $135 later, we're going to try this calming aid as well as put Chuck in his crate when we're gone. He's already a fan of his crate. We call it his bed and he spends a lot of time in there with the door open; it's like his own room. He will almost always go directly there when we say "Go to bed."

We crate trained him when we adopted him, but it wasn't difficult. You'd think a rescue dog would come with anxieties and house-breaking issues, but Chuck had none. While we did have to use the treat in the back of the crate trick to get him to voluntarily go in, it didn't take much effort or time before he went in there on his own, just to chill out. Since he had been chewing, we put him in there during the night and when we were gone. I worked at home at the time, so it was mostly just during the night.

This time, however, he's fine at night so he'll only be crated for the 5 or 6 hours that I'm at work. I'm hoping this structure helps and he can get back to normal and I can stop being so stressed, exhausted and mentally spent.

And I thought this guy was the crazy one.

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