Today I finished several dog related projects that have been in the works since Petal the pittie arrived here on 3/2. When she arrived I was totally unprepared. I had a bag of Wellness Core Original Flavor dog food, a harness my previous dog grew out of, a flexi lead for 100 lb+ dogs, a doggie gate, a nylabone, and a couple of toys. Since she's so young, possibly even less than a year old, I needed some kind of safe room for her to prevent damage to the house or her eating things that would hurt her. I didn't feel comfortable immediately crating her, not knowing how she'd react to being forced in and out of a crate without being acclimated to it first, because my Akita had shown me what a bad idea it was to try this a long time ago.
So I decided to use my mud room, and I had a doggie gate when Petal arrived. She destroyed, absolutely destroyed, this very sturdy and expensive gate within the first few minutes, which makes me wonder what she would have done to a crate. After that, she was simply restricted to whatever room I was in. In other words, constant supervision. Which is actually pretty easy in my house, because I work at home all day and the downstairs is one room. I can see her everywhere. While she was getting over her kennel cough she needed a warm place to sleep, so I put her bed right in front of the fire and one of the first commands she learned was "bed" and also "lie down" because she did that a lot anyway, and it was easy to give her a cookie every time so she learned the words. Of course, at night I couldn't leave her unsupervised in front of the fire, so I brought her bed in my room at night but she ended up on my bed, with no way for me to keep her off while asleep, but that's fine with me.
The car is one of those things that gets her overexcited. A couple experiments showed me that barring a crate (which might cause behavior issues getting in and out) the only safe thing would be to barricade off the back. Anything involving seats or seat belts seems to lead to chewing. She's a great jumper, and can get up there easily. So I think it'll work. I'll need to secure her better, hook up her harness somehow, at some point. But right now I think this car barrier will work. Moving blankets make great dog beds for puppies and any dogs that destroy beds. They're about $3 each, so no great loss if one gets torn to bits. She can have nice things when she's older!
The safe room is such a big accomplishment because leaving her alone only secured by the bent up gate was working, but I don't feel it was really secure, if she wanted to get by it, for example, if she saw an animal outside I could see her breaking her teeth trying to get through the gate. Since she goes after metal, I think if I do get a crate and manage to crate train her it will have to be some kind of non-metal crate. I looked at a lot of ideas for dog gates, including half doors, but when I found this plan for a baby gate using plexiglass, I knew it was the one. The plexiglass lets me monitor her more easily and I think she'll feel safer being able to see who's coming down the hall. Most importantly, she can't bend it with her teeth.
My friend just helped install it while Petal barked at him constantly. That's another reason I need the gate. She needs to learn not to bark and jump up on visitors. So she'll stay in there until she calms down and is ready to greet them nicely. (On a leash, most likely.) I have a few different security things I use, and one of them is dropcam, so I put one of those little portable cameras in her room. I can not only see her but also hear her and talk to her. I was out in the garage, and she started clawing at the gate, and I told her no. At least that time, it worked, but we'll see. If she does damage that back hall area, it's a small area. Probably not that hard to fix any scratches in the drywall. Here she is, checking for signs of weakness in the door.
and here's a close up of the door/gate itself. The plexi is an a groove in the 2x4's. My friend Marc did such a great job! There are latches on both sides. I may need to adjust their placement or add more.
The stair treads were something I'd always wanted to do because my Akita did sometimes slip on the stairs, and so did I, but we were both used to it. Petal I'm sure would hurt herself though, in a hurry to get to the door. I was kind of skeptical about these staying on but so far so good! I used the carpet tape they recommended. These are just natural jute, so no chemicals or anything to pollute the indoor air.
Anyway, so far so good... but we'll see. It could take a lot more to contain this much natural enthusiasm for life.