Monday, November 1, 2010

The Housing Crisis

Prior to this past weekend, we've been in the midst of a canine housing crisis out here JOTOLR.  Bandit was all but wearing her doghouse.  It had belonged to Nell, our ten-year-old Border Collie who passed away two years ago.  The homebuilt house, though at first sturdy, had developed some weak spots and the original joints between boards had grown wider and become rather large cracks.  In short, drafty, dilapidated, disreputable-looking, and cold.

Cade's house had originally been purchased for the Great Pyrenees, but he declined housing all together and refused the comforts of that home resolutely. So, this apartment-sized dogbox was passed down to Cade, who could've used at least two other dogs to fill up the spare bed-room.

Enter two homewreckers:

Bandit's House

Cade's House

The BC's do want their own space and are not willing to share.  To this day, Jessie's nose and the scars Nell laid on it, attest to that!  The countless power struggles between the two half-sisters resulted in our building that house that Bandit has been occupying, with separate kennels for Nell and Jess, and now, Cade and Bandit, who are littermates. Oh, and BTW, Jess has her own condo on the porch--a place of honor for the queen of all.

So, we went shopping for doghouses this time instead of building them from scratch as we've done in the past.  They were right pricey!  Lowe's had some for $115 apiece.  Walmart's selection was minimal.  As an afterthought (should have been aforethought) I suggested we stop at Magic Mart and see what their inventory looked like.  Voila'!  Two identical houses, for $60 each.

The igloo will now become the home of a German Shepherd puppy (when we get him); and the two BC's got a new store-bought house each, and MM and Elora went to work! We hauled out the big-box, demolished the homebuilt wreck, filled triple-layered feed sacks with cedar chips and placed two, side-by-side in each doghouse, rearranged food water dishes...all this time being watched by suspicious eyes....

 I was so excited to have new homes for them.  I just couldn't wait to have each pup comfy and cozy in their new nests.....I knew better, though.  I really did....

Now, we humans take it for granted that a new doghouse would be welcomed, if not cheered....NOT.  To a dog, it "smells funny" and the new cedar chips are gross and overpowering.  The lumps in the new bed no longer conform to the body as did the old house and bedding (The Princess and the Pea...), regardless of how pulverzied and musty it was!   In a few words.....they HATED IT!   But I was determined.

It took awhile to get Cade to go in, but I finally succeeded.  (new command, here....instead of  "go to your house" (which is met with a "what house--there's no house anymore??" look)....I used "go in" as a better fit, for the moment.  Cade finally did "go in" and sit down.  "Hmmmmm.  Not half-bad,"  she said....and stayed

Bandit?  No way.  Especially since it was my idea and not hers.

"Go in." 

"Not on your life. I hate it." 

"Go in!" 


"GO INNNNN!"  (shove, shove, squirm, squirm ...treats (refused)

"All right.  Go ahead and freeze to death this winter.  See if I care!"

"I'm sleeping outside."

"Fine.  Enjoy.  In fact, I'll give your house to the cat."

(We don't have a cat.)  It's all bark and no bite on my part.  And Bandit knows it.

I really, really want the satisfaction of seeing all the dogs happily installed in their new quarters.  But, as I said,  dogs don't see things the same way humans do.  Believe me, I am a dog trainer and I know dogs.  I expected this from at least one of the BC's.  Funny thing was, though,  I expected it from Cade who is usually much more suspicious of things, generally.  Cade?  She LOVED her new house.  Bandit is still sitting outside unless absolutely forced to go in... So, we'll see as the mountain air nips at noses...whether she will submit to acceptance of her new quarters.  I rather doubt it.  Expect to see a For Sale ad for a nice, dry, warm doghouse in the not-too-distant future!

From an aesthetic standpoint, both their yards look a whole lot better!  Sleeping quarters are no longer targets for demolition. And at least one dog is happy with the new accommodations!  The other one is camped out on the spot where her old house used to be!  


  1. Oh Elora - we did the same thing with a dog once and never did get him to sleep in it. I don't have any tricks for helping with it but surely if he gets cold he'll go in? blessings, marlene

  2. Cats are like that too. Skitty outgrew her kitten basket years and years ago. I got her a nice big roomy one, added all the comfy cushions you could ever imagine...and she sniffed it, walked away and squeezed herself right back into her tiny little round basket that had no pillows. I tried hiding it. She slept on the cold marble floor. What was I to do? I pulled down her old basket and put the pillow back in. She hopped right in and lives her days and nights in that thing. Honey even tried to put a paw in it once and got attacked - it's the only time Skitty has ever done that!! I tell you, she made her point loud and clear!!

  3. Well, I can see from your sweet comments, gang, that I have an uphill battle, here. Yesterday, while Cade was comfortably resting in her new quarters, Bandit was busy throwing out the cushions on the ground and playing with them (thank you for the new toys!) Despite four tries, we finally capitulated, took the cushions away from her and she has a cold rubber cushion-less floor now and is sleeping outside--by choice. I give. :-(( We'll see in a couple of months...she's got a good coat, anyway! Thanks much! for the empathizing!