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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Musings – On Crate Training the Noses for the Flight

For those of you who know Rosco, you probably know he picked up a deep aversion to crates and airplanes during the six months that Alaska Airlines made me put him in cargo rather than under my seat.  (If you know this story, then you also know that I fought and won the right to have him under my seat for good . . . but alas, that was only for Alaska.)  Couple Rosco’s aversion with the fact that when River was a puppy, I put her in a crate and she howled and threw herself against the wall until it fell over, you can imagine my excitement over crate training them for the US2UK flight.

We bought the crates a little late, only ten days or so before our departure which didn’t help as I’m sure The Noses could sense my desperation.  But they were curious right from the start and even Rosco was quick to jump in for a cookie—as long as the door was not attached.    

The first night went very well, with both dogs sleeping in their door-less crates; River didn’t even try to bully Rosco out of one but stayed in her first choice all night.  The second night, however, I tried to get fancy and shut the doors.  River was unimpressed and went right to sleep.  Rosco, on the other hand, was deeply impressed and not in a good way.  He immediately began his panting routine (remember his cold weather panting?  It’s baaaaa-aaack!)  but I persevered and he eventually fell asleep.  For an hour.  Then the panting started again.  Then another hour of sleep.  Then more panting.  So around 3:00 a.m., I finally got up and let him out.  Undoubtedly one of Rosco's more frustrating times trying to train a human, but he persevered.  From that night on, he opted to sleep under our bed rather than get anywhere near the crate. 

With the travel day just around the corner, I was starting some panting of my own at the thought of Rosco not being able to last through the flight.  I decided to bring the crates out to the living room and put the dogs inside while Alan and I worked out.  This way Rosco’s panting wouldn’t keep me awake and maybe he would get over it.  True to form, he did start panting almost immediately but then, lo and behold!  He curled up and went to sleep.   River, always up for a good nap, went to sleep immediately. 

I decided to stop while ahead.  Our final two nights are at the Sheraton near the Houston International Airport, where Rosco is luxuriating on a heavenly dog bed and River, well, she basically sleeps wherever she wants.  But clearly she doesn’t want the heavenly dog bed otherwise she would not hesitate to whine at Rosco until he moved.