Thursday, July 29, 2010

How are Sydney and Barley Doing?

Over the past few months the dogs have evolved to the point where we can leave them loose in the Trek for up to 3 hours or so. Although we never have problems with them messing, they get bored if we leave them alone much longer and then they start chewing on things, such as the area rug. Oh yes, there is a 12-inch stretch along one edge that is a little shredded. But I just spun the rug around and hid the bad spot under their food bowls - no problemo!

Actually, we're pretty sure that Barley does the chewing. Although Sydney has other "challenges", she prefers to chew on her toys and not household objects.

Anyway, our rule of thumb is to crate Sydney and Barley whenever we go somewhere for longer than 3 hours.  And we have left them for as long as 8-9 hours, although only rarely.

They don't seem to mind their crates; in fact, they go right into them without any cajoling whatsoever. Nonetheless, this crating process can be a hassle. We have to empty the storage compartment to pull out the crates, and then empty everything out again to put the crates away. Also, Barley drops so much hair when he's in his crate that I have to vacuum when we return.  Although he seems happy enough, I think this shedding is a sure sign that he does suffer from some crate anxiety.

Anyway, we leave the TV on if we can pull in a station or leave a DVD movie playing.  This seems to soothe them, although camping neighbors sometimes report barking and scratching noises while we're gone.  We're pretty sure the scratching noises are from Sydney dancing on the bottom of her crate.

Barley is getting better about other dogs. His behavior is not so Alpha and he often will ignore another dog entirely, unless it is bouncing around and barking at him.

Although we continue to socialize her, Sydney is often unfriendly to other people and will sometimes bark and look ferocious when we cross paths with others.  But if the other person is unafraid and just walks up to her, Sydney backs down and becomes their friend.  Several people in our caravan group have taken this approach, including Roger, Spike, and Debbie. Still, we're careful with her around other people, particularly children.  

Lynda and I are so glad to have Sydney and Barley with us - they may not be perfect, but they are wonderful companions and have settled into our traveling lifestyle very nicely! 

So how are the dogs doing?  They are just great!

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