DOGGISH HOUSEKEEPING

Bonnie is a dog with her own nest. The big wire crate near the fireplace is her place. The door is always open, It’s a huge crate, big enough for three dogs at least. Inside, it’s piled with old blankets, towels, one of my worn-out flannel nightgowns. I don’t remember what else, but whenever something soft is at the point where we would usually throw it away, it becomes part of Bonnie’s’ Big Bed and Living Room Suite.

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Several times a week, she’s in there, moving all the stuff around. Digging. Dragging various pieces to a new locations in the crate. Sometimes she drags each piece out of the crate, eyes the space critically, then drags each item back in. It looks the same to us, but apparently not to her more discerning eye.

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A couple of weeks ago, we dragged everything out. Garry washed and dried it, then put it neatly back into the crate. After which Bonnie tore it apart and rearranged everything.

Humans never get it right.

Did I mention that’s Gibbs’ nest is our sofa? He will let Bonnie sleep with him on the sofa, but she will not let him into her crate. I’m sure that means something.

REARRANGE | THE DAILY POST

26 thoughts on “DOGGISH HOUSEKEEPING

  1. And being a female, that nest is her space. It’s where her puppies (real or imagined) will be born, and raised. NO one touches mah nest.
    Our female cats, all of them spayed, used to do the same thing. Where they finally went to ground, was where they stayed. One slept and ate on top of the fridge. No one even tried to invade. another had one chair that was hers. Humans welcome, One spent the last five years of her life on the computer table, behind the battery box. I think she liked the sound it made.

    I love the rearranging thing. that’s funny. I can’t believe you actually washed her nest.

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    • It was getting a bit smelly in the crate. I think Bonnie felt she had finally gotten it just the way she liked it, but it’s that time of year and I wasn’t going to give the mice someplace especially attractive. It’s funny that Bonnie has no interest these days in hunting because she was quite the huntress in her earlier years. i guess she retired.

      They are hilarious sometimes. When they get into rearranging stuff, they are really really focused. Only food will distract them from their task 🙂

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  2. I’ve never had a dog who behaved that way, even when they all slept in crates. They all knew which crate was theirs, and no one ever attempted to enter another dog’s crate, so there seemed to have been some kind of communication between them. For a while I tried to put comfy stuff in the huskies’ crates, but anything soft is something that must die, so everything just got shredded — but a bed outside the crate? They never wrecked those. These days Mindy has the sofa ll day and Bear has it all night. Dusty likes (and I have no idea why) to sleep in the kitchen. They’re just very interesting in all their little rituals. Since mice entered my house, Dusty has been showing Bear how to hunt as Lily T. Wolf taught him — that is lovely to watch. They’re both hunting like a Siberian husky hunts and neither is a husky. ❤

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    • Ah, yes. Mouse time. Every fall, they come back. This year for the first time, I bought ultrasonic devices that supposed make the space unpleasant for rodents and bugs. Since I plugged them in last week, I have not found any mouse dropping upstairs. I also have one that supposedly makes the wires in the wall emit an ultrasonic noise so they won’t set up housekeeping there. The dogs are oblivious to whatever the devices do. Apparently the sound is above their hearing. Not that I don’t trust my verminating, but their hunting instincts seem to be more focused on finding bits of old cookies.

      Both Bonnie and Gibbs are nest builders. More than half my dogs have been nesters. All the hounds did it and so did Bishop. They like piles of stuff they can rearrange into new piles. All the piles look the same to me.

      The crate in the corner has been there for all 16 years we’ve live here. It was used in early housebreaking, before the dogs started housebreaking each other (you have NO idea how grateful I am because Bonnie almost killed me … she being the mid-winter arrival and only 9 weeks old) and then was adopted by whatever dog laid claim to it. It was Pagan’s, then Tinker’s, briefly Bishop’s until his arthritis forced him onto the bed we bought him ..,. after which Bonnie took it over. We cover the furniture with throws (cheap ones that are easy to wash, dry, or replace), so there’s always more nesting material. If we let her, Bonnie will also drag her food into the crate, but that gets unsanitary, so we confine meals to the kitchen … but they do sneak their treats into all kinds of hidey holes.

      It is interesting to not only see the pack interactions and communication (they really do communicate some fairly complex messages … or so it seems), but how the interactions between dogs changes as the composition of the pack evolves.

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      • Dusty was raised by three Siberian husky “moms” so he’s a very strange creature. He would run off with them and then hate his life because it was never in his nature to run away. He’d sit by the side of the road and shake until I came for him. Bear initially went at the mouse thing as she would go at a bear, with a terrifying bark. Dusty somehow taught her not to but to pay rapt and silent attention. Dusty had to learn that himself and I remember Lily teaching him to hunt gophers. I wish I had the magic to teach him not to bark when he sees other dogs on walks but I haven’t got it…

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  3. My German Shepherd, the 90-lb Riggsie, loved his crate. Even though we never shut him in there (except to protect the occasional repairman/stranger! from him), we left the door open and he would go in there whenever he felt stressed or tired. But he also took over the 7-foot couch. With a dog that big, I guess it’s best just to let him sleep wherever he wants to. All my other, somewhat smaller dogs, have been content to lie on the floor or on little doggie beds like they’re supposed to. Even Puppy Cody will happily lie on the floor if I’m using the couch – but of course, if I’m not using the couch then she considers it hers. Such is the life of dog owners.

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    • Garry and I pretty much always use the love seat, so the dogs have taken over the sofa. Which I don’t mind, but sometimes puts them in competition with occasional company. Ah, the perils of having human friends AND dogs.

      The crate belongs to Bonnie. Gibbs won’t put a paw in there. it’s HER place. Ask her. She’ll tell you.

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