Max is normally so well behaved. I consider myself lucky that I don't really have to teach him anything. Aside from tearing into a few clothes (which stopped once I got pregnant, ironically) it's been smooth sailing since day 1.
Except for tonight.
When Brian called me to tell me he was on his way home, Max ran and sat in front of the door. When Brian got home, Max ran around like a nut case with his big goofy dog grin! Daddy was home! Yay daddy! They wrestled a little and everything was alright.
Max was feeling really hyper and happy so he had his toy duck in his mouth and ran up and down the hallway as fast as he could for about 10 minutes. So far, nothing out of the ordinary.
We went to the store about an hour after Brian got home. I needed hair color, so off we went. We put Max in his crate, but didn't latch the door. Just kept it shut. So far, this method has worked beautifully for us for the last month or so. He never gets out.
However... not tonight.
We come back, just 15 minutes later, and Max is sitting on the floor with his toys all around him. Again, not that unusual- he loves to be surrounded by them- until we notice what he has been chewing on.
Brian's new work shoes. The shoes we just bought last week or so ago. The shoes we just dropped $40 on.
The shoe was still in the dog's mouth when we walked in and noticed- so we caught him in the act, thankfully. If you saw the look of guilt on that dog's face you would have thought we were going to beat him with the shoe and burn all his toys in the yard.
He looked GUILTY.
"Max! What did you do?"
*guilty face, tail tucked*
"That's very bad! We don't eat shoes, shoes are BAD!"
*runs to crate*
We locked the door this time and cleaned up the mess, very careful not to raise our voices or react in any way. After it was all cleaned up, Brian went into the bedroom and flopped down on the bed. He told me he wasn't really upset about the shoes- he hated them honestly- he was more upset about this behavior that Max displayed. This obviously out of the ordinary, very bad behavior from our normally very sweet and courteous dog. The dog tip toes around cords!
I agree that this behavior is unsettling and I tried to think back about what happened today. Max really loves Brian. So much so, that it might be upsetting him that Brian leaves for work. Brian and Max rough house a little and Brian has been taking over more and more of the dog responsibilities as it becomes harder for me to do them.
I think another part is- Brian just came home. Then we left again. Max may have been feeling sad that we had left so soon after Brian got home. It could be a little separation anxiety.
But what it is mostly? Boredom.
So I remedied a cure. Tomorrow, we go for a walk as a family. At a set time. And every day, I am going to walk him, regardless if Brian's home or not. (But not if it's thunder storming or icy) I think the key here is Max sees Brian as a form of entertainment and companionship. This means that I am failing to meet his needs. He is not getting enough attention from me. He seeks it almost exclusively through Brian. Now it's to the point if he's not home, well, then Max has something to say about it, damnit, and someone's shoes are getting destroyed.
It's not hard to walk Max. He's a great dog and really good on his leash. The challenging part is getting up and down the stairs- its a lot of work for this preggo lady! But it must be done. If I am unwilling to take my dog for a walk, how much harder is it going to be to get the baby out and about? Yeah, I need to work on this now.
I'm sorry Max. I've been a very bad mommy. I promise to do better. Don't eat any more shoes.