Until we moved in to this new house and started thinking about accommodating four dogs and a new baby, the dogs had always slept in J's bedroom. We felt that it was important to change this when we moved house, so that they didn't associate the change with the arrival of the new baby, but were settled into a new routine long before the new arrival. So we set them up from our first night in the new house, sleeping in their crates in our new lounge room.
The dogs had always been crate trained, happy to spend short periods in their crates. We used the crates for breakfast every day, and a cry of "in your crates" was obeyed with a gleeful, excited rush to their crates. They spent time in their crates when we were cooking or eating, or if we had visitors, or if we needed to go out and it was too wet to put them in the bigger pen outside. We worked to ensure that they had no more than three hours at any given stretch confined in the crates - usually because it was raining outside - but we kept the crate doors open and the dogs regularly chose to go snooze in their crates, especially Frankie.
We were concerned about them sleeping all night in their crates, but this open plan house made it too difficult to ensure that they couldn't roam or get up to night time mischief in any other way. Instead, we sought out three bigger crates - Ishka was already sleeping in a larger one after her ACL operations. J finally collected them this week, and now the boys can sleep stretched out (not that they really seem to want to). They fit neatly along one wall of the lounge room.
J bought a large sheet of chipboard to sit on the top, (thankyou HK for that idea) and we will be expanding our limited storage options with some light shelves and baskets and some of the baby paraphernalia. Well, that's one reason - the other is Bolo! In the old house, Bolo's crate sat on top of Frankie's crate. Since we moved, we've had about three occasions where Bolo has gotten really excited and jumped up on the roof of his crate, rather than walking in the floor level door. Obviously the steel mesh of the roof is not terribly comfortable for paws, so he scrambled around, lifting his feet up in these prancing steps, yammering away at me until he got himself turned around and down. Once we get shelves and things set up, hopefully he won't be able to leap up there, but in the mean time, there's less chance of him hurting his feet.
J also made sure this week to update each dog's details on the microchip register. Obviously its important that EVERY dog is listed correctly, as lost dogs may be found without collars or tags, but never without their microchips. And its an easy thing to overlook. A breeder friend told me that she gets at least one call a year about lost dogs that she's bred, some several years ago, but the microchip register has never been updated with the puppy buyer's details. And its particularly important with huskies, since they top the lists of breeds most likely to be picked up as lost dogs. Central Animal Records Australia lists "Which breeds stray the most?" as:
2013: 1) Siberian Husky, 2) Siberian Husky X, 3) Staffordshire Bull Terrier
2012: 1) Siberian Husky, 2) Staffordshire Bull Terrier, 3) Terrier
2011: 1) Siberian Husky, 2) Pit Bull Terrier X, 3) Terrier
I find this list fascinating. Firstly that some breeds are listed as breeds or crosses, but others are listed as whole groups - terriers or retrievers - does that mean that the vast majority of terrier breeds occur in small numbers or that they are difficult breeds and cross breeds to identify? Secondly, the presence of the various Bully breeds, who've been listed as dangerous and restricted breeds. Like huskies, they are known escape artists. New husky owners are often very taken with a cute puppy and don't stop to do their research, especially if they're unwittingly buying from an unethical breeder who doesn't tell them what they're getting themselves in for. Possibly Bully owners are likely to buy a dog that comes with a tough reputation, as an impulse buy, as younger owners, without doing much research, or without having a secure home with a secure yard.
In our new open plan house, there are no doors between the front door and the dogs. If our front door is open, the dogs need to be securely shut in their crates, otherwise we will have three, if not four dogs escaping down the street. We have gone to such efforts to secure our yard - with our pens, our hotwires, our fence repairs - it is a great relief to know that now we have a secure option in the house, so we can open the front door without worrying.