Monday, October 20, 2014

Bending the rules

Hi there.

So back in August, I mentioned Casa de Bella was going on vacation. We had a blast - probably the best vacation we've had in ages. Bella may not have entirely agreed with that assessment but she still had a grand time.

We spent a week near Camden, Maine in a small town called Hope. We rented a house on a pond and, while my hopes of getting Bella in the water did not materialize, at least I enjoyed everything the pond had to offer. From late summer swimming to kayaking and listening to the loons, I was delighted with our choice of locations.

Jan doesn't swim. And apparently neither does Bella. To be fair, there was no easy access to the water, she would have had to jump in to join me. (And believe me, we tried to get her to do that.) Just something to note for next time.

I'm sorry, you want me to do what?
Neither was Bella fond of the crate. Read: She wasn't going in there again for love nor money and all the super-duper best high-value treats in all the land were not going to sway her opinion. (I should note, we had been crate-training Bella again since February.)

So, after consulting with a few dear friends, we opted to keep her "contained" rather than actually "crated" and hope that our little ploy was not discovered. She tolerated that considerably better.

Of course, we also decided to adjust our itinerary to accommodate the crazy dog.

"I get to come! I get to come! Yay me!"

We took her hiking in the mornings to tire her out so she wouldn't be as stressed on the few afternoons we left her behind.

Bella is a good dog and, short of an absolute necessity due to illness, I know she would never do any damage in the house. But she does prefer to fend for herself when frightened and her favorite method is to run. She can't do that if she's in a crate.

Hiking Mount Battie, Camden, Maine
I'm not sure what this will mean for our future adventures as it seems everyone and every place requires dogs be crated when left alone. But because of her abject fear of other dogs, we can't always take her with us either. And kenneling her is simply out of the question.

I guess we'll keep looking and trying. And if we have to bend a rule here and there, well then, so be it. We've worked long and hard to overcome Bella's fears. No 1-week vacation is worth undoing all that.

So tell me, what would you have done? Have you ever "bent" the rules to help your dog?


  1. Loved seeing your holiday photos on Facebook. It looked like the perfect place for everyone. Enough for Bella to do and things for the adults too! Stunning scenery as well. It's great that you are able to take Bella on holiday. With 3 dogs I doubt I'll ever manage a trip away with them. They all survived when I was in Oz for 2 weeks, probably better than I did, lol! And I'm not in a hurry to leave them again.

  2. Rules are made to be....bent! I think it was a great decision. I also think (hope) that Bella won't be afraid of the crate forever. Practice playing in it at home - door open. When I used to be afraid of the car, Mom practiced with me a lot. We didn't go anywhere, just played and ate treats in the car in front of the house.

    Love and licks,

  3. Oh yes, good points all. I probably should have mentioned that we've been working with Bella and the crate since February doing just that - open door, only gets the best-est treats when she's in it. She loves going to her crate at home. Just didn't carry over on vacation. (I also put one of my sweaters in there with her so it would smell like me.) She was perfectly behaved in it, just didn't want to go back in a second time...

  4. Thanks Sue. I enjoyed seeing pictures of your holiday as well! And no, I can't imagine managing 3 dogs on vacation - 1 is bad enough. ;) Welcome back.

  5. Jan K, Wag N Woof PetsOctober 21, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    We don't travel with our dogs, though I'd like to. We would not be above bending the rules a bit if that's what it takes to be able to! So glad you had such a nice vacation. It looks beautiful there...especially the hike with the view of the ocean.

  6. What a beautiful trip. We are not find of the crate either. It's jail
    Lily & Edward

  7. We sure have "bent" the rules! We once had a pair of littermates who looked identical. We checked into a motel that allowed 1 dog. We took in 2 dogs but never allowed them to be seen together... and they were identical so no one ever knew!

    One of our strategies for vacations is that we use a camper van. No motels, or rentals etc. And our dogs see it like their home. It works great for us.

    That is a big pond. I'm glad you had a great trip!

  8. Yay for the awesome vacation! We've got a favorite spot to go too - it meets all of our needs for peace and quiet and gives Mr. Monty a little room from the other pups.

    Can you put her in an x-pen versus a crate?

    Monty and Harlow

  9. LOL. Yes, we bring blankets with us to overcome the no pets on furniture rules. To be fair, this place actually had that in the rules - pets were all on the furniture as long as covers were used - and they even provided the covers! (I have a suspicion that if I were to explain the situation. To this particular home owner, she would be okay with our subterfuge.

  10. THAT is priceless! Thank you for the chuckle. :)

    I think we will definitely look into the mobile/camper next time - thanks for the tip. It's worth a look.

  11. Thanks Christine,. You know, beforw we went I thoguth about the x-pen but ruled it out. I think it would have been an excellent option for us. Something to note for next time.

  12. My rule bending typically consists of having Elka on a long line if we're in a big, wide-open space which technically still requires a dog to be on a 6 foot leash. When we've rented in Cape Hatteras, I don't recall any of those leases stipulating an unattended dog must be crated. I'm sure a hotel would, though.

  13. So glad I'm getting caught up on my reading. It was lovely seeing happy Bella on vacation.

    I'm a proponent of following the intent of a law more than the letter. The intent is to keep a dog from destroying property or disturbing neighbors. Your solution met the intent.

    BTW, we've rented many houses over the years with dogs and have never seen a requirement that the dog be crated. I have seen it at some hotels. Maybe you need to travel a little farther south on your next vacation. :)