I have been very lax about posting. Benjamin is now almost 8 months old, and so much happens all the time that it is hard to know where to start! For this post I will mostly focus on the topic of ex-pens. I've been takiing my dog to work with me every day, starting from when he was 10 weeks old. At first I bought 2 24" high ex-pens, one for home and one for work. Before he was potty trained, he would sleep inside of his ex-pen that I had set up in my bedroom, with various configurations of crates and beds and the potty pad at one end. He was perfectly content with this arrangement while I was in the room. I was lucky in that he not only slept through the night from day 1, but would not even wake me up in the morning! It was such a joy for me to wake up every morning and look over into his pen, where I would see him wide awake just watching me, waiting for me to wake up. Then the best part of course, opening up the gate and having him jump up and excitedly lick my face and wag his whole body. What a great feeling! There were may ups and downs with potty training, but that's another topic. The point is, he was doing great sleeping in the ex-pen.
It soon became apparent, however, both at home and at work, that the 24" ex-pen barely slowed him down. It seemed like the boundary of it was only a suggestion, and if he didn't feel like being in there, he could jump over it effortlessly. I then bought a 36" high one, and that slowed him down for a while. By then he was sleeping on my bed, because he was potty trained well enough that he would not pee on the bed any more, but I still needed an ex-pen because he was not trained well enough to be able to run around the house without observation. Then one day I was on the phone in the living room, and had him in the pen in the bedroom so I could concentrate on my conversation. I was very surprised when all of a sudden I realized he was sitting at my feet, looking up at me smiling with his tongue sticking out like they do, as if to say "look mom, I got out". I couldn't believe he could jump over the 3' high pen, and thought maybe he'd somehow got his nose under it and crawled under. I put him back there and went back to the living room -- it was kind of an important conversation -- and in a flash he was back at my side. I put him back a 3rd time, but this time spied on him without him knowing it. I saw him literally running up the side like Spiderman --Spiderpuppy LOL. So now I have it in the bedroom, only 2' by 2', open and with the potty pad in it, to reinforce the idea of pottying there. It is completely useless for containing him, though, and there is no baby fence in existence high enough to contain him, either. I don't like to put him in the bathroom because it is small and he goes ballistic when I lock him in there. FORTUNATELY -- he is now trained enough that I can leave him in the bedroom with the door closed when I need to leave him alone for a few hours. (The bedroom is puppy proofed, but the rest of the house isn't). He does bark, though, according to my neighbor, but at least he doesn't destroy anything, and seems calm and happy enough when I return. Oh, I should say, he is crate trained as well, but I should have bought bigger ones and he's a lot happier in the bedroom.
Well, that is my experience with ex-pens. I would still like to have one that would contain him, if needed. Have considered getting a cover, or else go to 4', but I think maybe we will just have to skip it. I worry that he would still try to get out, and hurt himself. The funny thing is, he doesn't even seem to mind being in there, but I think he just likes the challenge of proving he can get out. Little stinker.
I think he will be a natural for agility training when he is a little older!
Is my boy as special as I think, being able to run up a fence like that, or is this common? Well, even if it is, I still think my boy is VERY SPECIAL. ;-)