My dog is making me crazy


This is a garbage can – standing on a bar stool, next to the kitchen counter and blocked by a second barstool. When examined closely, several unique features can be noted, not common to the typical, kitchen can.

This is why:


That creature is a Treeing Walker Coonhound named Ranger. We met him at the Humane Society, where we had gone to consider adopting a three-legged Chihuahua. As we regarded the little yipper, Jen implored us to come see the beast across the room – a gorgeous, doe-eyed hound, and it sang for us: A beautiful, full baritone song full of inflection and nuance, wide ranged and crescendo-ing, then decrescendo-ing piteously.

In The Thing on the Fourble Board, Porky couldn’t get the sad mewlings from his head, and that altered his life forever. Likewise, we brought home Ranger.

He is sweet tempered, affectionate, easy to train and obstinate. He is beautiful, with soulful eyes, incredibly gentle and persistent. His song is delightful and intricate and he nearly speaks: Food! Water! Out – literally, you can delineate what he wants by how he asks. He wiggles with joy every time I enter the home, so hard his butt hits his head – even if only gone for two minutes – and jumps from a slumber if I leave the room, following at my heels wherever I go.

He learned how to open the storm door within the first week, and raced down the street, frightening a neighbor walking her beagle. He learned how to open the back gate, and when he left the yard, he walked down the driveway, up the walk and proceeded to croon from the front porch. Those are both, now, secured.

Ranger needs a ton of exercise but he can’t be walked. The first time out he pulled me off my feet repeatedly – but a year of patient effort paid off and he’s now decent on a leash. However, he terrifies the neighborhood, and it’s so stressful to take him out — that we don’t.

The gentle leader was no match. He learned instantly how to wriggle out of a full body harness. Any sort of stimulus (recommended by tut-tutting do-gooders that disparaged us for not training our dog) are completely ignored: One guy recommended a Bobby’s whistle, which he produced and blew, then, said, “Huh.. That always works…”  Likewise, clickers, baps on buts, bops on shnoz, or physically latching closed his trap – though he will pause to cast an aspersive look before redoubling his efforts.

He doesn’t actually intend to harm anyone, he’s just extraordinarily loud, large and exuberant. It’s just very difficult to explain that over a dog whose voice travels for miles, while he’s jumping six feet in the air from a dead stand and the terrified neighbor’s poodle is tearing down the street in fear for its life! The new neighbor behind us asked if he could jump the fence: I told him, Ranger is far too dignified – he prefers to climb over.   They climb trees…

However, when he spots a rabbit, he just runs with it around the yard. When he caught a possum, he just danced around it and just gently bapped it when it made a move to leave. He just wants to play – to greet the other puppies that he meets as he’s walking down the street.   He gets along great with little Mickey – a tiny little cockapoo. But attempting to explain is received the same as a pitbull’s owner proclaiming he doesn’t bite – yeah right!

So, that’s our dog. He loves to cuddle, loves to climb onto cozy couches, beds, or wrap up in blankets or jackets left on the floor. He is caught frequently standing on his hind legs to graze on anything within reach upon the counter, the table, or shelves. But his favorite is the garbage.

When he first came home, we had normal-people trash cans. As we cleaned up one raided and shredded, we moved to the next. Trash cans transformed to lidded varieties. Those, transformed to locking varieties. Bathroom doors remain closed. Stuffed birds and raccoon have to be kept out of sight. Locking trash cans became dog-proof trash cans – those failed spectacularly.

Days were spent researching and testing cans, explaining our tail of woe (!) to sympathetic but unhelpful store employees… We settled on one with a lid that was opened by pressing a button on the top, and a top that locked into place over the can. That frustrated him for longer than anything else.

But he watches. He watched as we lifted off the lid to change the bag, and he started pushing with his nose. At first unsuccessful and we chased him off, but eventually he popped the top, and with success, never stopped. Measures were taken to put an end to that!

We hinged the back with key-chain rings:


And locked it down with a j-shaped pin in the front:


This was the second longest period that he was locked out of the trash – but he watched! He watched as we pressed the button, and then one day he did: He pressed down firmly with his nose and brayed with joy as the lid sprung up and he raced around the house with a coffee filter in his mouth, spraying grounds that to this day are still being found.

The can was turned around – he turned it back. A cast iron skillet was put upon the top – he knocked it off, then proceeded. It came to a head when his accomplice (and usually the instigator) finally realized how he was getting in and they started fighting over it in the middle of the night.  We decided to take definitive action, once and for all ending the raids, and installed a sliding latch on the lid:


It seemed inconceivable that he could possibly find a way in with all of that, but he watches… At one point in frustration, he began to just loudly bark at the unyielding can. But he watched – he saw the lid open, he saw the lid latched: He attacked! Using his teeth, he manipulated the latch and pulled it back: Off went a used paper towel!

We tried to make it harder yet to pull, but look again at that j-shaped pin:


He forced the lid so hard that the plastic broke free, and again, he was in… The current solution is obviously not tenable – fur inconvenience, and, of course, the dog’s just amusing us for now, anyhow. Obviously metal or concrete is the next step, with a bank-vault door type lid.

My dog is awesome: He can jump over my head and knows how to high-five – that dog’s a cool cat! But he loves to shred and mostly shred trash and last night I had to stack the trash on the back of the counter until I could take a break to walk around the kitchen counter, into the dining room, lower the trash can to the floor, un-latch the lid and deposit the lousy garbage. Aw-roo…

The Mastermind: Tail pinned between his legs as he watches us prepare for school — he does not like his people to leave.
The Accomplice: Looks innocent — he’s not! Defining being a troll since he was a little puppy, nipping at Lucky’s heels and then racing away as Lucky snarled.



Published by

5 crew

The Crew are omnivorous land mammals