Callie Golden Retriever, even though she’s over 6 1/2 years old, still uses her training crates as a “special place” — a “home at home.” She’s never locked in; totally free to come an go. It’s mostly a place for her to keep a few toys and deposit a pair of dirty socks, if she finds some lying around the house. But she also sleeps in the crate for a few hours every night. There’s one crate at home and one at Lake Arrowhead, and she seems to treasure both equally.
The other day, I got a rare look inside Callie’s emotions. Barbara and I were cleaning up our bedroom at Lake Arrowhead to prepare for a carpet cleaner to come in and steam-clean the carpets. We weren’t quite sure what to do with Callie’s crate, but, after some deliberation, we decided to lift it up and put it on top of our bed — so it wouldn’t be in the way of the carpet-cleaners.
Well, Callie freaked out — in a cute way. First she did a deep “bow” (a stress-reducer). Then she jumped up in the air and spun around in a circle. After that, she ran to me, stood up on her hind legs, and put her front paws on my shoulders — looking for a big hug. She was obviously puzzled that we had lifted her crate, and she seemed to be looking for reassurance that everything was OK.
It was really a very special, revealing moment. Dogs don’t always express their feelings, but Callie sure let us know that her crate is her special place and she wasn’t too thrilled to have us messing with it.