The mudroom was a great solution until Levi ripped the dryer vent out of the wall and chewed on it. Okay, management in the mudroom obviously would not work for him since we couldn't move our washer and dryer. The next place we moved Levi was to the guest room upstairs. We covered the bed in multiple dog blankets and sheets and opened the shades to the big window for him to look out. He did really great in there! Even though he had an entire queen sized bed to himself, he decided he needed his personal throne and we would come home to find him curled up in the small chair. It is now Levi's chair.
When we went to Mexico in April and our dog sitter extraordinaire stayed with the boys, we decided to move Levi to the big empty bedroom so that she could, you know, actually have a clean bed to sleep in. And that is where Levi has been ever since. He has his throne, his bed, and another blanket that he likes to eat his morning Kong on.
In the meantime, Neptune was still crated in the mudroom. I felt badly that he was all by himself, but we left the radio on and the door open for him. Over time, we began noticing Neptune's paws were turning brown. He had obviously been licking them excessively while we were gone. I turned to Dr. Google to see what might be going on with him. We wondered if it was allergies, because the behavior seemed to arrive with spring and allergy season. Or, was it allergies due to food? Atopic dermatitis? We decided to switch him over to a grain-free food to see if his paws improved. Grain-free food is exorbitantly expensive, but we wanted to get to the bottom of his licking problem.
It seemed like he was doing better, but then one day his paws would be a total mess again. In addition to licking his paws, he had destroyed everything we put into his crate-water bowls, sheets, towels, crate pads, "indestructible" (and very expensive) crate pads made of weapons-grade Nylon. We wondered if he was having some sort of negative reaction to his crate, so we tried leaving him in short intervals out of his crate, but locked in the mudroom. That didn't go so well. This is what he did to the doorknob:
And the window panes on the door:
And the wall by the door:
The saddest part of all of this is that he only did it to the area by the door we left out of, not the door to the rest of the house. It was becoming more and more clear that Neptune's issues were due to anxiety and not allergies. Our next strategy was to move him upstairs with Levi. No more crate in the mudroom (sorry it's so dirty in this picture):
And into the bedroom with Levi it went:
Guess what happened? No more licking! Not only that, Neptune is excited to go into his crate in the morning. He wags his tail and we don't have to coax him in. It would sometimes be difficult to get him into his crate in the mudroom, even with the lure of his Kong. Now he happily goes in by himself and doesn't lick his paws. In fact, he has done so well, you can see in the picture above that he has a new crate pad that he has not chewed up (knock on wood). Levi has his throne, his bed, and his green blanket all to himself, but now has a buddy too.
Neptune's favorite thing is to ball up the green blanket. It's pretty hilarious to watch.
Neptune is showing off his white, clean paws:
So, I feel like pretty much the worst dog guardian in the world because he was so stressed for all this time. I'm happy that we finally solved his anxiety problems and that simply being in the room with Levi is enough to make him feel at ease. It's kind of a "duh"realization, but it didn't seem that obvious when we were going through it. We do intend to make that room into a kid playroom/family room, but I think we'll still be able to make something work where the two of them can be together. We'll just cross that bridge when we get to it. But for now, I feel much more confident leaving them in the morning knowing they have each other and seem to be happy!