Chris and I thought we had our soon-to-be 11 month old Golden Retriever trained. When we first brought him home at 8 weeks old, we would crate him when we weren't home and when we went to bed. After about a month or so, we began to let him sleep in our bed with us.

After roughly three months, we gave him full reign of the house while we weren't home. And he did pretty well. He didn’t have any accidents inside the house so we thought we were done training him. We took his crate apart and put it downstairs in a closet in the basement.

When Covid-19 broke out, Chris was laid off as a contract engineer at Delta Engineers. She was home with the dog every day for three and a half months. I don't know if it was separation anxiety or what, but once Chris went back to work, that's when Hagar went to town on the house.

It started with the ink cartridge that he lifted from the garbage can in the den that turned our golden retriever partially blue. See that picture below. The next day, he was back in the den where he found the ink cartridge the day before, and started ripping up papers and books. So we closed the den off with a baby gate.

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Realizing that that room was closed off, Hagar decided to look for other things to destroy. Chris had a wicker basket on the coffee table in the living room that was full of decorative pine cones and pin cushions. Hagar found the pine cones and shredded them in the hallway. This one might be on us though. As he would rip the heads off his stuffed toys, we started placing them in the basket with the pine cones. So maybe when he saw the head of his beloved mallard, lion, and duck in with the pine cones, maybe he thought the pine cones were toys too.

After cleaning up pine cones two days in a row and noticing some teeth marks on the coffee table, we decided that we would close him off in the kitchen to teach him a lesson. He was good in the kitchen for about a week or two, and then he started counter surfing. He would pull things such as mail and recipes off the counters and rip them to shreds on the floor. He would also take the towels that hang on the handle of the oven, and throw those on the floor as well.

So we started moving everything on the counters back further and putting things we didn't want destroyed up higher. Then we came home to find the damage that is in the picture above. Somehow, Hagar was able to unzip his bed, and pull out the baffles of stuffing, ripped a few of those apart, and he spread the stuffing all over the kitchen. Maybe he wanted his own ball pit made of stuffing or something, I don’t know.

Chris shoved the stuffing back in the bed and we decided we wouldn't put the bed in the kitchen with him when we weren't at home. The very next day, he got up on the counter and pulled down more papers and shredded them like Enron.

So this weekend, we pulled his crate back out of the basement and put it back together again which is where he's been staying when we're not home. He is not happy about it at all. When he was a puppy we would throw a cookie in the crate and he would gladly run in wait for us to close and latch the door, and he would lay down and eat his cookie. Now we throw the cookie in and he tries to reach it without going completely in the crate. If he can't reach the treat, he tries to back out of the crate and that's when we have to pick him up by his butt and push him in.

It's tough love, but he has to learn.

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