This weekend marks an experiment. We’re going to try to let Scout sleep, for the first time, outside her crate. For the past two weeks, Scout has increasingly shown us that she wants to sleep near us rather than in her crate across from the bed.
You see, B has a habit of leaving clothes next to his side of the bed. Both girls love to curl up and sleep on anything that has our scent on it, so Scout has developed the habit of lying down at B’s side of the bed, curled up with the biggest puppy eyes you’ve ever seen, begging B not to make her move to the crate. “Please, Dad, please let me sleep next to you. I’m such a good girl!”
So we’ve decided that this weekend we’re going to give her a shot. We’re going to close the bedroom door and let her stay loose in the bedroom and see what happens. Either Scout is going to be great, sleep through the night and not spend her time sneaking around devouring things she shouldn’t be (we should probably puppy-proof a bit tonight…), or she’ll do exactly the opposite, wake us up at all hours, ecstatic that she’s free and trying to give us whatever loose items she finds in the room (“Here, Mom, I found a sock!!”).
Either way, it’s time to for Scout to take what, to me, feels like a big step toward becoming an adult dog. We haven’t planned to crate her forever, but after doing a lot of reading and talking to a lot of Lab-owner friends, we had planned to crate her longer than some do: 11/2 to 2 years old for during the day when we’re not at home. Night-time crating has always been up in the air though. We were going to play it by ear and let Scout show us when she’s ready to move on to this important stage, a stage that harkens of adulthood and the leaving behind of puppyhood, the point at which trust is developed, trust that your dog isn’t going to destroy your house when they’re left unsupervised.
It’s suitable, then, that Scout is nearing her first birthday. This feels huge to me. I can’t believe that we’ve almost made it a year and that Scout, who started out such a small bundle of fur…
…has grown into a beautiful, friendly, genuinely well-behaved dog.
We could not have picked a better one if we’d tried. Fingers crossed for us this weekend!