Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Dog is Neurotic! Help!

I think we are cat people.  I know I am.  I understand cats, have been raised with cats.  A close friend calls me The Cat Whisperer.   We have had several dogs over the coarse of our marriage, some for protection, some just for fun.  We've had problems of one type of another with all of them.  Check out this list!

Sarge - our first dog, was very sweet, but we had to find a new home for him when he was still a puppy because the neighbor complained about his barking when we were gone. 

P.J. was next, a rescue from the Dog Pound.  He absolutely HATED dog catchers and would go crazy barking and growling when ever he saw the truck go by!  PJ also barked alot and we found a home for him but he came back a month later!  We decided to keep him and try to make it work with the neighbor, and then PJ decided to leave! 

Missy was a free pup that was a Newfoundland/Collie mix.   We got her when we moved to the country.  Lots of room to run, didn't have to worry about keeping her confined to a small space, fresh air, a pasture and creek to play in.  Well,  it turned out that she hated small kids!  This was before we had our own kids but she would chase a child and act like she was going to bite it, but then just circle around and return to us.  You can imagine our surprise and horror the first time this happened!  She was just a big ole happy dog who would lick you to death, and then out of nowhere this behavior!  Weird huh?

After the kid hater we got Raleigh, our first purebred dog.  Raleigh was a Golden Retreiver, my husband's choice and the breed is known  to be great family dogs.  Well, Raleigh was a huge Golden, about 70 pounds by 6 months.  He had alot of energy and needed ALOT of attention and I was working full time.  So Raleigh found ways to entertain himself while we were away.  He chewed our new trees down to stubs, he dug holes, he chewed  just one shoe of every pair of heels I owned.  I once used a sharpie to color in the teeth marks on one heel that wasn't too bad so I had a pair to wear to church that day!  He ate the back seat of the car while we were driving, and then started eating the siding on the house.  Found him a new home with someone who had more time for him.

Next came Roz, my daughter's choice and another purebred.  A mini dapple Dachshund.  Very cute, seemed sweet, but this dog had so many issues!  OMG!  Barking, peeing, biting, peeling out on your lap with her toe nails when she wanted down.  To top it all off, she didn't even seem to like us!  Or care to come when called, be petted etc.  She was more like a cat that way!  She bit my son a couple times when he was a toddler, just out of the blue, and she went to a home with another dachshund.  I remember thinking, "Are these people crazy to want more than one of these?"  I have since seen others of this breed that are very loving and sweet and nothing like Roz, so I am not sure why we were so lucky!

Sydney was a rescue dog, a German Shephard, my choice.  I thought, if dogs had all these issues to put up with then I would get one with a purpose (she could protect the house and kids).  Syd was a great, loving, sweet, part of the family, but she had a problem too; Dog Aggression!  She slipped her choke collar on a walk once and attacked an elderly lady walking her dog.  Guess what kind of dog it was?  Yep, a Dachshund!  The lady threw her body over her dog, and though neither the dog or lady was hurt (it was just alot of barking, growling and posturing that looked horrible) I ended up footing the bill for a vet check, some antibiotics, (just in case) and a trip to the urgent care to inspect a scrape on the lady's finger.  She came out with a bandaid, and a prescription for, you guessed it, antibiotics!  

So, I guess, in the larger scheme of things, Max isn't so bad.  But this is where I need your help.

Max is our dog now.  He is a mutt.  We think possibly lab and shephard mix. We got him as a puppy about 5 years ago.  A girl had a box of puppies for free out in front of Safeway and they were just these cute wiggly creatures.  The pups were all grunting happily like a box of piglets.  I was no longer working, and had time for a pup, and the kids were ready since Syd had passed away about 8 months before of old age.  

We are experiencing a whole new, set of strange behaviors with Max.  He is very sweet, very sensitive, still looks like a big puppy.   I would say Max is extremely sensitive.  You don't have to even raise your voice to him for correction.  He is energetic, likes everyone, and loves to play.  Does well with kids, cats, other dogs, he is a great dog.  The only typical issue we have with Max is his barking.  Every single time he goes outside!  But that isn't the issue. 



Max has alot of fears, he is a very anxious dog.  (He is also camera shy) Random fears develop out of nowhere.  Some come and go, and some stay around.  Max will sometimes get on the bed and is afraid to get down.  He literally has to be pulled off when coaxing, and pleading and leaving him there doesn't work.  He knows he isn't supposed to be on the bed, but the only thing that happens is he is told to get down.  He has a thing with the floors.  We installed Pergo in several rooms a few years ago and he occasionally slips on the floor.  We keep his toenails really short so he doesn't slip (and so we don't have to listen to the constant click, click, click!). 



He went through a two week period where he would get "stuck" downstairs!  We live in a tri-level house so 'downstairs' is the family room and is only four steps down.. But the steps up and the living room/dining room are Pergo.  Now, he navigated this successfully for a couple of years, when, for no apparent reason, this happened !  He would stand at the bottom of the stairs looking pitiful.  He wouldn't even come up for food!  We ignored, we coaxed, we tried positive reinforcement and basically we had to leave him there, or get behind him and push him up!  Thankfully, that ended as suddenly as it began.

He recently acts scared to come to his food bowl when the cats are near.  He isn't afraid of the cats, they have always been here.  They move away when he comes in.  But now, if they are near, he will stare at his bowl and act as though there is an invisible barrier that he can't get through.  We give him a small bit of table scraps with his regular food everynight, and he waits for that, so this is really bizarre for him. 




 I think the one that bugs me the most, and has been the most long lasting, is the fact that he refuses to drink water from his water bowl.  He drank from it for a couple of years and then out of the blue, no more!  No matter how clean, fresh, etc.  He will NOT drink from it.  He drinks from the toilet when he thinks he can get away with it, or waits til he goes outside and drinks from the birdbath, a puddle, anything other than his bowl.  He has a huge automatic waterer now, but we have switched to a bowl, a kettle, everything we can think of and he WILL NOT DRINK!  I hate waking up to the sound of him drinking out of the toilet if someone forgets to close the lid!  HELP!!!!  What do I do???


I think after Max I will stick to cats...


1 comment:

Mossy Rock Interiors said...

Tracie - max sounds just like our dog! It was so crazy reading this post...I felt like I was reading about our Barley! We have a Boykin Spaniel, we got him as a pup, he is two now. He is our baby, the sweetest dog ever and so much a part of our family.
Out of nowhere, he started to fear his food bowl, his water bowl, and hallways. He will literally run through a hallway so fast just to get thru it, or refuse to come through it altogether and stand at one end with a sad look on his face until I pick him up and carry him. We have hardwood floors, so i wonder if that is the issue? Some days he is fine to eat out of his food bowl and some days he refuses. It is so random! Same thing with his water bowl...he has been on a kick for a couple weeks and will only eat ice cubes or drink from the toilet. What is it!?! I don't have any answers for you, but i do have sympathy. Maybe we can figure this out together!! xo. leanne

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