Our Alex, a pit bull mix, was one of the best dogs I’ve ever had as a pet and as my helper when working with other dogs to modify their behavior, but my girl, when we got her as a puppy, had bad separation anxiety so it took us a while to get her to be balanced. Let me tell you that she was worth it. We had her for 13 years, and even now I don’t think that it was long enough.
Our Charlie, the new addition to our family, has separation anxiety and he is getting better as time goes by:
-We couldn’t leave him in any room by himself because he would scream murder at the top of his lungs. Nowadays, he is able to stay by himself for a short period of time.
-Charlie would bark/whine when Abby went out to do her business. Recently, he only makes a funny sound, yes sometimes he still whines, but the intensity and length of time is but a couple of seconds.
-When we placed Abby in the car first, Charlie would go berserk. As time went by, he understood that he would get in the car too so he does get excited, but it’s manageable.
The above is just a few of the things we’re working on with Charlie and his separation anxiety. To those pet parents that are probably asking themselves, “How long will it take for that separation anxiety to disappear?” Let me tell you that it depends on the dog, the activities you are doing with him, the behavior and training you are working on, and the consistency and commitment on your part. Work hard, but also remember to take a break every so often. Stay safe.
The mess behind the cupcakes and flowers happen to be because those cupcakes were made by one of Abby’s moms, Cynthia, from scratch. Between you and me, I wanted to buy some from a store already made, but that’s just me.
We are usually so busy during Abby’s birthday every year, but not this one. Abby’s birthday was on Saturday, 4/3/21, so that day we went for a long walk; Abby and Charlie both had some tacos for lunch; and for dinner they had chicken. Then, to continue the festivities, on Sunday after our usual walk, we just relaxed on our back porch. All in all, I’d venture to say that Abby had a pretty nice birthday weekend, don’t you think so?
Charlie is improving on some things, and on others, we still got a bit to go:
-Walking around where we live is getting better. I haven’t seen him do a Superman, airborne, recently. But, yes there is a but, when he is walking outside of our property Charlie is still a bit hesitant. We are working on that.
-Eating, our boy eats anything, is getting better. He is giving me space when I am about to feed him. Great job Charlie!
-Sleeping/napping in his bed is also better. He is staying on it longer and longer. Yay!
-Separation anxiety is something that most shelter dogs exhibit and Charlie is not the exception. This weekend we took him to do some shopping and when Cynthia exited the car to go to the supermarket, guess what happened? Charlie lost it. But, and this part is the good part, he did better and better as we when to different stores. I will write about separation anxiety on another post.
I want pet parents to know that getting a dog to be balanced is done slowly with tons of patience. For those pet parents that are frustrated I would say to them to take a moment and to keep working at it. Take my word for it, your canine companion is worth it. I know my Charlie certainly is so don’t give up. Stay safel
Charlie has been with us for a little over 2 weeks and slowly, emphasis on slowly, he is gaining weight, and he is starting to learn manners. Yeah! But, I want to tell you that behavior modification takes time, patience, and lots of persistence. One thing I tell my clients that they need to master is walking their dog. At the beginning, Charlie was impossible to walk with Abby, but as days went by he surprised us by walking beautifully like in the above picture.
And then Charlie saw a deer, and guess what? He went airborne. Yes, you read it right. He is a big dog so I never thought that could be possible, but Charlie proved me wrong. It took a few minutes for him to relax, and when he finally did we continued our walk. Is this unusual? No. All our dogs did the same, until they got used to seeing other animals without having any reaction.
For those pet parents that are scratching their heads not knowing what to do with their dogs, let me tell you that your dog will learn athis/her own pace, and you need to remember that. Find a dog trainer that you and your dog are comfortable working with and enjoy the ride. Also, when you are fed up, please do not work with your dog. Take a deep breath, put your doggie in his crate, and have a glass of wine. Once you are relaxed, continue working with your dog. By relaxed I mean balanced not buzzed. Stay safe!
It’s funny what you miss as time goes by. Kayaking with Alex is something I truly miss although our first time was certainly an odyssey, but it got better and better the more we did it. Alex has been gone a little over 5 years, and my heart still aches for her, but I am also thankful for the time we had with her.
With that being said, let’s cross our fingers, we hope that next year we are able to go kayaking with Abby and some of her canine friends. Have a great weekend and stay safe.
Walter, Australian Shepherd, and Dexter, Boxer mix. (L to R)
I got a video from Dexter’s mom this week in which he was playing with a toy without a care in the world. When we met Dexter he was 5 years old. He is a little over 10 years old now, and he looked so happy and much older that I remembered. That video made me think. Why we, humans, are so worried about getting old? I know we have to plan for the future, that’s a given, but many of us worry for no particular reason. I do think that dogs live in the moment, something we humans find somewhat difficult to do, and so I’d say to you, do what makes you happy, and learn from your dogs. Carpe Diem people!
There’s research that shows that dogs do sense our moods and behavior, even smell our emotional state. I’ve learned this from personal experience from our dogs: Casey, Alex, Bella and Abby.
Casey, a Staffie, would sit perfectly still next to me when I got angry. Funny, one time I told Cynthia that I wasn’t angry, but Casey sold me out. Traitor! Alex, a pit bull mix, would get close to me and shiver. Bella, a pit bull mix, would try to make herself small. And Abby, a Beagle/Bulldog mix, runs toward me and with a concern look on her face looks me in the eyes.
Dogs are amazing teachers, and living with them gives us the opportunity to live a balanced and healthy life. Do you think your dog senses your moods/emotions?