It’s not that she is a bad dog. She doesn’t tear things up. She tolerates the two year old. She’s housebroken – mostly. As long as you follow the rules. If you deviate from her schedule she has a spot she uses, but there’s plenty of wiggle room. Except in the morning. You have to let her out first thing. Do not stop. Do not pass go. Do not visit the toilet, brush your teeth or attempt to make coffee. If you do – she will crap in front of the piano. Period.
She’s super smart. She learns tricks in minutes. Sit. Lay down. Stay. Shake. Roll over, which can be done on visual command alone. If you point your finger at her like a gun and say bang she falls over as if she’s been shot. She’ll dance on her hind legs if you hold your hand flat over her head. She has amazing balance. She can jump *really* high.
But she has this perpetual level of desperation that on a scale of 1 to 10 never really falls below a 6. This manifests in some every day behaviors that are, to say the least, undesirable.
She doesn’t want to be more than 6 inches away from me. If I allow her into that space she quickly becomes a leaner. For a long time I tried to reassure her. I babied her. She slept in the bed. I took her everywhere and snuggled her all the time. This made her worse. It was followed by possessive behavior. She became aggressive with people approaching me on several occasions. I was able to counter the aggression by keeping her at a distance.
But she still follows me around in a constant state of neurotic desperation, her eyes bulging so far from her head the sometimes look like they’re going to fall out. I’ve sometimes wondered if there is some kind of pressure in there that’s making them do that, and that’s what is making her crazy. But then the levels fall back to 6 and her eyes look almost normal. Aside from the way they follow me around the room like a creepy painting on Scooby Doo.
When I put her outside in the dog yard (yes she has her own yard) she immediately wants back in. There is no wiggle room. If I don’t let her immediately back into the house she starts the super sonic yiping. I don’t know how else to describe it. She doesn’t really whine or bark. She yipes. This noise is like a human dog whistle. It pierces your brain and makes your teeth hurt. It could probably be used to train Navy Seals to resist interrogation by torture.
We had her in her yard while we were working outside one day and she was making the “noise”. The neighbors from across the street came over to check on my next door neighbors dogs thinking one of them was injured somewhere.
When you open the back door to let her in, or the gate to the stairs, she attempts (and often succeeds) in charging the opening. I’ve nearly been knocked down the stairs, and I’ve nearly broken my foot trying to stop her. She has bowled over the 2 year old on more than one occasion. I have to tap my deepest reserves of tolerance and patience when the kid is involved. That inner momma bear could be dangerous.
I’ve tried different techniques to quiet her and slow her down. I’ve tried ignoring her. I’ve tried rewarding the good behavior. I’ll admit in weak moments I’ve punished the bad behavior.
She’s a Nervous Nellie, and I don’t know what to do. She wasn’t an abused rescue dog. I’ve known her since she was a puppy. Her mother was also like this so we aren’t sure if there might be hereditary mental illness. We are considering anti anxiety medication. She is 5 years old now and neither of us is happy. The idea of spending another 10 years with a nervous unhappy dog makes my teeth ache like the super sonic yipe.
I want to try one more thing…
My mother sent me a DVD Box Set of Season 2 of The Dog Whisperer. He says over and over and over again – a high energy dog needs to be walked at least 45 minutes a day or they will develop neurotic behaviors. Could that be it? It wouldn’t be had for either of us. We’ll start tonight. When Bryan gets home and can watch the kiddo we’ll go.
If it doesn’t help the dog, at least it can’t hurt the size of my butt. I can’t afford an elliptical right now, but I already have a crazy dog.
Tune in later this week for: