DogDaz Zoo: When They Tell You Your Dog Is Mentally Ill

18 Mar

Sofie-01I wrote the first part of this post in 2016 and never published itWhen Sofie was a puppy (born November 2010), other than being a bit whiney and barky in her first few months, she seemed like every other puppy I ever had. Thinking back, maybe she was a bit more strong-willed than others. It was harder to get her to listen to commands, but I figured that was her Sheltie/herding dog lineage and a vet told me she just needed a flock of sheep, or pride of cats, to work with every day.

Being the pet Mom that I am, I did Clicker training;  I tried positive reinforcement with treats; I hired private trainers (twice); I even trained with an e-collar (before I knew it was not a good thing to train with). And, for a long time, she was great off leash and listened when I requested her attention. The only thing that I have never been able to get under control was her barking. She has super sonic hearing and barks at the slightest breeze.

When I look back at the list of things that I worked on with the first trainer when Sofie was about 6 months old, I see that the list hasn’t changed much in 6 years. (1) Barking at everything; (2) whining;  (3) chasing cats. I can say that I taught her many things: not to jump on people, and how to sit, stay, come, stop, down, paw, leave it, drop it, up (in the car or on a bed), ‘Don’t’ (‘No’ is Louise’s word, so I used ‘Don’t’ for Sofie, so they wouldn’t get confused), find me (it’s a game we play), and place. I am pretty sure that she understands ‘quiet,’ but that she just doesn’t obey the command when I say it.

I feel like a failure. I have had 6 dogs in my life, and I have never had a dog with as many issues as Sofie.

Sofie’s challenges

  • Thunder anxiety (always)

  • Separation anxiety (sometimes)

  • Hyper noise sensitivity (always)

  • General, everyday, life anxiety

  • Night terrors. Waking several times at night from sleep and starting to bark and go crazy as if something is attacking her.

  • Dislikes puppies and any dog that lick her face

  • Skin issues (mostly in warm weather)

  • Breathing issues (whizzing and asthma like)

  • Digestive issues

How things manifest

  • Comfort sucking: She sucks on fabric, on the bed blankets, on toys (her favorites are catnip toys), even sometimes on my pants while I am wearing them. Sometimes she will ‘flank suck’ on herself, but that is rare.

  • She pants, a lot, no matter the weather

  • She whines

  • She barks at everything

  • She barks at dogs, people, trucks, anything passing the house, even if she can’t see them.

  • She barks at deliveries leaving a package at the any door (and of course my daughter buys everything online).

3 different Veternarians over the years have told me she suffers from some form of mental instablity. At the end of the day, what does that mean?


Fast forward to 2019 – to be continued…..

After 8 years, Sofie continues to be a challenge in a multi-animal household.

Just another DogDaz morning at the zoo ❤


Posted by on March 18, 2019 in Dogs


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6 responses to “DogDaz Zoo: When They Tell You Your Dog Is Mentally Ill

  1. easyweimaraner

    March 18, 2019 at 03:39

    your sofie bear is a fabulous member of your furmily no ifs no but’s ;O) we have such a barker pup too… Nelly… but we work at this front even when we feel like that greek guy named sisyphos sometimes..

    Liked by 1 person

    • dogdaz

      March 18, 2019 at 05:35

      Absolutely. She is an important piece of our puzzle. 🐶🙀


  2. Genevieve Petrillo

    March 18, 2019 at 15:58

    Mom and I think “mental instability” is relative. We’re all a little unstable now and then. Sofie found the perfect home to nurture her (inst) ability and play to her strengths. You be you, S!

    Love and licks,

    Liked by 1 person

    • dogdaz

      March 18, 2019 at 17:41

      That is what the vet says, Any other home would have sent her away long ago. She is our little crazy girl


  3. sassybrat1904

    March 23, 2019 at 10:14

    I have a big German Shepherd Samantha that barks at everything. That girl has some great hearing too. My oldest BabyGirl has the anxiety. She has cancer and was put on Gabapentin which also is for anxiety and pain. She also is terrified of storms. We moved and in this 100 year old house you can’t hear anything going on outside so this house has helped her with the storms. I managed to train all 4 of my dogs not to jump on people. progress!

    Liked by 1 person

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