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

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?

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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 ❤

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2019 in Dogs

 

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