Tag Archives: thunder anxiety

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?


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


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday Mischief: Another Storm

Mom says that we are in for a week of ‘boom boom boom’ storms. It was hotter than hot for many many days and now all we get is rain and boomers. Louise and I don’t like boomers (Charles doesn’t seem to care much about them). They are loud and painful and they hurt my ears.

The DogDaz Zoo is that little blue dot in the middle of all those red storm blobs.

I’m wearing my thunder shirt but it doesn’t really help anymore. It used to help me years ago, but now it is just this too tight thing that Mom makes me wear. I am still scared. Maybe Peanut’s shoes will protect me?

Is that a little tiny bit of rainbow in the sky?

Mom put a shirt on Louise because she is also scared of storms (V thinks she caught the fear from me). Louise doesn’t have one of these fancy thunder shirts like I have so Mom found an old shirt in Peanut’s giveaway pile that seems to work really well. I am not sure if it helps her any more than my thunder shirt helps me, but….

She sure does look ‘super mega foxy awesome and hot!’

What kind of mischief did you get into today?

Just another DogDaz morning at the zoo ❤


Posted by on July 23, 2018 in Dogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday Mischief: DogDaz Storm Center

I don’t really need a weather app on my phone to tell me a thunderstorm is coming. Here at DogDaz Storm Center, we have 2 main thunder warning systems – Louise and Sofie.

In the middle of the night last Monday, some how, Louise managed to unlock her kennel, by herself, and come upstairs and start breathing on my while I slept. Then Sofie, who rarely comes on my bed, pushed me away from my pillows and hunkered down in my spot. It sounded like a freight train coming through the house and the flash and clap were immediate. Amazingly, 15 minutes later an EF2 tornado touched down on the other shore of the Chesapeake Bay on Kent Island (I’m the Western Shore and that is called the Eastern Shore). It started as a waterspout and took full tornado strength (125 mph winds) quickly. Thankfully, though there was a lot of property damage, only 1 person was slightly hurt.

Who needs all those meteorologists when you have 2 dogs that can tell you at least 2 hours before something major happens that something is going to happen? Do you really need to know more than that? Get to cover!!!!

Lucky for me, Charlies seems fine through the storms and the cats don’t show me much anxiety. These 2 big babies take enough attention for the whole Zoo.

Foot note: They are both huddled under my desk as I type this because yet another storm is passing through. This is summer on the Chesapeake Bay. Oh, my!

What kind of mischief did you get into today?

Just another DogDaz morning at the zoo ❤


Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Dogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday Mischief: Chewed Door Repair Video

When I am not home and there is a thunderstorm, Sofie tends to eat through the laundry room door. I have rebuilt the door 3X now. You would think I would just remember to leave it ajar when I go out so this doesn’t keep happening. But, No! I close the door because the cat litter is in there and I don’t want the dogs playing in it. That is why the laundry room door HAD a cat door; which is where I think this eating that particular door all started for Sofie. She first ate the cat door.

Anyway, I have gotten very expert at hollow core door repair, so I made you this video to share my fixing magic, including adding back a cat door. Hope it helps any of you that have to repair a similar chewed situation.

Turn on closed captions in video to read instructions. 

What kind of mischief did you get into today?

Just another DogDaz morning at the zoo ❤


Posted by on July 10, 2017 in Dogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DogDaz Zoo: High Anxiety Help Needed

I need your help.  Sofie’s anxiety is off the charts.  I have had her to several Veterinarians, a Behaviorist, and now they are recommending a Neurologist and MRI. I am at my wits-end trying to figure out how to help her and I don’t get much sleep anymore (that video above is at 2:06 AM). She appears to be in an ongoing state of anxiety or pain.

MM 6.22.15 Thunder Storm

Months ago, with help from a holistic Vet, we tried lots of different Chinese herbs to calm her separation and thunder anxieties, Back in June, Sofie ate through a door. We tried Xanax which actually made her hyperactive,  None of the herbal remedies seemed to touched the surface for more than a few days. You may notice in the door vs thunder storm picture, she was wearing her Thunder Shirt while she ate the door.  Yes, I have had her in one for years.

Around October, Sofie started waking me multiple times during the night with whining and barking.  I likened the event to ‘night terrors’ (like when kids have nightmares).  When this first happened, I started taking her from the bedroom into the den where she and I would go to sleep on the couch.  No amount of Shen Calmer, Composure Pro, or Pheromone spray was helping to stop these events.  I needed to do something different.

In December, I decided to go back to the Vet that handled 2 of my previous dogs (Nikki with a brain tumor and dementia and Squash with insulin diabetes). I always felt he was a good diagnostician and the only reason I changed Vets originally was because I had moved about 30 minutes away and wanted someone closer to home.  After taking a bunch of tests, he put Sofie on Prozac for a few weeks (which did nothing) and then we moved to Phenobarbital.  He was thinking that maybe the night awakening was some kind of seizure.  She did sleep for a few nights when we first started but then her night problems broke through.  I adjusted the meds as directed, but still she had night terrors.  We keep doing blood work and tests and meds changes, but still she has this problem at night and during the day sometimes.

Last week I decided to try an Animal Behaviorist. Sofie and I traveled 2 hours to consult with this person.

MM 6.16.14The Behaviorist felt that Sofie was very stressed out and that it must be caused by the years of wrong training I have given her, both regular basic obedience and especially the e-collar training. She told me to stop talking to Sofie in any way (no commands, no reprimands, don’t look at her).  She asked me to remove Louise and the cats from the house to see if they were the problem. She recommended a bunch of changes: stop socializing with other dogs, don’t let her around children (which she never was anyway), stop letting her go to daycare, ignore her when coming and going, if I am not home have whomever is home leash her and give her treats when she is screaming for me, toss food at her to stop whining, stop all obedience commands, stop verbal or physical punishment (I assume she meant the ecollar since Sofie was never physically punished), interrupt all barking by using the head collar and pulling her toward me and feeding her, stop all cat chasing by blocking with a board, block all windows so she can’t look out, stop feeding her in a bowl and reward her 30 to 40 times a day for coming when called, stop talking to her, stop letting her go to the fence in the yard and bark, pen her at night and if she barks in pen throw treats, when watching TV pen her and give her a feeding toy to stop her from barking at me.  And begin a noise desensitization program with thunder sounds and barking,

All this made me feel like I am a terrible pet owner (I am publicly sorry to the 29 other pets I have had in my life) but I accepted that every dog is different and since I was paying her to help me find a way that worked for Sofie, I was going to listen to her advice.  Immediately last week we started implementing her suggestions.

To rule out medical issues, the Behaviorist suggested I have Sofie’s Thyroid checked.  She feels that Sofie is obese. (Which has me concerned because all her recommendations are food based.) I went and had blood taken the next day (T-4 test), which came back low. Today, I went and had more blood work done so we can see how low it really is.  Sofie was so anxious when we got to the Vet that she tried to eat the window blinds and jump out the office window.  I have never seen her do this stuff before.  It just keeps getting worse.

Since I went to the Behaviorist last week, Sofie’s behavior (especially the whining and night waking) has escalated to a new level of crazy that I have never seen before.  Is this a reaction formation to trying to change her behavior or progression of a fast moving disease?

Did I tell you that Sofie won’t go with the Dog Walker anymore if I am home. That started about a month ago.  She hides in my office and refuses to go. (Lucky Louise gets a walk all by herself).  I was able to trick Sofie at first, I would make like I was going to walk with them, but now she knows that I am not really going and won’t budge. She gladly goes if I am not home.  Separation anxiety?  Maybe Rachel walks too fast for Sofie and she doesn’t want to go because it hurts her joints?

A few nights ago I changed the room I sleep in to see if the night problem was environmental (and because she was disturbing everyone that was sleeping). The first night she slept, then she didn’t, then she did.  Clearly this is not separation anxiety, as she is lying right next to me on the couch and still waking multiple times with cries, whines, and ultimately barks.  She is not allowed on my bed in the bedroom, but I do allow her with me on my den couch, so I was thinking the closeness would help her.  But NO!!

By the way, Sofie hates this nose collar the Behaviorist recommended we use.  It is suppose to give me more control of her in the house (so I can turn her head gently when she is barking and give her treats). I get the concept but at this point, I don’t think it is making a lick of difference.   On a positive note, she is sucking on fabric things a little less; at least that is a step in the right direction.  You might remember that she always has to have a lovey or something to suck on.

After I reported that things are getting worse to the Behaviorist, she said maybe the problem isn’t behavior after all but medical.  She wants me to stop everything she told me to do (except for the cat chasing).  I am losing my mind with all of this (and going broke)!!

Just in case it is joint pain, I added Dasuquin to her meds. A few times last week I noticed her limping when she would get up from the dog bed in my office.  Is this a response to all the meds, the weather, something else?  

Today the Vet discussed having an MRI to see if she has a brain tumor, but if she does, there would be little that could be done to help her.  He changed her from the Phenobarbital to Clomicalm. Hopefully, if I give it to her shortly before bed, we might get through the night.

Does anyone have any thoughts?  Medical or behavior? This is starting to become a quality of life question, hers and mine.  – Lorian, desperate DogDaz Zookeeper.

NOT Just another DogDaz morning at the zoo ❤


Posted by on January 21, 2016 in Dogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wordless Wednesday: THUNDER!!!!!

ww 7.1.15

No words needed.


This is a Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop. Thanks to BlogPaws for the hop. Head over there and see what they are blogging about.

Just another DogDaz morning at the zoo ❤


Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Dogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday Mischief: Another Vet Visit for Sofie

29Sofie vet anxiety

The spray and the Composure Pro and the herbs aren’t working.  Now we are going to try Xanax.  Maybe a combination of the spray the Composure and the pills will help her get through the daily storms and the fact that sometimes, Mom just can’t take her with her when she leaves. At least the Vet has tasty meatballs for treats.

Oh Sofie Bear!  The mischief you get into.

What mischief did you get into today?



This is a blog hop. I hopped it from MYBrownNewfies. Check them out for more mischief.

Just another DogDaz morning at the zoo ❤


Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Dogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,