We have had one stressed out pup lately. I feel so bad for her & just wish she could tell us what she is thinking. When I wrote my first post about her in December, she was finally starting to get comfortable with us & learning how to be an inside dog. We took her to Lincoln when we celebrated Christmas with my mom & she did well. Of course she was a little nervous at first but we made sure to bring her bed which had become her “safe” spot. She spent some time under my mom’s kitchen table but then resorted to the comfy bed for the rest of the time we were there. For Christmas Day, we hosted it at our house with a bunch of family which she is still recovering from. She had never been around a large group of people before so we learned that she struggles with new, unfamiliar people. While she wasn’t aggressive with anyone, she decided to hide under the table while everyone was here. She peed in the kennel overnight & pooed on the floor the next morning which she hadn’t done in weeks. From that point on, it was almost like she regressed back to the first few days we had her. Thankfully that was the only time she had an accident in the house so I imagine she was just stressed out from all the noise & the people in our house.
The week after Christmas, all she did was pace from the kitchen to the living room in the evenings after being out of the kennel. She would not relax at all. The first few days, we just let her pace & check everything out again. Then we tried giving her Benadryl just to see if it would help calm her down but it didn’t even phase her. Since we were planning on having people over again for NYE, I picked up some Rescue Remedy drops after a co-worker suggested it. I liked the idea of using something natural as compared to resorting to Benadryl or even a prescription from the vet. The drops ended up helping her a little but it was obvious that she was still anxious. She continued her pacing & wanted nothing to do with her “safe” bed in the living room where she would spend all her time prior to Christmas.
At the suggestion of our foster coordinator, we started forcing her to be in the same room with us when we were at home. So if we were in the living room, we blocked it off so she couldn’t run back into the kitchen. In the mornings, I’ve been putting her on the guest bed while I get ready for work as my closet/vanity is in our spare bedroom. This is what we have been doing ever since New Year’s weekend yet she is still struggling to get comfortable with being in any other room. If we let her, she would just spend all day in our kitchen/breakfast nook area & whine the entire time.
Slowly but surely, I feel like forcing her to be in the “scary” rooms has been helping. However, it is a work in progress. Currently, I’m in our spare bedroom & using my vanity as a desk so I made her come into this room with me (otherwise she would be out in the kitchen). This is her current position as I’m typing this– can you see her?
In more positive news, she loves being outside! Sometimes we can’t get her to come inside because all she wants to do is run around. I wish it was just a tad warmer outside so she could be out there for longer periods of time. I think running around would definitely help with her anxiety too. She has such short hair that I hate letting her outside for a long time although I know she has so much fun! We have had a few nice days where she’s been able to sun bathe on our back retaining wall. Those are the days that we basically have to carry her back inside. Part of me kind of hopes that we still have her in the spring so she can enjoy being outside in the nice weather rather than a sunny cold day. I also think this will greatly help with more training. She definitely needs some work with the leash & harness but this darn cold weather makes it hard to get outside!
Now that she is house broken, we have allowed her to spend more time on the furniture. We will let her on our bed in the evenings while we are reading or on the couches. She never cared much for laying on the furniture before but I think she enjoys it now. It just takes her awhile to relax enough to take a nap on the couch.
As for toys, she is still trying to figure these out. We have a stuffed squirrel that we keep in her kennel or near her bed in case she has the urge to chew on something. She will occasionally carry it out of the kennel/bed but then just leave it on the floor. I will throw it for her & she chases it but doesn’t like to bring it back. Same goes for tennis balls outside. I imagine that she never had any toys before so isn’t quite sure what to do with them!
She continues to be relatively quiet & has only barked a handful of times since we got her over Thanksgiving weekend. On the other hand, she whines a lot! Usually in the mornings and early afternoons. I can’t tell if it is because she wants attention or if it has to do with her anxiety. We have never experienced any aggression with her nor have we seen her try to bite/nip at anything.
At the end of this month, she will undergo her first round of heartworm treatment. We drop her off at the vet in the morning & pick her up that evening. I have no idea what to expect from the treatment or how she will act. Once she finishes all of her treatments, she will be spayed & also have a tooth extracted. I imagine she will be feeling so much better as soon as everything is finished.
While we do not plan on adopting Sophie, I sometimes wonder if we will have her for a very long time because of all of the issues that she has. Or if she does get adopted, I wonder if we will end up getting her back as the adoptive family won’t be able to take care of her. She is definitely very “special” and requires a lot of patience! As much as she stresses me out sometimes, I know I’m pretty attached to her & love having her with us!