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TheOneWithTheThumbs
(@theonewiththethumbs)
Outstanding Member

This post will probably get long (i'm windy on a good day) but I'm seeking advice.  I know there are a couple people here who have "difficult" dogs (using the word loosely to describe dogs that are not textbook "average family dogs") and was thinking maybe someone else has seen this behavior because i'm...  i'm just - hands in the air - out of ideas....  

 
So, Back Story:  I have two dogs, Maybe, who is just as easy as they come and Brick who suffers mass amounts of anxiety.  I used to walk him every night (at the time i had three dogs so i walked each dog alone for about 20-30 minutes (and i was in the best shape of my life! haha)) but it was like i was dragging Brick to his doom.  He would slink, ears down, tail tucked...  i would give him lots of treats and praise - i thought he'd outgrow his fear of outside...  For some reason we think we "have to" walk our dogs to give them the best life - but - after consulting a behaviorist and an animal psychic, concluded Brick is just not a walking dog.  He plays tons of games, he has a big backyard with lots of room to run, he goes to a nosework class once a week..  up until just recently he's been very happy with his status quo. 
 
For several reasons I hired a dog walker for Maybe.  (shoulder surgery left my leash arm in a state of "less than" for more than a year + i wanted to have an emergency contact, someone my dogs would trust to come in and feed them if i was ever hit by a bus.  or arrested. or in any way unable to get home) The dog walker plays with Brick in the backyard for 10-15 minutes, then takes Maybe for a jaunt around the neighborhood. For the last year and a half everything's been great until maybe mid-November.  I'd come home at lunch to let the dogs out for a potty break and Brick seemed very forlorn.  Every dog-walker day,  I come home and Brick's ..  mopey?  sad?  Not his every-other-day-of-the-week self. 
** The dog walker is in no way abusive.  I have cameras in the front yard and the backyard.  Maybe runs up to him tail wagging, she drags him out the front door...  If he was in anyway cruel, or treated them badly, she would not be so warm to him.
 
My only guess was that Brick was sad not getting to go for walks.  
 
Now that the rain and extreme cold has stopped, i have started walking Maybe again in the evenings and after her ~20 minute walk, i take Brick out for about 5 minutes.  We cross the street, go up 4 houses, cross the street and back home. He has been so unbelievably happy!  He runs in the house, tail wagging, ears up, doing weird little leaps - it's like that 5 minutes was the best thing that ever happened!!  It's adorable! i thought, ok, whatever fear he had has finally passed, we can go for walks now!
 
Yesterday I saddled up both dogs, Boyfriend took Maybe and i took Brick...  it was awful.  As soon as we got out front Brick was spastic "maybe i'll go right - no left! where's Maybe! what was that! i want to be in front!"  and he was just barking his head off the whole time!!  We made it maybe 10 minutes before i said "ok, this just isn't going to work!" and we went back home.  When the house was in sight, his switch flipped.  He was still physically spastic - but stopped barking.  When we got in the house he fell asleep almost instantly.
 
His body language:  ears were up, full alert.  tail was up and wagging.  his bark wasn't his "angry" bark. it was somewhere between curious "hey guys, i heard a noise!" bark and happy "i love this game, lets play more!" bark. 
* no way i can get a video, it takes both hands to hold the leash.
 
I know that i need to not take him out with Maybe again.  
I know i need to not take him off the street yet.  
 
Something put him over threshold, but i don't know what...  Is he scared to be away from home?  Is he afraid to be out with Maybe? (which would be very odd, indeed. he often defers to her judgement when something has scared him)  Should i just give up?
 
I know being "frustrated" makes me a jerky dog person, but i am.  I am so very frustrated because i try so hard to do right by Brick - and most the time i completely understand him, but this...  i'm just at a loss....  
 
Anyone have any ideas? 
ReplyQuote
Posted : 28/01/2019 11:22 am PharmacySheep liked
Mad Murphy
(@mad-murphy)
Amazing Member

First idea... Breathe deeply ....

 Youre already halfway there  youve accepted that your dogs are not the tv show dogs where everyone loves them and they love everyone in the neighbourhood and everything is just peachy.. You have real life dogs.

 

I had the opposite from you. Oscar was a bag of nerves, jumped at every sound outside, cowered when the flag outside the bakers flapped, wouldnt walk past the garbage cans on collection day ect ect... So we got Benny to keep him company and guess what? the nerves vanished overnight while walking with his buddy he was invincible..

So we didnt walk Oscar alone.

Remy walked with me, Remy walked with other dogs, Remy would run about like a mad thing if I let him off the lead but when my friend who came to the house almost every day tried to walk Remy he behaved the same way youre describing Brick.. (only good thing Remy was a rat terrier so she carried him home).

 

Giving Brick time and letting him stay home if thats what he wants isnt giving up its giving him space to be himself.

Its not a failure, its to be commended and praised , you are willing to listen and do what your dog needs not what you want or think other people expect.

Dont sell yourself short you are doing your best for Maybe and Brick.

Dont be upset its possible Brick doesnt understand yet why he couldnt cope and if he desnt know why should you? Just give him time.

 

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Posted : 28/01/2019 11:49 am PharmacySheep liked
TheOneWithTheThumbs
(@theonewiththethumbs)
Outstanding Member

@mad-murphy  thank you. i really needed that. 

He's been asking me for walks, so i take him for walks, then he hates walks...  just ... ARGH!! ya know?  lol  Makes me think of those collections of "why my kid is crying" photos  🤣 

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It would just be nice to be able to drive the dogs to fresh scenery once in a while. but not really possible if i have to leave Brick in the car. Leaving him HOME, when he knows Maybe and i have DRIVEN somewhere seems to greatly upset him, too.  

I guess i'll play it by ear, wait and see if he "asks" for a walk again first. 

 

 

 

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by TheOneWithTheThumbs
ReplyQuote
Posted : 28/01/2019 11:58 am PharmacySheep and Mad Murphy liked
Mad Murphy
(@mad-murphy)
Amazing Member

When my kids were small one was home schooled the other younger one went to regular school and he got invited to loads of birthday parties. So everytime he went off to a party I would take my other son to a fast food place and buy him a huge ice cream sundae, it was our secret.  He loved it , he was never jealous of his brother going to parties because he got to do something special at that time and his younger brother wasnt jealous because he never knew about the sundaes.

Any chance that you could give Brick some kind of special Brick only game or special time while Maybe goes for a walk or a drive?? (Maybe the BF could help out.)

 

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Posted : 28/01/2019 12:14 pm PharmacySheep and TheOneWithTheThumbs liked
TheOneWithTheThumbs
(@theonewiththethumbs)
Outstanding Member

@mad-murphy  that's so sweet!  and the funny thing..  When i was debating the dog walker, the point that tipped the scales in favor was that Brick got his special "mom and me" time going to class once a week.  Maybe getting her special walk was supposed to level the field.  

Before Brick i used to take Maybe to a park just a short drive from home for walks and she just loved it.  So many exciting smells close to the water!  I started calling her my "wild california puppy" (poppy is the california state flower)

obh3v me8c459

When Brick came along, at only 3 months old, i would take them both.  For a couple months he was ok...  then one day he stopped being ok.  He went into his barking thing and some little
kid, trying to enjoy nature with his family, said "mommy, i don't like that dog, he's mean"

*GASP*

I died. Never took him again after that.  Sure, i was insulted, but i didn't want Brick's feelings to be hurt with people running away from him... at that time, i didn't know how big the walking thing would get.  lol 

On our way home, he's about 4 months in this photo:

10561839 10152607528878890 1354378065965678373 n

but you're right, i can try taking him for a drive after getting home with Maybe.  he does love the car!

 

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Posted : 28/01/2019 12:48 pm PharmacySheep liked
Griff Mom
(@griff-mom)
Outstanding Member

@theonewiththethumbs  You must be commended for all that you are doing for both of your pups!  One of my favorite quotes from the book Animals Make us Human by Temple Grandin:

"My theory is that the environment animals live in should activate their positive emotions as much as possible, and not activate their negative emotions any more than necessary.  If we get the animal's emotions right, we will have fewer problem behaviors." 

It sounds to me like you are doing just that.  I know I have to be careful with my "sensitive one" that he's not picking up on my emotions to dictate his behavior, as opposed to the other way around.  

Hoping all works out for you, Brick & Maybe!

 

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Posted : 31/01/2019 11:23 am TheOneWithTheThumbs liked
Griff Mom
(@griff-mom)
Outstanding Member

@theonewiththethumbs

Also, I think the nosework you are doing is great for the "sensitive types".  I know it really helps Woody gain confidence!   

I still love the picture of him doing the "dog jigsaw puzzle" in the Brain Games post.   That was too funny!  Keep us updated on this special pup!  

 

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Posted : 31/01/2019 11:31 am TheOneWithTheThumbs liked
TheOneWithTheThumbs
(@theonewiththethumbs)
Outstanding Member
Posted by: Griff Mom

@theonewiththethumbs  You must be commended for all that you are doing for both of your pups!  One of my favorite quotes from the book Animals Make us Human by Temple Grandin:

"My theory is that the environment animals live in should activate their positive emotions as much as possible, and not activate their negative emotions any more than necessary.  If we get the animal's emotions right, we will have fewer problem behaviors." 

It sounds to me like you are doing just that.  I know I have to be careful with my "sensitive one" that he's not picking up on my emotions to dictate his behavior, as opposed to the other way around.  

Hoping all works out for you, Brick & Maybe!

 

thank you so much, @griff-mom!  I'm not familiar with that author, but i love the quote!  Never much thought about it, but i think that's probably how i live.  Keep the beasts happy! 

Tuesday I was pruning an orange tree, racing the sun to fill up the green bin before the garbage pick up and i heard someone squeaking something.  Way out of the ordinary to have someone in the house playing with a toy if i'm outside... i went in the side door and saw Brick just out the back door - little stinker stole his flirt pole from the garage. I so wish i had had my phone handy - he was throwing the toy in the air, trying to make it fly the way I do so he could chase it. A-DORABLE!  Playing 'rat-on-a-string' was not on the docket for Tuesday, but i simply couldn't tell him no.

How do you explain "No, Tuesdays are game night, not running night.  Running nights are Monday and Thursday"  hahaha... if it makes 'em happy, why the hell not, right?!

After i had him good and tired i took Maybe for a walk.  When i got back- Brick did not ask for a walk, he didn't beg to go too, he just followed Maybe around, like he was asking her how it went.  I put his leash on and took him out front.  Didn't even bother to lock the door.  We went a half a house length each direction then wandered the front lawn for a minute.  I don't want his last memory of outside to be Sunday's sheer terror.  So it looks like we are back to square one.  and that's ok.

* if i find myself getting anything overly negative and i'm trying to keep the dogs calm - i sing happy birthday.  i have never been able to sing happy birthday with a scowl. and it seems to lighten everyone's mood instantly!  🤩 

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by TheOneWithTheThumbs
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Posted : 31/01/2019 11:48 am Griff Mom liked
MariaandNikita
(@mariaandnikita)
Fantastic Member

❤️❤️❤️ lol love that you’re singing happy birthday 😂

@kitispie

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Posted : 01/02/2019 11:59 am TheOneWithTheThumbs liked
Mad Murphy
(@mad-murphy)
Amazing Member

@TheOneWithTheThumbs I love your choice of song..

The only time I have ever sung to my dogs is when they are in the shower. I find it seems to relax them or maybe paralyze them into submission !

I do dance for our parrot though, he likes old rock and roll, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly etc and if I or OH dance he joins in!

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Posted : 01/02/2019 2:18 pm PharmacySheep, Griff Mom and TheOneWithTheThumbs liked
TheOneWithTheThumbs
(@theonewiththethumbs)
Outstanding Member

wh-wh-what?  i can't be the only one who sings to their dogs?  lol!

every night at bedtime i sing "it's time to march to bed! it's time to march to bed! go on and get in bed [Maybe would sit with defiant purpose and stare at me so this verse is strictly for her] or i will hit your head! [at which point she runs off, tail wagging]"  Brick full RUNS to bed as soon as he hears me start the long, drawn out first "Iiiit's"  it's hilarious! 

to the tune of "oh my darlin" i have sung to Maybe, since she was a bitty thing "Oh my darlin, Oh my darlin, Oh my darlin' Maybelline, you're so pretty, and i love you, oh my darlin' Maybelline"  When she was a rammy little pup it would - and still does - put her right to sleep.  So whenever i have to skunk-bathe her, i sing the whole time to keep her chill while the stuff soaks on her.

@mad-murphy, i have tried different genres of music in the car, but i don't ever get a feel for what my dogs like. lol.

 

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by TheOneWithTheThumbs
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Posted : 01/02/2019 2:29 pm PharmacySheep and Mad Murphy liked
Mad Murphy
(@mad-murphy)
Amazing Member

Remember Witney Housten... and I will allllways love you oooh oooh  that really high bit?

My old dog Max was in the yard and we could hear the neighbour trying (very badly) to sing along , as she got to that high bit Max just threw his head back and howled and howled...

We fell about laughing as she slammed the window shut. It seems singing to the dog is one thing but when they sing back people are not so amused!

001

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Posted : 01/02/2019 2:44 pm PharmacySheep, TheOneWithTheThumbs and Griff Mom liked
Griff Mom
(@griff-mom)
Outstanding Member

Ha!  I love the singing too!!!  I must remember to do this more often.  When we adopted Woody, he was so fearful and "shut down" that I would sing to him.  I like to think he loved the classics, such as "Misty" or "Someone to Watch over me" as much as I could remember the words to these. 

I do play music on the little iPod thingie and sometimes dance about if the mood strikes.  That's when they both look at me as if they'd like to have a different Griff mom.  😜  

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Posted : 01/02/2019 2:55 pm PharmacySheep and TheOneWithTheThumbs liked
TheOneWithTheThumbs
(@theonewiththethumbs)
Outstanding Member

@mad-murphy that is positively hilarious!!!  

@griff-mom i had a foster dog that loved "jazz hands"  i could [badly] sing ANY show tune, as long as it was upbeat and had jazz hands - she was totally tuned in!

I ask Maybe to dance with me and she just gives me the double punch.  but maybe that's her version of the dap?  🤣 you know, 'cause she don't gots elbows  😆 😆

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Posted : 01/02/2019 3:55 pm
PharmacySheep
(@pharmacysheep)
Fantastic Member

@theonewithtgethumbs 😂 You’re not alone, I sing for Cocoa too. I mostly make up songs but in the morning I’ll sing “Good Morning Starshine”. Lol

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Posted : 02/02/2019 4:50 am TheOneWithTheThumbs liked
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