Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm beginning to love my dog again...

So I've mentioned that I have a bratty dog...Cooper.  To give you a little background, Cooper has been our dog and a big part of our family since the year that we got married.  We actually found him as a puppy in the apartment community that we were living in, we never found his home, and decided to keep him.  He has always been skiddish and anxious and overall a very needy dog.  Of course when you don't have children, you can fully focus on your dog.  And by that I mean we completely spoiled him.  We took him everywhere and showered him with attention.  We had him pretty well trained by the time that Keira was born...it was our priority to prepare him for a new baby.  We thought he was going to be horrible with Keira, but it turned out that he was actually very well-behaved, considering a baby girl came into his home and took all of his attention.  Other than a few of his usual behavioral issues, he adjusted extremely well and was very calm and sweet around her...and they have been best friends ever since.

However, since Keira is now a pretty wild toddler, she has made him much wilder than he ever was when she was a baby...they run laps, he barks, she laughs, she gives him her food, he throws it up, she brushes and flat irons his hair at her salon, he runs from that, she sits on him and jumps on him, and the list could go on...so they are pretty much double trouble. 

Needless to say, he was a very different dog by the time Alyssa was born this past summer.  Apparently, we have not been giving him the attention that he requires...we can no longer take him on truck rides (absolutely no room for that...we tried him in my lap once but an 80 pound anxious dog on top of me certainly didn't work out), and overall we can't cater to his every need.  So, over the past 6 months, since we brought Alyssa home, Cooper has been quite a challenge and steadily getting worse.  He has a very difficult time with transition...babysitters coming and me leaving, us coming home from work, etc.  That is when he runs laps, jumps on my company, and usually chews at least one of Keira or Alyssa's stuffed animals and sometimes dirty diapers (Yes, he can stick his snout down into the diaper genie).  It's almost like he has 2 personalities...when everything is going smoothly and there's no transition going on, Cooper is the most sweet, loving, lazy hound dog.  In fact, you usually wouldn't even know he is there.  But when anyone is coming or going, or when Keira starts picking on him, he gets into this wild, hyper, destruction mode...running and barking and chewing.  Not to mention, he has had some major bathroom issues going on.  He used to be completely trained in going outside, but it's like ever since Alyssa came home, he tries to make us mad by not asking to go out before he does his business.  He has really taken a toll on our house, and I had enough.

Last week, I decided to pull out the big bulky metal crate from under our bed.  As unattractive as it is, I had no choice.  He no longer has the freedom of the house while were gone, and I also have the option of putting him in there when he is out of control.  Unfortunately, being that he is a hound dog, he produces a lot of saliva and drools uncontrollably when he is anxious so crate time is messy.  But that is better than him ruining the rest of my house.  The crate has definitely helped with the bathroom issues but it didn't always help with his wild moods.  Then I was reminded of the THUNDERSHIRT...

The thundershirt has started to make life with Cooper a little easier.  It is an amazing solution for dog anxiety.  It is actually a shirt that you wrap around them very snug.  It's basically the same concept as swaddling a baby.  It helps with fear of thunder (hence the name), separation axiety, barking, noise anxiety, car anxiety, crate anxiety, excitability, etc.  When I first heard of it months ago, I thought there is no way a shirt is going to help that crazy dog, but with as bad as he had gotten I thought anything was worth a shot.  So this past weekend, I purchased one at Petco for only $39.95...a small price to pay for a well-behaved dog.  We put it on him while we played the Wii that night...something that usually makes him go crazy (it's something about the sound of the Wii and us interatcting with a TV that he can't tolerate)...suprisingly, he was calm when we played.  I was shocked, but I was still doubtful that it would work with other people around.  So, the next night we were having my family over for my birthday, and I thought that would be the true test.  As soon as eveyone got there, we put on the Thundershirt.  It was like he was a different dog...he wasn't begging for everyone's food or jumping on them or walking around drooling...he simply went and laid down.  In fact, he was so calm that he allowed Keira and my uncle to put hair clips all over his big ears (see the pictures below) without budging.  We were all in shock.  It made having company so much more enjoyable. I am so excited that I now have a way to have people over and enjoy having my dog there too.  I think I'm beginning to love him again...

***So to anyone with an anxious dog, I highly recommend the thundershirt (http://www.thundershirt.com/)***

1 comment:

  1. Bahaha! This was hilarious! I'm glad Cooper is behaving better now! :)