07 November 2008

Things are different in daylight savings time.


Black Beauty's head smells like bacon. When she sits in a little ball on your lap, she makes little sounds that sound like a sea monkey might. Sort of snorffly little breaths. A little wheezy maybe. You put your head down to the bacon smell, and she tilts her head back just so, and one little bug eye kind of rolls back to get a good look at you. Like a giant squid would. Except it's this tiny little dog with feet the size of dimes, rolled into a ball.

She was the first one to see the kitty when were were walking to the beach in the dark. No bright flood lights on our coast. We just walk there at night to be near the water for a time. Scary in the dark down on the beach, with waves and drug dealers and hobos and hippies and all, down there in the dark. We don't go an touch the water in the dark. We just stay near and look at it and listen to it. All of us, 4 dogs on leashes, marching in the cold and the dark just to see the water, then marching back home. Saw one of those kitties that is a skunk but it's just easier to classify as kitty to dogs. We just crossed the street. Sorry. This is a non dramatic tale. No one gets it, it just skitters back to someone's trash cans. She just pulls hard on her tiny leash, trying to get that long, fluffy kitty. We just keep marching along.

My friend the dog behaviorist said train her. People like you with groups of dogs, always weirdo dog dynamics happening. Long group down stays always a nice thing to do for team camaraderie. She doesn't down yet. Sit stays a short while, waiting for her turn to eat or go in or out usually. Waits for it to be her turn, here her name and an OK. She doesn't really know. She's not a trained dog. On our long cold marches in the dark, Otterpop is always paranoid. Looking behind her, around to the side, who is out there that's gonna get her? My friend says Otterpop is just stressed out in general. So many things make her nervous and fretty and it can take days, a week for those stress hormones to get out of her twitchy little system. Has she ever been not stressed out? Make her life less stressful. Train on her some more. Chihuahua might have thrown a monkey wrench into her works but her works weren't exactly sparkling and clean, know what I mean? Otterpop's works pretty easy to cloggify, scrunge up, muckety muck muck.

No one else cares about the dark. Gustavo scared of the inflatable pool dinosaur we walked by in the street, laying there deflated and green and nearly life sized. Like he freaks out every Wednesday night, garbage night and giant trash cans appear in the gutter, outside his front fence. Meltdown. Ruby doesn't care about any of that. She just marches where I tell her to march, dark out, kitties out, inflatosaurs, none of it matters. She's a worker. Doesn't make errors. Just marches where we need to march and keeps her nose out of trouble and only in her own business. Otterpop, Gustavo and Beauty, they take up the lead, all three of them neck and neck, in the marching race to and from the water. Ruby, just behind them, stays even with my ankle, all of us trotting all the way home.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

Hey Captain,

How about trying The Pop on a touch of valerian for a little while? It will calm her down and help with the anxiety. Or if you wanted to go the pharmacological route, a little prozac.

My Iris got to be a REAL weirdo when her dam died-- Reba was Bitch In Chief, and Iris was next in line. Dunno, it was hard for her and she was very growly and weird and unpredictable with that change in the dog social sitch. Not so bad if you're talking small dog, but when it's a Rottweiler it's a problem! We put her on prozac for a couple of months and she was much much better. Just a thought, fwiw.

Some people think it's crazy to put a dog on anti-depressants. I really didn't care at the time! I just didn't want to have to put *another* dog down b/c she couldn't deal with the transition of losing the first dog. I think she was on it for 2-3 months, then life was better and she did fine without it.

team small dog said...

More and more and more people keep telling me about their weird interpack issues that happen on adding/losing dogs. We've just never really had stuff like that happen til now.

I thought me and my dogs were freaks and then people keep telling me things about their dogs that are so much more extreme, and things like, "Oh, I could never leave dogs A and B with dog C, they are always kept separated, especially if dog D is nearby... " and so on and so on and so on. I have been living in a little happy pack la la land I guess all these years.

One friend looked at me like I had 3 heads when I told him about my challenging dog problem, and was like, That's no problem. And told me about their 5 dog household. WWWHHHOOOOA dude. I am not complaining so much about my bad dogs because they just do not sound so bad sometimes compared to what I hear.

My vet has suggested prozac too, and talked w my friend the super dog behaviorist about it. I think I am going to wait and see and doing a lot of behavior modification. She is so much better than last week, not great but not as werido stressed out and not as weird towards Ruby. But I am not ruling out drugs if she still seems stressy and not coming out of it. She's always had that side to her, it's just more pronounced now.

My friend told me stress hormones stay in their system up to 10 days. So stressful event piled on stressful event, on top of a change in the pack structure can just be like you lose your job, you lose your car, someone robs your house and then you are getting divorced and then someone dies and then someone looks at you crosseyed in line at the store and next thing you know you are postal worker with an uzi.

Yep. Managing small dog issues WAY different thing than big dogs. Big dog teeth scare me a lot. I could never be a dog whisperer.

We are doing a lot of everyone sit and stay. Down and stay (unless you are BB). Waiting to go in. Waiting to go out. Manners, manners and more manners all the time. Even at beach a lot of calling in from running in water for nice down stays. Mucho structuro right now. Seems to be helping.