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My dog is unhappy(9 Posts)
My four year old dog regularly soaks his bed, and I also get the general sense he is unhappy and I want to understand how to make him feel more secure and content.
I am a SAHM with one toddler. My DH is home late evenings and weekends. Our usual routine is to get up, have breakfast and then go for a walk. Then I usually take DD out for an activity in the morning, back lunchtime for lunch and DD's nap in which time I usually cook dinner and do housework. Then we either have a bit of time at home (normally I do housework while DD plays) before another walk, or another walk and then DD and I go out somewhere for a couple of hours before we're home for dinner etc.
So dog usually has two walks a day, eats three times a day. We have an open plan house but dog has his bed to escape to and toddler knows not to hug the dog or approach him at bowl or in his bed (and she never does) but she is very interested in him and I wonder if this is the problem.
I also worry he doesn't get enough stimulation although I try to chat to them both and try to do a bit of dog training in here and there too. Would it help to increase this?
We try to stroke him but it is tricky because he will try to climb on us and whine if we stop. We reinforce all four legs on the floor for strokes but he will regularly try to climb on us and has (rarely) growled if we push him down.
He whines constantly between walks and I often think he doesn't like me much but I'm sure that's irrational! He loves my DH
What can I do to improve his life? Might evening classes help? A "job"? (He is a scenthound)
Is there anything we can do about his bed wetting or will that improve once we've helped him feel happier?
Obviously we do still stroke him everyday! He's not starved of physical affection, I just wanted to describe the kind of dog he is
A dog trainer came out and said he was a nervous type common for his breed
I would getting him vet checked first off
Dog and toddler are always supervised and I try and discourage them playing near each other but both gravitate to same areas and dog often wants what toddler has
Yes, forgot to say he's booked in to vet re bed wetting though I don't think it is medical
He was seen recently in general for vaccinations and vet commented positively on his overall condition
I agree, vets first- there could be anything going on that is making him feel poorly. I know when my dog is unwell because he goes very quiet and sleepy and uninterested in things.
After that, maybe he needs more entertainment? I don't know anything about scent hounds but I've heard that working dogs do need a job to do and they can get bored because they are so clever. Vet might be able to advise, or a breed specific website or Facebook group?
I also wonder whether you're tiring him out enough every day. If he's tired he should be easier to entertain later. Two walks sounds brilliant but if you are taking your little one are they on-lead walks? Is he getting the opportunity to have a really good romp around? If you can't provide that then a dog walker once or twice a week for a group dog walk is brilliant for entertaining and tiring out dogs, they all go out in their doggy gang and play and run around like mad things for an hour.
R.e. attention and stroking, can you give him tonnes of fuss and then when you're done teach him 'no!' or 'leave it!' if he tries to be persistent, so he has a clear queue for when fuss time is over?
I don't have any advice but just wanted to say you sound like a very sensible, kind and considerate dog owner (and mum!)
That's a good idea re the cue. I don't think we're consistent enough with him
Also a good idea re pack walks - he loves staying with his pet sitter. I wonder if there's some I could also do myself. He is off lead in a giant forest so loads of space to run (and he does)
I do think it's the entertainment maybe. I'll find a breed specific group. Perhaps he could sniff out items in the home?! Or is that too arbitrary?
I know I say this on pretty much every thread but invest in feeder toys to make lunch time more interesting and last longer.
Lickimats and kongs stuffed with a mix of wet and dry food, then frozen to make them last longer. A kong wobbler should keep him occupied for a while. Snuffle mats. Wrap kibble in a towel.
Run a scent around the garden (a sardine for example or tuna juice) and watch him go mad.
Join the fb group 'canine enrichment' which has hundreds or ways to make a dog happier in the house
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