I have this incredibly sweet puppy…Cobbler. Only she’s not so much of a puppy anymore. She’s six and a half and her all-black chin gets whiter by the month. First it was a sprinkle, so fine it was difficult to tell if there was really anything there, but over the last year, the white has gotten more prominent. You can still miss it…if you’re trying hard to. But my puppy, who is a lab-mix, isn’t much of a puppy anymore.
She’s still my baby, though. Now…my poor Cobbie doggie suffers from anxiety. I’m not sure when it started but I have always known that if she is not with her people–which let’s be honest here: I’m no longer her people. That’s all Sweet Husband–she’s going to start in on self-harming behavior (like licking her law until it’s infected and swollen) or she will begin forgetting that she’s housebroken. It is what it is; she’s a puppy and she can’t figure any other way to communicate with us what she needs. It’s frustrating, sure, but generally, if we pay attention, we can stop those anxiety-produced behaviors before they become habits.
Cobbie doggie is also scared of loud noises. Thunderstorms, gunshots, fireworks, yelling. Things get loud and my dear puppy begins the shake and whimper. I finally convinced the Sweet Husband to let me buy Cob a Thundershirt. It’s been the best $40 I’ve spent in a long time. Cobbie is a different dog in her shirt when those stressors are present.
All of that to tell you that some thing terrible has happened to my baby. 🙁 It had to have been on or right before the Fourth because since that time…there has been accident after accident in the house and we can’t get her to do her business in the backyard. She starts shaking when she goes back there. If she’s on her leash or free in the front yard, she’s fine. Backyard it and she’s a wreck. This afternoon, we were in the backyard and I waited her out. She finally squatted and when she was done, I gave her a cookie, trying to positively reinforce the desired behavior. She took it and spit it out. Got her into the side yard where she was happy to do her business and when rewarded, she readily took the same cookie.
Something bad happened in the backyard, and I don’t know what it was. I do know that I have to be patient with her as we get her through this. I can clean up the pee and the poo (rolled the new rug back up until this is past); she can’t help it. When I went back to work this afternoon, Sweet Husband put her Thundershirt on her. When I got home four hours later, no accidents. So I think puppy gets to wear her suit while we are away.
I’m so sad that my sweet doggie is suffering. I want to know what happened so I can protect her from a recurrence, and I want to know what to do to help her through this. I hate feeling like there’s nothing I can do to make her more comfortable. She deserves that from me.