Four Feet and Food

A blog about life and training with dogs


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Chile’s World 7.29.19

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Hi Friends, Chile here again.  I’ve been thinking more about my complaint from last week.  I understand now why my mom needs to tell other humans about what we went through with my separation anxiety so they can better help their dogs.  But, as the canine side of the equation, I feel like I should also tell the story from my point of view.  I have to warn you it may be a bit difficult to read.  I struggled a lot with the gremlins that came over me when I was alone and really bad things happened. Don’t worry, I’m still here to tell you about it and I DID get better.  So there is a happy ending.  But there is a lot to tell and I can’t do it in just one post.

CRATE EXPECTATIONS

Going all the way back to the beginning, more than 16 years ago, I would say that I always had some trouble being left alone.  It’s strange to say but there really was no reason that we knew of it was just the way things were.  My mom loved me, of course, and let me sleep on her bed and did all the things humans should do with their dogs.  Her love did not cause my problem.    In every other respect, I was a normal, outgoing, and extremely confident puppy.  I feel I should also mention I was absolutely adorable, even back then. When I was very young, mom started to train me to be comfortable in my crate.  She wasn’t a professional trainer yet.  That came later after everything we went through together. But she had read lots of books and things on the internet saying it was good to crate train your puppy. I learned to like being in there and could sleep there through the night until she took me out in the morning.  I could also be in there while she was home.  Although I thought that was kind of weird because why wouldn’t I just be in her lap? Humans do strange things though and I just let that one go. But when she would leave me in my crate all alone in the house that was when the bad things happened. When my mom would get home she would often find my blankets and me drenched in drool (and I am NOT a drooling dog!) Sometimes I even had accidents in the crate even though I always went to the bathroom outside when she was home.  One day I got so scared and panicked when she was gone that I ripped out two of the bars on the metal crate and squeezed my body through the tiny opening.  My mom and dad were so confused when I met them at the front door when they got home.  They couldn’t figure out how I had gotten out because the crate door was still closed.  Then my dad found the two bars inside the crate.  At the same time my mom picked me up and I screamed because I had bruised my ribs while getting out (and cracked a few teeth).  She cried a lot that night because she thought it was her fault. I licked her face so that she would know it wasn’t her fault and it wasn’t mine either.  It was the gremlins.

THE LAUNDRY ROOM MASSACRE

After that, they tried leaving me alone without the crate.  They made a safe place for me in the laundry room with my bed, toys, water bowl, and some treats.  My mom knew I wouldn’t like the door being closed so she put a baby gate there instead.  It was a nice gesture and a comfortable space. UNTIL they left me there by myself.  Again, I met them at the front door when they got home. I was running around panicked and there was blood EVERYWHERE.  My mom tried to check me to make sure I was ok and then my dad found out what happened.  While scaling the baby gate to get out of the laundry room, I had caught the toenail on my back paw and yanked it out completely. It was painful but, again, when the gremlins took over I had no control over what I was doing.  Thankfully I was ok and the wound where my nail was healed quickly.

STOP THE PANIC

That terrible incident helped my mom finally realize that we needed to resolve this issue and that, in the meantime, I could not be left alone.  She was a little slow to come to that conclusion but don’t hold it against her—she is only human.  I’ll have to stop this story right here for now because it’s almost time for my dinner and if I don’t start barking fifteen minutes beforehand they might serve it late.  But I will leave you with this, friends: from the moment my mom decided that I could not be left alone until I was comfortable, my whole life (and hers) changed for the better.  You’ll start to learn more about our journey to recovery in my next post!

 


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Chile’s World 07.24.19

Hi Friends, Chile here, and I have another complaint today.  It’s about my mom’s job.  Don’t get me wrong, I know she’s doing good work and helping dogs with separation anxiety and their humans all over the world. The job itself is not my issue.  You see, while she’s “working” she talks about ME– a lot! I’m ok with that part too.  Why wouldn’t she talk about me?  After all, I am fabulous and the most important thing in the world to her.  BUT why does she always have to talk about problems from my past?

Day in and day out I have to listen to her talking to people on the phone or on the computer about all the things that used to happen when I was left alone. It’s like she forgets that I’m a completely different dog than I was back then. She knows that I can completely relax on my own when she leaves now (she thinks I don’t know about the camera on the fireplace…but, of course, I know). She says that she tells people about how anxious I used to be because they have dogs that feel that way too and it gives them encouragement that their dogs can learn to feel more comfortable alone just like I did. She also tells me that I’m still the worst separation anxiety case she’s ever seen and that if I could get better there is great hope for any other dog. I think that’s a little rude but I’m sure she doesn’t mean it to sound that way. Did I mention I’m the most important thing to her?

It’s true that I used to panic as soon as she left my sight. I don’t know why; it just happened. It’s like a little gremlin took over and I was no longer in control of the things I did or what happened to me. I know it was very upsetting for my mom (and later my dad too when he came into the picture) but to her credit, she never yelled at me or punished me no matter what happened while she was gone because she knew it wasn’t my fault. I hear her tell this to the people on the computer too. So hopefully that helps them understand that it’s not their dogs’ fault and that they should never reprimand their dog for what the gremlins made them do while they were alone.

Ok, I guess it makes sense that she has to talk about my history and the embarrassing things that happened to help other dogs and their people. I just wish she would also talk about all the great things I’ve done, and how pretty and smart I am. Does she tell them about how I went to college too? She claims that she took me to classes with her because I couldn’t be alone but I know she needed me there to help her study. I also went to college parties. Oh, the stories that I could tell! But I won’t do that to my mom. I won’t tell stories about her past. But she should talk a little bit more about how I’m the best dog in the world.