Seriously, I thought I was a pretty good leader to Chewy before this Coronavirus craziness had us both cooped up in the house for days. I’d get up in the morning, feed him and throw the ball once or twice. Then I’d go out and do errands or see people. On every return, he’d greet me with great excitement and bring me the ball to throw again. We had our evening cuddles on the couch with dinner. My food first, because he won’t eat kibble until he knows he’s not getting any of mine. And at dark, he’d go to sleep away from the TV, in the other room, until I prepared for bed myself and brought him into the bedroom. Then he’d obediently settle down in his little bed while I read and finally turned out the light.
All of that was great, but now he is my constant companion. I make sure to take him out every afternoon for a walk. But he seems to increasingly need to stop and sniff every plant and tree and fire hydrant. I flip between letting him do what he wants and going into my training routine: “With me,” and “release”. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t, but training mode spoils the walk for me. I’d rather let my mind open to the sounds and smells around me and just enjoy it.
I talk to Chewy more than usual. Often I demand, with irritation, “What?” when he barks or growls at me. Most times, I can’t figure out what he wants, unless it’s food. He goes out through his doggie door, but instead of coming back in unannounced, he stands on the deck and barks until I come into the room. He thinks he’s going to get a treat when he comes back in. This has happened thousands of times and continues, even though I NEVER give him a treat just for coming into the house after barking.
I’ve had to get out the citronella no-bark collar. He still quiets down when I show it to him, but the citronella insertion point seems to be plugged up because it no longer works when we’re out walking.
I think Chewy’s problem is he thinks whoever happens to be in the house has the job of entertaining him. And now I’m here all day long. He’s either bringing me the ball, demanding to get up on my lap while I’m at the computer, or barking at the front door, where there is nobody. Then there’s Zoom. Hard to have a meeting with a growling, barking dog underfoot. I’m somewhat anxious and depressed. Maybe he is too? Perhaps I should get out the Thunder Vest. Or the anti-anxiety meds I got him for the drive to Montana. Or maybe I’m the one who should be taking something to perk up!