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Hi Y'All:

Our shepherd, Cruiser, has been different since Dad got sick. He was always so easy-going but now he is whiny, growly and sticks to me like glue most of the time. Other times he runs into Dad�s room (used to be off-limits) and sleeps. He did a lot of that when Dad was bedridden � broke all the rules.

Part of the problem is that he has been provoking the other dogs. He growls at them occasionally and seems to be trying to prove his Alpha state (or start a fight). I think maybe he considered himself to be Dad�s dog and now is kind of lost� I am hoping this doesn�t go on forever because I miss my old easy-going doggy. Anybody ever experience anything like this or have any ideas?

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Hi, Glenda.

We watch the Dog Whisperer show on National Geographic channel. They have had a few shows where a human will have died or been very ill, or a dominant dog passed. Cesar Milan will go in and say the dog wants a pack leader (calm assertive attitude - not angry or upset), and in the absence of that will display different unwanted behaviors. Since you've been in a weakened state (grief), he may sense a void. Was your Dad his pack leader? In a human-run home, it should be the humans.

One of the no-no's I'm guilty of is giving affection when our Jackpot is not in a calm state. Apparently that reinforces the behavior (whining). I've said for years she has me well trained. LOL!

Nanc or Mimi or one of the other dog-savvy folks could probably be more help.

Hi Glenda: I've seen this with the passing of sister-in-law and other loved ones. The little poodle was so sad to watch, and even when my Mom passed - my Dad had a Westie, and a poodle --- both laid around for days. One option we took was putting the guys into a different environment "with children" for a while, and it helped them immensely. My Mom's Westie took to me to hold him almost all the time --- became a lap dog --- and I could tell he was afraid. He would lay at the door of the bathroom peaking under the cracks - and follow me all over. It seemed that when he was put into an environment where there was "lots going on" and not complete silence --- he started getting better. God Bless You --- I've thought of you so often, and pray day you're getting better. Dealing with lots now --- Dad is declining day by day ---- and God has been so good in pulling me up! Hang in there!
Love & Prayers ....... Vickie
Dear Glenda,
It's difficult enough to go through the grieving process yourself and now you have to be concerned about others too...your fur-family, poor souls.

I think Barb hit the nail right on the head. I too watch "The Dog Whisperer" - in fact, just started watching and just last week, Nat'l Geo. had a marathon of his shows at night, so I think I must have caught up on the past few seasons,

Dogs are pack animals and will always look to the alpha of their pack. If your dad was your shephard's pack leader, then he probably is going through some turmoil in addition to his loss. Years ago, when I had my first two dogs, both Golden Retrievers, Chivas and Soda (yes, I loved scotch and worked for the company at the time)...when we had to put down Chivas, my little Soda slept in my closet for two weeks. I think she was just feeling so insecure without her bro and grieving his loss too. Let's face it, animals have emotions too; it's just they express them in different ways.

Glenda, I know of an awesome animal behaviorist that actually trains in Illinois - northern burbs of Chicago, but if you want to email me directly and give me a little more information, I could pass it on to him and possibly get you some advice. We trained privately with him for a while when we were having some problems with one of our dogs...dominant aggression, and he is the next best thing to the Dog Whisperer...maybe even as good or a bit better. His real expertise is with northern breeds - Huskies and Malamutes, which are the most stubborn and you should see him work them...and it's all positive reinforcement. Anyway, I rambled too much here... Glenda, I do feel for you. You've been through so much and now you are trying to heal. That may be part of his issues too. Dogs do sense our "energy" and your grief could be upsetting to him too. I wish you well, angel,
Warm regards,
Hello Glenda,

I think all the information given to you by the ladies is wonderful... what comes to mind for me are several things:

-animals are very psychic.. and protective... so he can also be protecting you.. but he may also be picking up at times on your dad's presence even if you aren't.

-He might still be traumatized over the loss.. you could go into a health food store and ask for some rescue remedy... dilute it in spring water.. you can put a few drops into his front paws in between where the claws meet the padding of the paw and rub it in gently with loving thoughts.. you can also do the same on the inside tip of his ear.. being careful not to let the drops go down into his ear.. also you can put some drops into his water... this is an excellent healing remedy for animals as well as humans in times of stress and emotional upheaval, etc.

You can pick up a small pamphlet or search online for Bach Flower Remedies. They will list the remedies with some emotional characteristics. If you scroll to the middle page of this link you will find what I am talking about.

making a tincture to give him out of the ones that appear to resonate what you are observing with him can help dramatically.. these are flower essences and are not harmful.

-lastly, I would encourage you to talk out loud to your dog picturing images of what you are speaking about as you would to help any one here at the boards, reassuring him of your love, and that you dad is ok... and that you would both heal from your grief in your own ways... and let him know you are tuned into him and will work to help balance him as well. I know you understand this....don't stay focused on the outer appearance... allow yourself to tune in...

keep us posted angel....gail
I do believe animals can feel on another level than we think they can.

We had a wild bird hit the window, it was so sad. Hubby and I buried him and we could hear the birds in the forest doing a long warning call, sort of goodbye it seems.

My first dog was from a neighbor that passed away, she was in mourning for her master. She was such a sweet old dog, 20 years when we got her .

Now that I think about it, it was funny because she had Doggy Dementia. (who knew I'd end up a caregiver LOL) She was wacky but always a loving dog.

Dear Friends:

I am reading and re-reading your great postings... It is reassuring. I confess I had to laugh at some of your doggy stories. They hit home!

Barb and Mimi - I have never seen the Dog Whisperer show. I will have to look for it. Mimi, love the names! I am thinking Capt'n Morgan and Cola myself - LOL. And you do have a point about Cruiser picking up on my grief. Dad was definitely the pack leader around here... Now, I guess it is my turn!

Vickie, I had to laugh about the dog peeking under the cracks of the bathroom door. That story sounds too familiar or else they will just barge in if I don't shut it tightly. BTW, I am sorry to hear about your Dad's declining health. Hang in there, dear heart, and know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Gail, you come up with the most unique cures! I will have to check with our health food store around here for Rescue Remedy. I think I will be careful with the ears and stick to the paws on that one or put it in the water for all the animals including the human ones to drink... Also, it never dawned on me that he could be picking up on Dad's presence... Thank you for the suggestion of talking to him. I have been letting him know that Dad is okay and that we all miss him... He now comes to my room at night and visits a bit before lights out around here.

Kat, enjoyed your bird story. That was so sensitive of you and Hubby. BTW, I am with Mimi that it sounds like some kind of record. But I do know smaller dogs do live longer that the larger breeds. My last shepherd lived to 14. Cruiser is only about six now.

I am mulling over all your wonderful thoughts and ideas. I just never expected this to be the case... My most easy-going fur baby to be so distraught and carrying on so. I expected Dad's cat to be the major concern after all...

Love and Hugs from Glenda
What is interesting about Dad and the Dog is that we got Cruiser a month before Dad had his stroke on Christmas Day. Dad hardly had time to get to know Cruiser because he wouldn't allow dogs upstairs and that was where Dad was all the time. Dad never fed him either and only petted him once or twice it seems. So what we did when we got Cruiser was get a dog trainer out and an electric fence so Cruiser could be outside all the time.

Then, that is when Dad came home on hospice after being in the hospital for three months the first time in 2003. So, needless to say, the dog training went on the back burner... But, I think, even though Cruiser hardly ever got to see Dad, he was still somehow Dad's dog. I don't think I realized that. But, on the other hand, when Dad would catch him sneaking upstairs Dad had the bigger bark. He would laugh as Cruiser turned tail and ran... How I miss those days...

So, I guess I am rambling on some more and trying to understand the whole thing still. I can see from all your postings that I have to be strong here or we will have Glenda well-trained pretty soon. Aaaccccccckkk! He is such a strong willed teenager...

Love and Hugs from Glenda

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