I figured after my post about Gibson taking Hollywood by storm, someone out there might be curious as to how our scared pup has been doing since our dog trainer called her a “very, very unhappy dog”.
I’ve come to terms with a few things since writing about how disappointing it is to hear a professional trainer tell you that your dog needs drugs.
First thing I’ve learned? Get a second, third, even a fourth opinion. Gibson is not really THAT unhappy. Yes, she’s fearful of certain situations and people, and yes she’s anxious and deals with it in a way we need to remedy, but most of the time she’s as happy as a clam.
Second – Dogs bark. They just do. They bark at mailmen and strangers and when the doorbell rings. Gibson has a loud bark, which is unfortunate for our neighbors and the mailman, but someone in the building next door to us has a chihuahua that I hear yapping at 1AM when I take Gibson out after work. Gibson only barks when she thinks there’s trouble.
One morning a man wandered out of one of the nearby hospitals and onto our back patio and she was driving me crazy at 6AM with her growling and barking. But when I heard later that day that he tried to get into our neighbor’s apartment and she called the cops, I gave Gibson a big hug and probably a treat or two. No crazy man’s gonna try and break in this apartment…
And third – A lot of people’s dogs have problems. They just aren’t the ones that you see laying quietly under their owners chairs at coffee shops or going on nice peaceful walks down by the ocean. I got so much feedback after writing that post from friends all over who’s dogs just needed a little something extra to live peacefully or other ways they’ve dealt with behavioral problems. I got positive encouragement from people for all the hard work and patience we’ve already put into Gibson as well as for al the patience and hard work there will be to come. It was just the push forward that I needed to stop feeling bummed and start doing something.
We actually didn’t ever end up going to our vet appointment because of the feedback we got from that post. One of Brad’s good friends from home saw it and contacted us immediately. Working with Kara, we are doing a few new things to calm Gibson’s nerves.
Gibson now gets 2 herbal pills 3 times a day to help her relax a little.
She wears her Thundershirt in stressful situations. I think she looks like a superhero with it on.
She only gets toys that exercise her brain. She’s too smart for her own good.
She gets a lot of exercise, which is a bonus because it means I do, too.
She has a nice soft mat to lay on in a safe and quiet place that is only for her.
And she only gets introduced to new people at the apartment after everyone has settled in.
She’s already doing really well on our runs and especially on our hike the other day, and Brad and I are noticing small changes in her behavior around the house. We are so lucky to have an on-call vet who reads our Facebook updates and blog posts to get us on the right path.
And I just realized how many pictures I take of the pooch. She’s a good-looking dog!
I’ll keep you updated!