Friday, October 14, 2011

my dog has issues

you already know about his separation anxiety. i posted a lot about it in the early days of this blog.

and you recently heard all about his leash pulling and his lunacy around dogs on our walks, which i learned was something called leash reactivity thanks to all you fine folks.

i'm sure i've mentioned before that desmond's a whiner. we like to joke that he has a lot on his mind or is desperately trying to tell us some crucial information (the location of some buried treasure, perhaps).

what? it's possible. (image and a variety of cute pirate-themed doggie shirts from Zazzle)

his whining is almost always for attention--or because he's lost hold of his ball and it's rolled a mere 4 inches away--but it's also to alert us when he needs to go potty in between walks; so, while we are trying to ignore him to make it all stop, we also have to pay enough attention to make sure he's not suffering through digestive discomfort.

we've discussed training him to ring a bell when he wants to go outside, so that we can eliminate the issue of "sometimes his whining really means something." we'll likely be adding this to our list of issues to train him through--once we can figure out what kind of bell we can hang that he'll understand how to use but not play with/eat.

this is what i have in mind, because i really don't want to hear bells ringing every time the door opens. and, no, desmond will not be donning any jingle bells this christmas. i'd go nuts. (image from Tell Bell)

well, guess what else he whines about? wanting to sleep in our bed. we think...

he whines at night, sometimes all night long. lately, we've been getting him some more exercise and his whining has been less frequent, but we have absolutely been through nights where he has whined literally for two hours straight (while we ignored him) or literally would wake up every two hours to whine (we'd offer attention each time to see if he was OK or re-tuck him in because we had learned that would shut him up for a while). yes, we know that paying attention to him when he whines is very very bad. he often whines right in my ear. this is extremely hard to ignore for an extended period of time. he does not give up or get tired.

we do, though. we're tired. really really tired. i need my eight hours of sleep--or i wouldn't be going to bed at 9PM (for a 5AM alarm) like the very lame 30-year-old that i am. every moment lost to desmond's whining feels like an hour. i can't remember the last time we weren't exhausted. guess we're well prepared for a future baby.

our desperation led me to contact Carrie at All Things Dog Blog with a plea to get me in touch with the trainer behind her Ask the Dog Trainer column, Michael Baugh. Carrie and Michael both graciously agreed to listen to my very long story over multiple emails, and Michael's presented me with some solutions.

please head over to Carrie's blog now to check out our whole story and what Michael recommended. i'm also happily accepting any and all input, so feel free to comment or send me vouchers for free sleeping pills so it's easier for me to ignore the whining!

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