Tuesday, May 15, 2012

sad doggy

So, we expect that Bailey is still in her adjustment phase, given that we only got her a couple of days ago.  Considering that, she's been angelically good.  A friend and I took her jogging last night, and for the last half mile, we let her off the leash (after she started chewing on it and I was afraid she was exhausted and was only being dragged along).  She was not exhausted - she has much more energy than I do - but she cooperated fine; she sniffed more things, but she came when we called her, and marched right into our yard when we came up to the house. 

Sunday night, we had our parish priest and another friend over for dinner.  She was banished to the back porch (it's a glassed-in area about 7 feet by 15 or so, and her water and her crate are out there, and the temperature was very mild - we're not trying to torture the dog), because I was convinced she would beg during dinner.  (She was allowed to socialize until we sat down to eat.)  At some point my DH decided to let her in, and she didn't beg for food at all.  She did bump everyone's knees to get them to pet her, but then settled down quietly on the rug next to the table to rest while we talked.  She just wants to be near the people. 

Which leads to the problem.  She doesn't necessarily need us to pet her or throw things for her or keep her entertained every minute.  But she wants to be around us.  (Which is really endearing.)  We just learned her prior owners let her sleep in their room at night.  That was definitely not part of our plan.  We put her on the above-described porch (with the light on, and a nice blanket and pillow - circumstances we thought would be in no way cruel) for the night the second night we had her, and she really did a number on the door (and doorjamb) with her claws.  I later realized she had also put big tooth-marks in a steel doorknob.  She does not like the porch.  (Even though she inhales her food, the next day she would only eat a mouthful of it at a time and then run back inside - her food bowl is on the porch - apparently for fear I was deviously planning to shut her out there again.  Good grief!) 

We also both work during the day.  We feed her in the morning before we leave, and take her on a brief walk to go to the bathroom, and then she gets more exercise in the evening when we're home.  She was fed twice a day in her previous home, too.  She doesn't chew shoes or pee on the floor, so in that sense she's fine to leave home alone during the day (unfortunately, today is the second day she's shut in our bedroom, because the plumbers are supposedly finishing the bathroom TODAY and I don't want her to bother them; from here on out, she'll have the run of the house).  But from her subjective doggy point of view, she is being abandoned at night (rather than being allowed to sleep in the room where the people are sleeping), and then abandoned all day (that part is more literally true). 

I didn't realize she would care that much where she slept, as long as she had someplace comfortable.  (Last night we tried blocking the stairs and giving her the run of the downstairs, so she was not imprisoned on the hated porch, just prevented from sleeping in our room.  She whined piteously and periodically barked, so my DH couldn't sleep, so back on the porch she went.  But I'm not interested in waiting until she claws through the door, so if she can't adjust tonight, she is going in her crate - which she really can't stand, but the clawing has got to stop.)  I have no desire to torture the poor dog, and I hate to see her so sad.  But we can't have her clawing the door to death, and we don't want her sleeping every night in our room.  Is this just one of those "can't teach an old dog new tricks" things?  Is she ruined for life now that she got to sleep in her owners' room for years? 

I guess it's a good thing we don't have any kids to ruin. 


  1. Poor Bailey! I think she's just trying to get used to things, but yes, it's hard to go from sleeping in the same room as people to being by herself. Is there a reason why you don't want her in your room at night? Just curious - it may make her feel much better to have a place to sleep near you...

  2. I swore when we got our first dog that she would sleep in the kitchen. That lasted 2 nights. We now have 2 pups in our room every night. They each sleep in their own kennel/crate and also spend the days while we are at work in their kennel/crate as well.

    They both happily crawl into bed with whoever goes first and snuggle or sleep at the foot of the bed until the second human comes in, then they both willingly get up and go into their crates for the night. We have taught them both that "go to sleep" means be quiet and stay in your crate (one will even close her eyes when we say it - it's hilarious) and they don't dictate when we get up in the morning. That has also helped because on the rare occassion one of them wakes us up in the middle of the night to go outside, we know it's a legitimate need and not just an "I wanna stretch my legs."

    So, my point is, the dog in the room isn't that bad (if they are in a kennel or stay on their bed) and they can be trained well to not interfere with your sleep.

    I think this might be my first comment on your blog - I've been lurking for a while :), but I can't resist a good puppy post!

  3. What you CAN do is give her Benadryl at bedtime (or the generic version there-of..I buy a generic brand of allergy tabs - diphenhydramine...just make sure that's the only active ingredient). It'll take the anxiety out of the situation for her until she realizes that it's not a bad thing and she's not being abandoned FOREVER. 25mg per 25 pounds of doggie. For our doggies, we grab the butt end of the bread loaf, smear lightly with peanut butter, dab in the pills (get the ones that are just pills, not the plasticy-capsules) and ball up for a treat. She'll be snoozing in no time. Spend some time petting her and soothing her as it takes effect and she'll be fine, I suspect.

    Once in a blue moon, a doggie responds opposite to that and gets a little wired, but I'd say it's rare enough it's a safe bet and can't be worse that what you're already experiencing! If you do that a few nights, she might just learn it's a-ok and then you can wean her off.

  4. I would say that if she's used to sleeping in the bedroom, that preference will be pretty hard to change. Maybe not impossible, but probably pretty difficult.
    I warned my sister about letting her dog sleep with her (in bed, no less), because eventually she'd be married and possibly her husband wouldn't want a smelly dog in their bed, but she did it anyway. Our doggy used to sleep in his crate, but now he sleeps on the couch or a dog bed downstairs. Occasionally, and before we installed the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs, he'd sleep on the upstairs landing outside our room.
    Hope you can figure out a good solution - sounds like a tough one to crack!

  5. I am no help here...our two giant labs sleep not only in our room but in our beds with us. And not at our feet, but stretched out beside us, heads on pillows and all. I know you don't mean to be cruel, but dogs really are very social animals. They live and sleep in packs. Your pup does not understand being separated from you. I get not wanting him in the room, but I am a human. :-)

  6. haha we once (I actually just went to spell once wonce. There is something wrong with me) tried to have Moo sleep in the laundry as I was sick and tired of having fight for some blankets in the middle of the night while the dog and Lex were snuggled up warm and tight.

    It lasted all of 10 minutes when I couldn't put up with his pitiful crying anymore.

    Sass= sucker.

    I'm so glad that she doesn't beg for food though!


  7. No, you definitely didn't ruin her!! That adjustment phase is just tough and takes time. Rocky was used to sleeping in his previous owner's bed and that DEFINITELY does not happen at our house! It does just take awhile for them to get adjusted to a new routine. I'd say you are doing just fine.

  8. Is it a non-negotiable, the no dog in bedroom rule, or is it just an "ideally..."? Cuz she sounds like the kind of dog I would't mind bending the rules for ;)
    (For my Cooper, on the other hand, who is a freaking spazz (mostly our fault, but partly cuz he's just a big a-hole), I would not bend the bedroom rule.)

  9. Poor doggie! The thing is, if the dog is properly crate trained, they will WANT to sleep in his/her crate. I think it would be an excellent step to get a trainer to help you crate train Bailey if she's going to have to spend time in there. Otherwise it is going to be torture for her to be crated. Once she's trained, maybe you'd be more comfortable having her sleep in your room as long as she sleeps in her crate? We have three dogs. Two were rescued as a pair so they were content to sleep in the kitchen together. The other one was allowed to sleep on her previous owner's pillow. We didn't want her actually in the bed (for a couple reasons), so we compromised and let her sleep on her own bed on the floor. I've never had the heart for hard core training in the first couple weeks a dog comes into the house. I slept downstairs the first couple nights with the pair of dogs until they settled in. Then we made the transition to them sleeping downstairs alone. Maybe that's another option for you. Good luck with your sweet dog :-)

  10. I would agree that if she has always slept with "her people", it might be pretty tough for her to now be in a completely new house with no one around her at night. I would agree with several of the people above to try to put her crate in your room. When we first got our dogs, they slept in their crates (doors latched), but once we were confident that they wouldn't wake up and go nuts, we let them sleep where they want to, with the huge exception that they are NOT allowed in our bed (they don't even try). One of our pups sleeps next to our bed, and the other one sleeps downstairs on the couch (what a life!). We try to foster the idea that their crate is a happy, safe place to be, and both their crates are in my office now, and we leave the doors open so they can go in and take naps as they please. When we are not home, one of our dogs has to be latched in her crate, but the other one has proven to be trustworthy to not destroy stuff.

    There is definitely an adjustment period when you bring home a new (to you) pup, but hang in there! Having rescue dogs has been awesome for us :)