Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be?

I have had a rather stressful week with Jake. Basically, he's turned into a psycho monster who lunges and bites and growls if we bend over him or look at him the wrong way. Why? I think it's because my daughter took him on a walk with her friend and her friend's dog. Her friend's dog has dominance aggression; Jake has fear aggression. The two don't match and they had a vicious fight. I think Jake was bitten on the front paws. Over the next few days he seemed subdued, as he was before his surgeries on his hips. Finally, hubby took him to the vet for antibiotics. To say Jake was unhappy at the vet's doesn't even start to describe the scene. The vet said his behaviour has deteriorated greatly since she last saw him and she left hubby with the impression that the only recourse will be euthanasia.

That was on Friday. On Saturday morning, hubby tried to put Jake's halter on him. Normally, Jake is very excited about having the halter put on him because it means he's going on a walk. This time he wouldn't let hubby or me get near enough to hook it on. Then he went after hubby and bit him on the calf. I took the halter off, and he didn't get to go for a walk that day. On Sunday he seemed more himself, but still growled several times in the day at us if we got too near him. I'd worked in the garden all day and Jake had been out enjoying the sunshine. Around 5 p.m. I was finishing up and he came up to me. I was stroking him and must have leaned forward. He went for me and bit me on the thigh. I burst into tears. Hubby thought it was because I was frightened. It wasn't. It was because I realised the vet might be right.

Yesterday he didn't bite anyone but did growl a few times if we approached him the wrong way. He tried to bite hubby after a walk when hubby leaned forward to get his keys out to open the door.

Today he's more his old self but we are being very cautious around him. Hubby and I are both scared of him now. Daughter is absolutely distraught over the whole scenario. So am I. But I can't have a dog who is unpredictable and bites. I understand that the dogfight spooked him and the trip to the vet spooked him even more. I don't know what to do. We see the animal behaviourist's trainer tomorrow. Maybe she will have some answers.

On to a less depressing subject: I've been tagged by Not Waving But Drowning. So here it is.
1. What are your current obsessions?
Puzzles. Namely, Sudoku and Scramble and Pathwords on Facebook. I can spend hours doing them. They take my mind off other stressful matters in my life.

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
Jeans (and bras and underpants of course)

3. Last dream you had?
Should I say? It was a rather naughty one about my neighbour, whom I don't fancy in the slightest.

4. Last thing you bought?
I bought a lot of food yesterday, which my children promptly consumed. Before that I bought some shoes and a handbag.

5. What are you listening to?
Birds in my garden. God know why they keep coming back, what with the cats and the dog.

6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be?
I always fancied being either Athena or Aphrodite. I love the sound of Aphrodite's name and the idea that she sailed in on a huge shell. But Athena's pretty smart and cool. Or maybe Artemis. Can't make up my mind.

7. Favourite holiday spots?
We always go to the same places in summer -- Wyoming and Florida -- the downside of being an ex-pat. However, there are some quite nice places in and near Wyoming and Florida.

8. Reading right now?
Barack Obama's books. He is so sensible and knowledgeable.

9. Four words to describe yourself.
At the moment? Depressed, downhearted, dispirited, despondent. What I hope to be? Happy, sparkly, confident, optimistic.

10. Guilty pleasure?
An entire day to myself to do with as I please with no regard for what anyone else wants or thinks.

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak?
My son and my daughter at times. My son figured out long ago that if he could make me laugh he wouldn't get in as much trouble.

12. Favourite spring thing to do?

13. Planning to travel to next?
Wyoming and Florida.

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately?
Carrot cake I made on Sunday to distract me from the dog dilemma.

15. When did you last get tipsy?
Saturday when I was at the Frenemies. Have to drink to tolerate them.

16. Favourite ever film?
"It's a Wonderful Life." I know almost all the dialogue.

17. Care to share some wisdom?
The wheel turns. Life might suck at the moment, but it moves on so hang in there.

18. Song you can't get out of your head?
"And I'm Feeling Good" by Nina Simone.

19. Thing you are looking forward to?
Hopefully, one day, buying a business and working again and having an income again and having hubby get out of his depression so I can get out of mine.

20 If money were no object, where would you choose to live?
Somewhere where I don't have to wear a coat in May.

I need to tag eight more people. Sorry, guys.

crystal jigsaw
pantheist mom


Kaycie said...

So sorry for all the trouble with Jake. I hope the animal behaviorist has some idea of what to do with him.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I do not think all is lost and I suspect you nailed it with the assumption it has to do with the dog fight. Good natured dogs do not turn bad and stay bad - unless there is something inside really hurting them - and youve already had that checked. I think some obedience/behaviourla training is the right thing for him. It's expensive, but it's worth doing. Hang in there. You'll get your old Jake back.

Aoj and The Hounds said...

I know you have a trainer but if it's any help, we use a guy called Jim Greenwood with some of our worst-case rescue dogs and many times his advise has saved them from euthansia. If you want his contact details, drop me an e-mail.

Fred said...

Sorry about Jake. Let's hope the old Jake surfaces after a few sessions with the obedience training.

I love It's a Wonderful Life, too. My other favorite is Casblanca.

Flowerpot said...

I am so so sorry about Jake though it does sound like it's the dog fight that caused this. I agree with Dave - behavioural training sounds the answer. Putting him down would be too awful for words.

J said...

I'm so sorry for what is going on with Jake. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it better.

(I did the meme by the way.)

Expat mum said...

Aww, poor dog and poor you! It'd be interesting to know exactly what was going on though wouldn't it?

MBNAD woman said...

Poor you, poor Jake. There's not a lot more I can say. I know you won't give up on him easily after everything you've been through to make sure he's healthy.

Pantheist Mom said...

Same comments as J. I hate that you're having to struggle with this problem with your Jake.

And I did the meme on my blog.

Hang in there. You are not ignoring the problem - you are tackling it. That's all you can do. Wish I had a magic wand to fix it all for you. :-(

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Hey, everyone, thank you for the commiserations. The trainer came to our house and recommended a few things. What I thought was calming him down was actually reinforcing the fearful behaviour. He needs his space, and he's getting it. And he's been saved from death row for now.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say about Jake, it's such a shame. Obviously something has spooked him. I do hope it works out for the best whatever you decide.

CJ xx

Fire Byrd said...

Poor Jake, and poor you, sounds horrible for all. Do hope since you wrote this that he's continued to calm down.

Thanks for the tag, but I've already down this one after being tagged four times to do it!!!

Snowbrush said...

I was glad to learn that Jake wasn't your husband. Of course, the story would have been more interesting if he were. Now, I don't mean it wasn't interesting, just that it would have been even more interesting.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

CJ: Thank you. Things are looking up.

Fire Byrd: Everyone has already done this meme but ME. Oh well. Jake has calmed down. We just need to know how to handle him better.

Snow Brush: Yes, that would have been a different, maybe better, story. Thanks for making me laugh.

-Ann said...

Thanks for the tag. My post is up now. Have you read "Orson: A Good Dog" by Jonathan Katz? You should find it and read it if now, since he went through a lot of what you did with Jake and had to make the same difficult decision at the end.

laurie said...

oh god how awful. glad to hear things are improving. is he in pain? is that one of the problems? dogs who are scared lash out, yes, but so do dogs in pain. poor guy. poor you!!!