Puppy troubles.

Having a dog is a lot of hard work to begin with, but when your dog has problem behaviours, it is positively life ruining. Our beautiful hound dog, Lady, is driving me nuts lately. She's basically holding us hostage. Whenever we leave the apartment, she howls and yowls and just goes entirely bonkers. It's causing a lot of stress, because we live in an apartment, and I worry about her disturbing the neighbours.

The internet is a great thing, because there's so much access to information that can help you tackle problems like this. Unfortunately, it's also a terrible thing, because everybody's got an opinion and all of them conflict with each other. "It's separation anxiety!" "No, it's dominance!" "You need to use systematic desensitization!" "No, you need to assert your dominance!" "No, nothing will help unless you put her on drugs first!" "Try a bark collar!" "Those collars are inhumane!" "Here, watch this Cesar Millan video!" "Cesar Millan is an imbecile!" It's exhausting, and ultimately, it leaves you no better off than you were to begin with, because, sure, you have all this information, not all of it is useful, or even accurate, and it's hard to tell what's what. 

So far, everybody has been telling us that the howling stems from one of two problems: Separation anxiety or dominance issues. After doing a bit of research, I've drawn my own conclusion: It's not one or the other, it's both. I think she's experiencing separation anxiety because she's unsure of her place within the family unit. Also, the fact that she's a rescue probably compounds the problem. After all, she's been abandoned before. 

All of this means that it's doggie boot camp time (sorry, Lady!). We spent our morning practising down-stays, and this afternoon, as with every day, she'll get some alone time in her crate. In the meantime, I just have to keep reminding myself, we haven't even had her 2 months yet, and it's going to take time for her to adjust to our rules. And we're still learning, as well. I just hope the neighbours can tolerate the noise for awhile longer!

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