One paw forward 4 paws back. That’s how things feel at the moment. I have been very consistent with Annabel over the past week or two (for those that don’t know our rescue lurcher has separate anxiety – manifesting itself in the form of house soiling . . . Several times . . . Every day. Read the start of our story here.)
So with professional help and a programme of behaviour training put in place, we are soldiering on.
The next step it would seem is a den / cage / crate. Something i have previously had mixed feelings about. Both dogs have already been in a kind of make shift “den” in the kitchen for the past week, and when they are closed in – as expected – there is no soiling. But when out of the den, Annabel will soil the moment we are distracted, be it a phone call, putting our daughter to bed, or even watching a bit of telly. Short of staring at her the entire time she is out of her den (a virtual impossibility with a 4 year old child), there is nothing for it right now but to keep her in it to break the cycle. As this is a little unfair on our well behaved greyhound, Badger, Annabel will be getting her own crate today.
I have been reassured that although this seems extreme, it is none-the-less preferable to rehoming or even more drastic measures.
Our poor girl’s case is quite extreme, and we are certainly not ready to give up on her, so crate it is. I have to think of it as putting her through cold turkey – tough love of you will. We are stepping up the walks to make sure she is sufficiently worn out when at home.
We don’t know her history, but due to the sorry state she was found in it is obvious that her behaviour is the result of human-kind’s failings. She was not treated properly in the first few years of her life, and it is my belief that she has never known love, or a kind home, and she can’t quite cope with it in a healthy way.
Therefore surely it is human kind’s responsibility to try and fix her. Our responsibility.
Annabel came to us for a reason – I have to keep remembering that on a bad day. Maybe other familes could not have coped with the extremeness of the anxiety. Maybe she’d have ended up back in rescue kennels – something I feel sure would be utterly detrimental to her ever finding a permanent home.
I may have to to take deep breaths and remind myself “it’s not her fault” on a daily basis, but we are determined to stick with her.