Saturday, September 5, 2015

Spot Is Afraid

My dog is afraid of her food dish. She's been that way as long as I can remember. She was supposedly abused and was rescued from a puppy mill before we got her. As a mommy, dogs 10 times her size were scared of her. With other animals, she's completely fearless, but she's scared of everything else. We've always joked that she she needed "doggy Prozac" but that might not be far from the truth.

Being afraid of her food dish is the number one concern because she has to eat to continue to be with us. My wife just used to pour some food out on the carpet for her. I wanted a better solution, so I tried to train her to use the food dish. We can do it if I say "Spot, eat your dinner, honey" for every single bite. But if I get distracted, dinner sometimes takes all night, because if I forget, she hides from the food dish instead of eating.

The experts have said "Just put her food down, and pick it up 10 minutes later. If she's hungry enough, she'll eat."

But the experts would have killed her, because once we went 3 days. Then it dawned on me that she was paralyzed with fear. Without coaxing or something, she's not capable of overcoming that fear,, no matter how hungry she is. That' when I blinked, and fed her by hand until I figured out something better.
Scared of food dishes, but not dangerous and vicious animals
The best I've come up with is to feed her on a paper towel. She's not right in the head, and I'm not sure she's ever going to be. At least between the home cooked food and the nondescript paper towel, I'm not getting her to eat reliably. Zoey has some of her fear issues, so I'm almost convinced at least some of the crazy is genetic.

I still hold out hope for maybe some anti-anxiety medication or something to help her with her "fear of everything" that I call it.

She's coming out of her shell a little now that we're mostly settled in. But she's nowhere near being able to be walked. The irony is that the outside is her favorite thing on earth, but she flips out on any other dog or human,. That was fine in the woods, but ... not fine in a busy neighborhood. My brother has Alaskan and Siberian Huskies that would eat her in about half a bite if she showed aggression, which she definitely would.

At least one silver lining is that Zoey seems like now that I'm in good health, she can be a normal dog. We've gone on a few walks and she's been fantastic on the leash. Ty is a champ on the leash, but he was raised with everything done by the book. While I was too sick to be socializing Zoey, Ty lived in a retirement community where everyone there sneaked him treats and he had paid dog walkers. So it's surprising that Zoey does almost as well on the leash. But with my luck lately, I sure the hell won't argue with something better than I thought. Especially when that something is my honey bunny.

I read somewhere recently that they did a scientific study that concluded fear was a sign of intelligence, and Spot is probably the most intelligent dog I've come across, and I've known and lived with many dogs. Just like my Corgi, Dancer from years ago, I can't even spell above Spot's head, at least for common words or words she cares about.

"who's a pretty girl?"
I'm open to any advice. As soon as I have a few bucks in my pocket, I'm going to take her to a doggy doctor. She's bonded to her two offspring, so I couldn't imagine separating them. But everything these days is a "gut check" for me, and I like to think that I usually know good advice when I hear it. She's only 6 years old and she's in magnificently good health.

Worse case I just keep her safe and healthy and maybe take her on trips to the country when I can.

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