Hello, hello! How has the first of April been goin’ for you so far? Any good pranks get you?
As much as I was tempted to *attempt to* pull something on you guys today, I refrained and stuck to making fun of myself instead with this morning’s What’s My Accent video. Thank you for the input by the way! It looks as though I have somehow acquired a somewhat Northern accent while living up here in the mid-west. Perfect.
Anyways, today I made my way back home to the Detroit airport right before Noon and became ridiculously excited when I needed my sunglasses on the car ride home. The past few times I have flown back in from anywhere south has put me in a less than awesome mood when I came home to grey skies and cold temperatures.
Lucky for me, spring finally decided to make a slight appearance today!
Before I get too spring happy, I have to remind myself that the sunshine and temps in the fifties are not a guaranteed thing. Knowing the last winter snowfall is behind us would be nice though. Here’s hoping today was just a preview of the nicer weather ahead!
After a quick stop at Subway for the usual veggies on veggies on turkey wheat sub for lunch, I arrived home around 1 p.m. and couldn’t help but to regroup with a quick cat nap. My weekend away was for sure a whirlwind and I can’t wait to share more about it with you tomorrow.
With the sunshine beaming through my window and an anxious pup by my side, I woke up in a great mood and took the nudge that an afternoon run on the trails might be the best way to get things going.
Ahhh! I just love the feeling of a new season in the air. With most of the snow melted and the sight of grass on the horizon, Roadie and I set out on our four mile running loop through the trails happy as can be.
While I was away, Scott told me that Roadie actually ran away for a couple of hours yesterday. He has done it a handful of times this winter, and I really think it is because he doesn’t get the normal running time I have given him in the past seasons down south.
Thank goodness he came home! I actually feel really bad for the guy, knowing his walks and runs get greatly affected by the freezing weather during these long winter months.
(More on this at the bottom.)
So, with the feeling of spring in the air today, I made sure to spend some extra time with him outside.
I wasn’t expecting to be able to comfortably run the trails yet (remember the snowy mess I stumbled upon just a few weeks ago?), but became pleasantly surprised at mostly gravel in sight when we approached the two mile mark. Off to the trails we went!
Struck by nature’s beauty, I ended up turning off my music, enjoying the sounds of the river, and taking a video of my surroundings.
It’s crazy how much things can change in just a month’s time around here!
Although we hit a bit of a snowy hiccup in the middle, both Roadie and I really enjoyed being outside and back to our normal running path today. We made our way back to the house and I didn’t even get mad when he wanted to sniff and “mark” every little sight of grass on the way.
In Need of Dog Advice
As the day goes on, I can’t help but to keep thinking about why he keeps running away. It makes me really sad and nervous to think that one day he might get out again and not be able to find his way back home.
Back in Orlando, we used to be able to walk him without a leash and he would stick right by our sides! We took him to the dog park almost every weekend and when it wasn’t too hot out, it wasn’t uncommon for him to go for a couple of long walks and even a run a day! He might have been spoiled and went just about everywhere with us.
Ever since moving up to Michigan, I have felt guilty for not being able to spend as much time with him outside. During the extremely cold and snowy months, it’s hard to be outside for more than ten minutes at a time, so you can imagine how much this has affected his normal every day outings.
We have playtime in the basement and I try to make up for it with plenty of snuggles, but deep down I know he still doesn’t understand what happened and why he can’t go back to how things used to be.
He is one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met, but at the same time can be very aggressive, and that side hadn’t come out until we moved.
Since our move, he has become extremely protective and we can’t trust him around many people. We don’t even try to let him off the leash anymore, as he will most likely chase after someone, something, or even run away!
Anyone that comes through our front door doesn’t stand a chance unless they are properly introduced outside, and if they are a guy, it’s still a toss up on how long it will take for him to stop showing his teeth. I get really nervous when new people come into our home for the first time, as never know how he will react.
It’s great to know he protects me and is able to ward off strangers who might pop up at our front door, but at the same time I can’t quite put my finger on where this sudden change in personality came from. Is he suffering from some sort of cabin fever or winter depression?
It sounds kind of silly, but it has become a real concern and it makes me sad that we can’t take him out to public events anymore. I used to take him with me into pet stores, around town in the car, and even to public parks and markets. But now, I am afraid we just can’t trust his questionable behavior.
He has his annual check up at the vets later on this week, so I will make sure to bring this up to him. But I have to ask… have any of you ever dealt with this before?
Is there such thing as doggie winter depression?
And is there anything I can do to help him revert back to his old non-aggressive habits?
If so, please share your stories or suggestions in the comment section!
All right, I better get going. I have a lot of unpacking, straightening up, laundry, and pet snuggles to get to. See ya in the morning!
What breed is Roadie? He looks a LOT like my dog, Harrison, who is a Rhodesian Ridgeback/pit mix. I adopted him when he was six months old and while he was never an extremely friendly around people, he was not overly protective until he was around 2 1/2 years old. A few rescue volunteers have mentioned to me this is a typical Rhodesian trait as they enter adulthood. I started carrying treats on walks and giving him one every time a person approached, which has helped a lot. I also focused on not tensing up as people approach (which can be difficult if you’re worried about your dog becoming aggressive) since dogs pick up on that apprehension. Other than that, I’ve noticed the more people we have over to our house the less worried he is about strangers. Hope some of this helps.
Roadie was a stray dog and we adopted him at about a year old, so we aren’t positive but have been told he is Rhodesian Ridgeback mixed with… something. Don’t know! He basically looks the same, just shorter and weighs 50 pounds.
Oh man, that would make sense. His behavior changed around that age and he for sure can sense when I am nervous which is probably what triggers him when someone comes in or we see someone out. Carrying the treats is a great idea! Thanks so much for the tips 🙂
I’m not positive mine is a Rhodesian either…but he’s about 60 pounds and has the same coloring and overall structure as Roadie. I’ve noticed that Harrison doesn’t get as protective when my husband is walking him or is nearby, so he must feel safer since my husband is bigger/stronger/more assertive? The other thing I’ve heard about Rhodesian’s is they need constant reinforcement/training so I’ll notice every now in then he’s slipping back into his old habits and I’ll begin the same training methods again. It seems to work for now, but I’d love not to have to worry about him being aggressive!
Ha, Harrison sounds very similar to Roadie! They are probably some sort of distant cousins. Thanks for sharing all of your tips!
Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers
Within the past year or so Sadie is all of the sudden terrified of thunder. She’s six and NEVER had a problem with it before. I don’t know where the sudden change in her behavior came from and I can relate to feeling puzzled by your pup! I hope the vet will have some answers/advice for you!!!
It’s crazy how pets mannerisms can change over the years! Poor Sadie. My dog growing up was terrified of thunderstorms, so I know how sad that can be to watch. Maybe I can ask the vet about that one too! 😉
Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food
I’ve definitely heard that dogs pick up on their owners reaction. I watch a lot of The Dog Whisperer and have learned that even though our instinct is to pet and reassure a dog when they act up, to them it seems like you’re approving of erratic behavior. Hopefully your vet will have some good input!
That would be very frustrating! I’m in Clarkston, and my two dogs LOVE the Orion Oaks Dog Park in Lake Orion. I’m not sure if you’ve taken Roadie there or not, but it could help to burn off some energy! 🙂 It’s probably a muddy mess right now, but it’s huge, has a doggy dock for dogs that like to swim, and also a trail system.
Oh no! Poor Roadie isn’t used to Michigan winters. I have two of my own, Pebbles and JD (short for John Doe, he’s a rescue found by the Palace). For taking off running, I believe it has to do with not getting the normal exercise he was used to down south. JD and Pebbles get a morning walk before we all leave for work in the morning and then after we get our workouts in, they get an evening walk. But, this winter it sucked and we were unable to do this because of all the snow. JD is active so he did take off a couple of times because he just wanted to run and let out that energy. Pebbles not so much because she’s my “chunk”. Fat and Lazy. I run them in the basement all the time to try to let them run off energy but it’s not enough. I think it’s just them being animals and loving the outdoors better!
As, far as him being non-aggressive, I think about it this way, (I believe I read on your blog somewhere he’s a rescue), he very protective of you and Scott. You saved him and brought him into a spoiled and better life. Moving from Florida to Michigan also took him out of his element and what he was used too. JD is the same way. Lucky for me he’s a small little mut so when people come to the door I can scoop him up and hold him. But he’s the same way on his walk and with other dogs. He has “little dog syndrome” and thinks he Mr. tough guy and is protecting us because we took him in and gave him a better life. Getting back to him old habits I think you just have to let him know it’s okay and don’t react in a way that would spark his mood to protect. Also, if I know someone is coming that JD hasn’t met before I make sure to have a small treat ready to go to hand to the person to give to JD. I also, stay around JD to reassure him it’s okay.
Sorry for the novel hope that helps!
If I were in your shoes I would most absolutely ante up the money to hire a a professional dog trainer/behaviorist. In my humble opinion dealing with an agressive dog is nothing to mess around with and this sounds like its gone well beyond internet advice. I scoured the internet and bought a couple of training books when we got our puppy and then again when he started resource guarding, but the wealth of information that comes from an experienced trainer is invaluable. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/aggression-dogs. Good article on all kinds of aggression from ASPCA–which tends have the most academic, straightforward info I’ve found n.e.where! And you’ll note they press for professional help as well.
The other thing you could consider is doggie day care once or twice a week, after the agression is mostly under control (most places screen dogs for temperment and have owners sign liability waivers about their dogs normal behavoirs). This is three-fold for dogs: they learn manners in ways people can’t teach them which can help in some minor behavior issues, second they get LOTS of energy out and third, good doggie daycares play games and such to give them some good brain excercise . In our area, it’s $25 for the entire day. Or what about classes, agility? Fly ball? Rally? Obedience? all are typically indoors and I’m sure there’s somewhere nearby where you live. Dogs need mental stimulation just as much as they need physical excercise!
PS love your blog, since I found it a few months ago its been one of my favorite.