Hello and a Happy Weekend to ya!
First of all, I want to thank you for all of your sweet comments and suggestions on Tuesday’s post concerning our fur baby, Roadie.
To answer a lot of your questions and to give you a little bit of a background, we found Roadie as a stray dog in our neighborhood around the holidays at the end of 2010.
After a couple of weeks and no luck in finding his owner, we finally took him to the vet and found out he was about a year old, came from a shelter and then from a house in a bad part of town. He acted timid and unsure around most people, which makes us think he didn’t come from a good place, and also had a case of hook worm and heart worm.
We decided to treat him (which cost us more than a pretty penny) and from that day forward, considered him part of the Hesington family!
To make a long story short, Roadie has been the perfect dog for us! He is as sweet as can be, sociable and very active.
After we moved up north and into the frigid winter seasons, however, something changed about him.
Roadie is part Rhodesian Ridgeback (hence the name!) and part who knows what. We are guessing some kind of mut, boxer, or pit.
Rhodesians are protective by nature, but can easily be trained and we have been working with him since Day One to sit, stay, wait, lay down, and to “take it easy.” He still does a good job of minding our commands, but now it seems to be more on his terms and not ours.
He has become more protective, aggressive, and less trusting of strangers.
Since we aren’t sure how he will react to new people, we have to keep him on a very tight leash and avoid contact with people and animals on our walks and runs.
My theory is that he isn’t used to being cooped up in the house as much, and due to the freezing weather for up to six or seven months at a time, has caught some kind of cabin fever. He misses being able to go for long walks and runs outside just as much as we do!
During his annual check up Thursday, I brought up my concerns about his change in behavior and our vet said the weather could very well have something to do with it.
I mentioned that I now get nervous about taking him out in public, and she affirmed that some of his protective instincts might be directly coming from me. He senses my nervousness and feels the need to protect.
To help, she suggested getting him outside as much as possible and keeping him active inside during the winter.
A friend of mine from high school suggested playing with a laser and having him chase it, which seems like a great idea! Another good one was to take treats on our walks and reward him for staying calm when people pass. Also, we need to try giving treats to new friends who enter our home!
The biggest step our vet suggested was to check into professional training. He is very good with commands, but we feel like he might be missing out on important social interaction with other people and dogs if our concerns continue.
Bringing someone in who has handled this situation before might help calm him down and help us trust him to interact with new people.
We left the vets with a healthy pup, two healthy (but very grumpy) kitties, and high hopes for Roadie’s future happiness. Because as much as I snuggle him, I know he is missing out on a part of life he deserves.
So that’s what the situation is as of now. As time goes by, I’ll be sure to check in with updates on how he is doing.
Thank you so much for all of your words of encouragement and suggestions!