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!
Have you tried doggie daycare? My pup goes there and loves it. It gives her a chance to be around other doggies and she comes home exhausted!
I haven’t! He’s been to interactive boarding before (where he is around other dogs), but only for a few days at a time, never on a consistent basis. Maybe it would be good to have him interact somewhere on a weekly basis?!
I have a pure Rhodesian Ridgeback. Mine is very protective of us (even more with me when my hubby isn’t around) and she doesn’t like a lot of strangers. It’s the nature of Ridgies to be very protective etc. This is one of the reasons why they were bread. Just continue with what you are doing & try to get him exercise. Ridgies need a lot of exercise 🙂
Yup, sounds about right, lol.
Ashley @ A Lady Goes West
That’s great that your vet gave you some advice. What you’re experiencing with Roadie is so common. Do you remember all four of those hurricanes that came through Florida in 2004? Well my parent’s dog (which they still have) was home with us when Hurricane Charley came through and he went through the worst of it with us in the house (they live in Southwest Florida). He was shaking and scared, and he has never been the same since that day. He gets totally nervous in thunderstorms and can also be very mean to strangers now. He is a good dog, but has a strange streak where we can’t trust him around others. He is also a bit of a mut, so we’re not totally sure his background. Anyways, just wanted you to know that you’re not the only one, and your Roadie is dealing with some stuff inside. I hope you figure things out for him!
Have a great weekend!
Aw, I’m sorry to hear about that. Hopefully things will start to work their way back to normal for both of us (and them). Thanks for sharing!
Yay! I am so glad that you rescued him and are working through issues. He’s such a lover. There will be tough times but it will be so worth it.
Aww poor guy! I definitely think it’s the weather…those harsh winters can be so tough on all of us! I’m hoping he gets better!
Aw, Roadie is so cute! Dogs are just the best–any extra “work” that they require is so worth it!!!
Jess Allen (@blondeponytail)
He is adorable and you and your hubby saved his life and continue to enrich by helping him through this!! He is worth it I’m sure!!!
That he is! Thanks for the sweet comment 🙂
Roadie is so lucky to have you as a mom!!
if your dog loves balls, get a chuck it there great in the winter my dog loves to bury the ball and then dig in the snow for it. plus you don’t have to pick up a slobbered ball! it sounds like he also has had a lot of change which can be tuff on animals, glad your helping him work through it!http://www.amazon.com/Ball-Launch-Classic-Fetch-Dogs/dp/B005N2NCYG/ref=sr_1_19?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1396844355&sr=1-19&keywords=chuck+it
I have actually heard of the Chuck it before, but never tried it! We’ll definitely have to invest in one soon. Thanks!
Runner Girl Eats
Aw youre such a good fur mommy 🙂 Hopefully the warmer weather coming will help Roadie get some energy out!
Aw, thank you! Yes… we are chomping at the bit!