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QUESTION: My son brought this dog home 2years ago now. He rescued her from an abuser. she was a handful at first, tearing up the furniture, and the garbage, but never messed on the floor. She became so much better, and easier to live with. Lately, I'd say, for the 2 months, she has been very pesty towards me. each time I sit on "my side" of the couch, she gets beside me, and whines and does this silly little bark, until i put my hand on her or pet her. she will not do it if im sitting on my husbands side of the couch, (alone), or in another chair or lying in bed. only when im sitting on my side of the couch.lol. she also bugs to go outside every half hour or so especially at night time. its getting very aggrivating, to the point where, I cant even stand to be around her, and i dont like feeling this way. why is she doing this and what can i do to stop it.

ANSWER:
Hi Kelly,

Your dog needing to go outside more often than usual at night is a concern. Urinary tract infections are common in female dogs. If she has an infection she would need to go outside more frequently than normal, and she might act like she can't settle down. It's a simple thing to cure if that's what's going on, but it would require a visit to your vet.

Once she checks out as being healthy at the vet, you might try increasing her daily exercise in the way of leashed walks. If it's your habit to let the dog outside in a fenced area, that doesn't count towards increasing her daily exercise. A well exercise dog is more likely to be calm and quiet. Along with the increased daily exercise, give her something to do when you just want to lay on the couch (or anytime you don't want to be paying attention to her). A Kong or a Buster Cube are two hard rubber toys that you fill with tempting treats. Dogs have to work to get the food out of them, and that takes time. It also counts as "mental stimulation" for the dog. After spending all that time getting the food out, she might just go to sleep. Changing what you stuff into the toy will keep it exciting and interesting, and be sure to wash the toy out now and again, since it will be containing food.

I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,

Patti




---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question Patti. It was a great help. I just have another question or comment. You mentioned about a possible urinary tract infection. I really dont think thats it, because even though she wants out quite a bit at night, she doesnt always have to pee. I have watched her, and alot of the time she just wanders around the yard, without doing any business. Could this just be need of more exercise as well? also, you mentioned these toys with the treats inside. are they expensive?

ANSWER:
Hello again Kelly,

I'm glad my message was helpful.

I'm not a vet, so you please don't confuse my suggestions with medical advice. A restless dog that needs to go outside often may well have a urinary tract infection. I should also mention that a dog with a urinary tract infection might void small amounts of urine, which could be interpreted as not really needing to "go". I didn't know that your dog doesn't usually relieve herself during these trips outside, but if any of this sounds like a possibility, only a vet exam would be able to rule it out.

You didn't say how much time the dog spends alone (being in the company of other dogs or animals does not count as company), or if there has been a change in her routine or the amount of time she's spending alone. Your dog may not be asking to be let outside, she may be asking for attention and or someone who will play with her. There are probably 100 things that could cause your dog to suddenly become overly clingy, extra exercise can do wonders for all sorts of behavioral problems. The time spent walking your dog not only counts as time spent with her, it also provides the exercise she needs, so she can be calmer.

Another scenario is, your dog is demanding. Dogs differ in their personalities, with some being pushier than others. If your dog demands to be petted and have your attention, and/or ignores you when you want her attention, she may be a "demanding dog". Demanding dogs have been taught to behave that way... by their owners! It works like this: the dog tries a behavior. It works, so they do it again. Say, your dog tugs on your clothing to get your attention. If it works and you give her the attention, before you know it, your dog tugs at clothing, demanding attention.
If this scenario sounds like a possibility, read more here:
http://www.bingodogtraining.com/how_to_become_the_leader_your_do.htm

This is a very simple training regimen that helps many different behavioral issues. It's called "Nothing In Life Is Free", read about it here:
http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm

A Kong toy is about $7.00 or more, depending on what size you buy (the size toy is based on the size of the dog). At a trip to the pet store you'll see there are many brands of treat dispensing dog toys. As long as you buy the correct size, buy a toy that's a challenge to get the food out of, keep the toy clean, and replace it if it becomes worn out, it doesn't matter which toy you use.

Lastly, enrolling in a dog obedience class is a great way of spending time with your dog, while the dog learns that you are the one who needs to be obeyed. Wouldn't it be great if you just gave a command, and your dog laid down quietly? It's possible to do just that, though it would be hard to self-teach if you don't have dog training experience. Ask at your vet's office or at a local boarding kennel for a recommendation of an obedience class in your area. Prices will vary depending on your location and number of classes taken, but it's money well spent.

Best of luck,

Patti


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Patti, you are the best. Thank you for taking so much time with me. As I said in y first message, my son brought Tasha home after taking her from an abusive owner, but we knew nothing about this dog. We have no idea how old she is even, or even what breed she is. Im sure she's a mix or maybe even a mutt. As for spending time alone, she hardly is ever alone, unless I go to the store, or out for the night on the weekend, and then my son is usually home with her. So, she doesnt spend alot of time "alone", but we do lead busy lives and cant always take the time to play with her as often as she may need, which I am trying to change. My husband didnt want our son to bring her home, so he resents that, and he's no help, so its just us. Im thinking she cud just be demanding, as you said. is there any way, I could send you a picture of her so you could help me figure out what breed she is? im thinking she is Rottweiler/shephard, or shephard/husky. she kind of has the head of a doberman in a way, lol i wish my son would have got more info before he took her, but her just wanted to get her away from this poor excuse for an owner. Another issue she has, is she really likes t ochew on things..not as much as before, but still once in a while i will have to take empty toilet rolls away from her, tissues, she tries to get into the garbage, and most recently, I slept in, and she was late going out for her morning pee, and tore a big hole in the couch cushion in the spare room. if my husband sees this, he is going to freak out! is this all for attention? she doesnt just chew these things, I have caught her swallowing them too!! it cant be good for her, and if I catch her, I obviously take it away, but im not always here when she gets into things, and I refuse to cage her.

Answer

Hi Kelly,

Thank you. It's my pleasure to help, if I can.

It doesn't sound at all like you're leaving Tasha alone for too long. It might be she's overly clingy because of whatever she experienced before your son rescued her, or it could be something else. You probably won't ever know why Tasha is the way she is, but taking steps to wean her off of her demanding habits, and by giving her extra exercise, she'll be helped. It's going to take time, so be patient.

Some of Tasha's excess energy will go away when you start giving her those extra walks, you might not see her chewing as much.  Many dogs just enjoy a good chew, it's their natural instinct. A really good thing you can provide is an uncooked cow knuckle or cow shank bone (cooked bones can splinter and are dangerous). You might even get these for free from a butcher. Chewing these fresh raw bones are great for a dog's teeth and gums, and it will really occupy her for a length of time. They are messy though, so you'll want to make sure she stays on a washable surface. Examine the bone for signs it's breaking, or if it gets chewed down to a size that could be swallowed, then throw it out.
Don't give your dog rawhide chews. They can expand in the gut and cause serious problems! Large pieces that get chewed off can be a choking and blockage risk.  Many rawhide toys come from other countries, and they can contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals. Nylabone, Booda Bone, and GumaBones are three examples of safe chew toys. They come in different sizes and hardnesses, depending on how aggressive a chewer an individual dog is. They're also embedded with flavors and scents that attract the dog. These kinds of bones, though they're made of Nylon are safe to chew because only tiny pieces are shaved off as the dog chews, and they pass safely through the dog's body. Here's more on safe chew toys:
http://www.petproductadvisor.com/buyers-guide/selecting-the-right-chew-toys-for-

If Tasha gets destructive until you can take her out, don't give her the run of your home. Overnight, confine her to a room (a small space is fine), or use a child-gate or two to contain her to part of a room. Leave her bedding and a couple of toys with her, so she can occupy herself, and lay newspaper down over the entire containment area, if she tends to soil in the house. Make sure you remove anything Tasha can either destroy or could injure her. You can leave her in this containment area anytime you leave the house, if she is destructive when left alone. Her destructiveness may lessen or stop completely when she starts getting that extra daily exercise. Always be sure to give her a good walk just before she's to be left alone during the day. A tired dog is more likely to sleep, than tear hunks out of the wall!

Dogs actually feel secure in the small space of a crate, or "cage". They have a denning instinct that we humans don't have. That said, if Tasha isn't "crate trained", she might not be calm or quiet when crated. The other option (other than using a room or child-gates) is to contain her in an indoor dog pen. It doesn't need to be much larger than she is, just big enough for her to lay comfortably and turn around. Indoor dog pens come in different price ranges, here's are two examples of what I'm talking about:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/images/Categoryimages/normal/p_9012_6659.jpg

http://product-images.highwire.com/2267573/94123.jpg

If you'd like, you can send me a picture of Tasha. I can try to identify what breeds she seems to be, but all I can offer are educated guesses.


Regards,

Patti

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Patti

Expertise

To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.

Experience

My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

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Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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