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Good morning - I am a long time lurker and long time dog owner but my 1st BC (a mix but according to our vet - very BC in behavior). We have had mostly labs and lab mixes over 30 plus years of dog ownership and truth be told I am surprised at how different these 2 dogs are. FWIW I am also a former Labrador foster for over 15 yrs etc. Fry was adopted from our local shelter. The mother was a pb BC and gave birth in the shelter. Fry was our 1st puppy since before we had kids (most of the labs I fostered or adopted were adults). He has been a joy and a delight and also a true challenge in that he has taken everything I thought I knew about raising dogs and changed it. He is extremely smart and sensitive. As a parent of many human boys I tend to be a loud person and Fry is more sensitive with noise. He's also intuitive in a way that labs are not. He is extremely good when I take him out and about etc. The problem is that we also have a 10 yr old lab older female. She's beginning to slow down. She has started to show real arthritis in her hips and no longer tackles or plays in the same way she did before. Fry is extremely attached to her. I work out of the house (even prior to covid) and my husband and I are the only ones living here at the moment. My adult children come and go but Fry's world is us, our lab, and 2 cats for the most part. Each time I have had to take her to the vet (which now I cannot go in due to covid) when they take her away, he is inconsolable. He cries and whines etc. I hate leaving him at home alone since he will do the same and scratch at the door and windows. He has no issue if I take him without her (and she doesn't really care) but if he is left behind, he gets extremely emotional and when she returns, will check her all over etc. We also have a granddog, a black mouth cur, who is younger but Fry isn't as attached to him as he is to the lab and in fact is less then enchanted when the granddog shows up. And the BMC owner, my son, is in the military so we will have the other dog for months and then months alone. I am dreading the eventual slowing of the lab and her passing. It may not happen for a long time but I am already concerned about it since we walk every day for several miles or more and I see she is, on occasion, struggling. I guess what I am asking is what is the best way to prepare a BC for a loss? I never have had an issue with labs. They are sad and they move on. We've always had 2 or more dogs but in this case I am not sure it would be helpful at all. Fry seems to be more sensitive than our past dogs and I am curious as my experience with him. On another note, I live in a suburban/country setting. I have 2 acres and live right next to large open tracts of protected land. I have kept my blood pressure in check in part by owning Fry and his relentless need for exercise and he runs free, listens well and has excellent recall. I am fascinated by people who have BC's in the city or urban settings. I notice if we do have to keep him on a leash for a reason, we still have to take him running free everyday (rain or shine or freaking 0 degree weather etc).
Has anyone here used pheromone products? As far as I know, there is a spray, a collar and a diffuser that plugs in. Since Nelson has been very anxious the past few weeks and I can't figure out the source of his anxiety (believe me, I tried) I am considering one of those products. Just wondering how good they actually work - and what brand (if it matters). I have seen Adaptil and Goodbehaviour products at my local pet store. Would love to hear someone who has tried it and if / what behaviour changes they saw.