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Sudden behavior change in dog . . .???

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
We rescued a 1yo female dog about 6 weeks ago. She had lots to learn (leash walking, crating, housetraining, separating peacefully), but above all else, she has been CALM.

Until this past weekend. For the past 3 days she has been FRANTIC. Not jumping on us kind of frantic, but following me around the house, constatnly under foot, never settling, never resting peacefully during day -- which she has always done.

A few changes have occurred:

Friday morning we rid ourselves of one area rug which we discovered she had peed on much more recently than we had thought.

Also on Friday her favorite bean bag chair split open and was leaking horrible toxic styrofoam pellets all over the house, so it is gone. (replaced by another bean bag chair which she had been sleeping on in another room)

And over the weekend dh taught her to heel, with a good bit of success with just a constant stream of treats on our walks.


Does a dog learning to heel suddenly try to heel all the time? In constant search of treats?

Or could removal of her bed be this upsetting to her? She'd been sleeping on it for maybe 3 weeks. And her crates have not changed.

Or removal of her pee-scented rug?


Or should I be watching for something else, like an illness? As I type this, she is barking in her crate, well past her bedtime, even tho dh and dcs are in the bedroom with her. She has NEVER barked at us from her crate while we were home, and NEVER barked after going to bed for the night.

You know, with my dcs, I can look for all kinds of triggers for new behaviors. But she's a DOG, and I don't know dogs all that well. So if you have some wisdom about sudden personality shifts in canines, please share!

Thx a bunch!
post #2 of 8
Is she spayed? I'm thinking going into heat.
post #3 of 8
What kind of dog is she? Where did you get her?

It's possible if she's intact that she could be going into heat as the PP said. However, if this was a reputable rescue, I would think she's already spayed. My guess would be that she's getting nervous that you're going to abandon her.

A lot of dogs that have had a rough start can exhibit some of this once they've been in a new home for a little while. At first they may seem sedate and perfect, but that is usually just a "honeymoon" period where they're on their very best behaviour. You don't usually see a new dog's true colors for at least 2, maybe 3, months. Just stay consistent and be a good leader. That's what she needs most right now.

Good luck!
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hah! Yes she is, but I was wondering the same thing . . . like maybe the surgery didn't work!

I'm realizing that she is snffing the house in a new and odd way. Sniffing every trash can, under closet doors, in closets . . . I told dh we might have a mouse! But she's also frantic for food. Under my feet while I'm cooking, running back and forth from counter to dining table. All very normal behavior for *some* dogs, I know, but weird and new for her.

She does have worms, and is being treated, but could she really be SOOOO hungry all the time, all of a sudden?

She's a hound mix, BTW. Paws with a nose.


She's making me crazy and it's not even 9 a.m. yet!
post #5 of 8
With what you're saying now, I'm thinking you might want to take a trip to the vet. It does sound more than just adjustment issues the more you explain it. I would want to rule out anything physical like a thyroid problem.
post #6 of 8
Can you tether her to you so she can't be running wild? Might help your sanity, or it might make you feel like she was more underfoot, I dunno. It's definately possible that the first month you had her she was reserved because she was new. Now she's comfortable acting out in front of you. I would be brushing up my pack leadership skills.

Your DH making her walk at heel is actually good pack leadership. The lower ranking dog should never be in front of the pack leader. The leader goes through doorways first, walks first, etc. so perhaps as you say she IS trying to heel all the time now that she knows it's expected of her. Some dogs hold to the rule to the point that they freeze in place when they realize they are in front of the owner (someone on here said their dog did that even without training).

She might just need something to do, maybe a Buster Cube or stuffed Kong? Extra walks or training?

Maybe you do have a mouse, that would be a reasonable answer for the sudden sniffing. Maybe even for the barking - kindof like a hunting dog instinct maybe?

Dusti does go through weeks where she eats more and weeks where she eats little. I believe it's because of being rawfed, but maybe other dogs do it too (you didn't say what you feed or if she's leaving kibble in the bowl)

I would crate her while you are cooking and eating. The pack leader eats first and begging isn't allowed. If she's making you crazy while you're eating, that's bad.
post #7 of 8
My best guess is that this is pack behavior. She is now part of the pack and separation is an unbearable thought to her. Our dog did this for a while shortly after we got her. More training helps. We taught her that she was not allowed in the kitchen while we were cooking, and that we expected her to lay down and be still while we were sitting still. Most dogs will be in the same room as you or within smelling distance at all times.

As for her begging that is pretty common as well. She's asking the dominate who gets to eat first to feed her. DON'T! She eats after the family is done eating. I'm not sure about the sniffing, but I've known more than a few dogs that like to sniff everything! Hunting breeds especially.

Remember, between a new home and learning new things they can take a long time to adjust. The rule of thumb is generally two months.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for helping me think thru this, Everyone.

I have this sneaking suspicion that over the weekend -- when dh was more in charge of daily life and I was out and about much more than usual -- that she was fed more than our usual daily routine, and that her hanging out in the kitchen netted her some extra food. I'm just continuing to ignore her when I'm in the kitchen, and while she's hanging on much longer than she was last week, she did finally give up and go lie down just a few minutes ago. And my kids are terrific about not giving her ANY attention while we're eating. We just have to stay strong on that. (And yes, as soon as she's learned a sit-stay, we will insist on that at meal times . . . it's been on hold while she learned that this is her home and we are not going to abandon her. All in due time!)

And yes, this dog has major separation anxiety -- the real kind, not the "I'm bored so I'll chew on stuff kind." She'd been doing better, but I guess I just have to expect that improvement will not be linear and there will be good days and hard days.

I *think* she's settling as we move further away from the weekend . . . we shall see. I am relieved to hear that no one recognizes this as some major problem or turn for the worse.

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