Monday, November 19, 2012

Dealing With Anxiety

Andy's been pretty good as of late about being left home alone (knock on wood!). We haven't had any incidents involving shoes, books, dvds, etc. in about a month. A lot of it has to do with us being more diligent about putting things out of his reach but I also think he's finally getting used to the idea of being by himself now and then. For a while we felt like captives to the pup, afraid to leave him alone because we never knew what sort of trouble he would get into. I'm starting to feel more and more confident at this point that Andy can handle it.
Wednesday mornings are a whole different story. This is the one day a week Andy goes to doggy day care and he seems to know it. As soon as he sees us getting ready to head out he starts getting all wound up. What starts off as a soft whine quickly escalates to what sounds like high-pitched wailing. It's an intolerable sound and I feel incredibly bad for my neighbors, who must be wondering what manner of torture we're inflicting on our dog. Andy keeps up this hullabaloo all the way to the car and keeps it up the entire 15 minutes it takes us to get to Camp Bow Wow. He actually recognizes the last turn we make before getting to camp and ratchets up the frequency of his whining like 100% in response.

I'm starting to find this routine less and less tolerable and I'm just about at my wits end. I feel like a parent with an out of control child throwing a tantrum at the store. Arg! I've tried talking to him in a soothing voice and reaching back and putting my hand on him to calm him down, but once he gets started there's just no turning back. At this point I'm seriously considering buying a Thunder Shirt. Have you heard of these things? The first time I saw one at the store I was like, "What a gimmick," but the more I've read about the product the more I'm willing to give it a try. The shirt works like a swaddle, applying gentle constant pressure to the dog's torso, thus producing a calming effect. It's the same principle behind swaddling a baby, Temple Grandin's Hug Machine or those weighted blankets for folks with autism. It's supposed to help with all kinds of anxiety and training issues: thunder, separation, create, excessive barking, leash pulling, etc. I've read really good reviews for it and might just have to bite the bullet and shell out $39.99 for one.


  1. Aww...I can totally sympathize with you guys.

    1. C got into a playful argument with his coworkers recently about Andy being as much a child to us as his coworkers bipedal kids are to them. They begged to differ. Haha. Isn't it funny though how we deal with a lot of the same issues?