Monday, September 22, 2008

St. Bernard's Barking Habits causing sleepless nights

I don’t know but I am pretty sure you are reading your daily paper’s pet corner with great interest like I do. Have you ever noticed that the guys who answer the reader’s questions have exactly the same kind of dog as the reader? Like for instance if your question is related to a Rottweiler, part of the answer will include that the specialist answering has a Rottweiler too. Or the Great Dane who has cancer, well the vet answering, has one of those too (cancer free though). I am going to have some fun with this. I am going to send in a question saying I have a “xyz”. The “xyz” will be a fantasy breed which doesn’t exist. Just want to see if the vet who’s answering me has one of those as well. And if it’s working, then I am going to apply that rule to my own business. Because there must be something to it.
Anyway, while studying all the inquiries I learn that the most talked about topics are basically food, my favorite subject, then medical issues, my next favorite one since it most likely has to do with the wrong food fed, and finally before all the other more or less minor problems, behavioral issues.
Like today. The owner of a 10-year old Saint Bernard has the bad habit of starting to bark when she goes to sleep upstairs. And he will not quit until she comes back downstairs and lays down on her couch to rest. To me, a simple problem. The cause: You! You started it by paying attention to his bark. He, smart as St. Bernards or as a matter of fact any breeds of dogs or even cats are, realized in the early beginnings that this was the way he would get attention. It is that simple. Now I don’t know if that behavior can be changed at this point and after so many years anymore. I realize that you have tried everything from ignoring, cajoling, petting, rewarding, leaving lights on, leaving music on (though I am a little disappointed that you couldn’t figure out whether he likes country more than classical). And I understand that he didn’t like the TV, I feel most of the times the same way.
What you did is reacting to his bark. That’s all he was looking for: Your attention.
I understand that you have tried the Bark Buster’s behaviorists (it surprises me over and over again how creative some entrepreneurs are, I never heard of this one, however, I find it clever). Good for you that you at least got your money back.
Aromatherapy didn’t work. Sorry to hear that, but I don’t think that justifies trying Valium, Prozac, Acepromazine and that even combined with Benadryl?
Changing the diet gave him diarrhea? Well, it takes sometimes up to 4 weeks for a pet to get used to new, and I hope it was the right, healthy food.
And boy, I really appreciate the fact that you are medicating him with Deramax in the hopes that this will enable him, the from arthritis suffering poor dog come upstairs into your sleeping quarters.
Now I don’t agree with the vet’s recommendation. By the way, did we ever find out if he has a St. Bernard? He didn’t mention anything. Maybe he is not the advisor best suited for answering the problem. I have to tell you, I feel that his advise to euthanize the dog was a little drastic.
I wouldn’t go that far. I would stick with what I said before. Ignore the dog’s bark, he’ll stop and if it takes strong nerves and 10 days, he’ll stop. Trust me, I know, I practiced it many times in my relationships with dogs. It works. Even my wife, who was against it because she has a hughe heart and just cannot see the pet “suffering”, has finally adopted the strategy and what a surprise: It works for her too. I still remember the first night when we brought home our German Shepherd girl Roxy. How she was whining in a fashion that nobody in the house could sleep. Because she missed her mom and siblings. I caved in the 1st night and went to lay down with her to comfort her. The 2nd night I insisted for the entire family to ignore the whining and in the 3rd night Roxy slept like puppies sleep: Like a baby. If I would have left it up to my wife, today we would sleep with a 70 lbs black Shepherd girl between us in our bed, or better, I probably would sleep on the floor due to missing bed space. But then again: As you may or may not know: I am not a vet. I also recommend food brands, which only a very few vets recommend. I am just not a “follow the majority” guy. So don’t listen to me. Remember, your vet is always right. Maybe you want to get a second opinion. Because as I understood from your inquiry, you don’t want to loose your dog.

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