Monday, November 10, 2014

Rain and Hunger Don't Mix Well For My Dog

I knew it would be an unsettled day.  Waking up and doing the morning weather check on the phone, I saw that it said that we had biblical weather overnight.

5AM report: 65 degrees, 1.3 inches rain, 90 percent chance of rain.

Ok, we're in South Florida, it's the tail end of the rainy season, deal with it.

As I was putting on my shoes, I looked over at Rack and said exactly that.

I swear this dog knows what I mean.  He looked away, settled down into his dog bed, and moaned.

The rain doesn't bother me like it did when I was a kid in New Jersey.  You'd have these fronts that would march across the north and take a day or three to get through.  Raw weather in the spring or fall that just made things grey.  No massive storms, just a constant grey rain.  People up there dealt with it differently, acting like it was a poison or acid falling from the skies and covering up with layers of clothes under an umbrella.  Streets would be deserted, everyone would cocoon up.

I guess it is pretty miserable to have a temperature just a few degrees above freezing, or a good 10 to 20 degrees below a seasonal sunny day, and being soaked to the bone when the wind hits you.

Here we tend to ignore it.  Storms tend to be the thunder variety.   Just duck and cover if the lightning is less than 10 seconds separated from the thunder, two miles away.  We don't normally get these two or more day long solid steel grey skies of drizzle, although they do happen from time to time.  Just 20 minutes later it could be clear and usually sunny.  Wait it out, put your feet up, then you can go.

Last night must have been more of a mix of the two.  I don't know, the noise didn't wake me up.  But Rack knew.  He wasn't whining at the front door when I got to the crate to put on his harness and leash, he was more subdued when we went for the walk, and when we got home, he immediately went to hide.

I'm wondering if this McNab Dog doesn't have a little Cat inside him.

When it came time for me to get him to eat, he didn't come out of hiding easily.  He came into the kitchen head down.  He's afraid of his own shadow, but there was no reason why he should be here.  I did my chirpy best to tell him that it was time to eat but he just sat down in the middle of the kitchen and melted into a puddle of black and white fur with another moan.

I have been training him to accept eating food without any coaxing.  He's got a fair amount of fear and post traumatic stress going on.  Since he's a weak beta dog, he wouldn't eat on his own and would skip meals. 

Mostly that is fixed.  If the weather is clear and there are no distractions, I can set his bowl down next to me on the floor near where I am eating and he will start to eat once I have begin.  Submissive dogs need permission to eat.  Rack is very submissive.

Not today.  The house had to be silent for him to start.  He stopped when the relay snapped in the refrigerator for it to cycle more cool into the big silver box.  Eventually he did eat, but it was a good 20 minutes of pussyfooting around and walking on egg shells. I could do things in the kitchen, but that's because I'm the Alpha in the pack, Rack is not.

This is orders of magnitude more fear than my Lettie had with storms.  She'd run around the house barking at the skies and moaning at the thunder, but she never skipped a meal.

When the rain stops, and the sun comes out, things will be better.  After all, Rack was fine the day before.  Then it will be rainbows and lollipops and that silver bowl of crunchy bison and sheep won't be as scary.

You just have to step back and give them time to work through fear on their own schedule - then give them a treat at the end of a couple ounces of plain yogurt and tell him he's a good boy.

Yogurt for Good Boy!  Yes, who's a good boy for yogurt?

That's how feeding goes.  Good boy gets yogurt.  Slow boys probably do too, but good boys get it quicker.

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