The other day my dog, Rack, was whining.
We have only had him for 2 1/2 weeks at this point, and that was the first sound we heard come from his mouth.
It wasn’t a pain whine, we all know that blood curdling scream you hear from a dog when they’re hurt. This was a plaintive high pitched squeak.
My little guy was bored. Bored is a good thing.
When The Dog Liberator had rescued him, I had a rather scary story about his history. Basically we had a very smart dog that was an owner surrender who went through some very bad shelters.
A Shut Down dog resulted. That’s more likely in intelligent breeds like my Mc Nab, and others like the Border Collie, Aussie Shepards, Poodles and so on. Less intelligent breeds would go with the flow and bark away.
As time went on in those first few days, we noticed that Rack really enjoyed his walks. He was still afraid of loud noises, but he handled them better each day. The walks would be accompanied by a similar sound coming from him when he would see another dog, what we called a Whine of Joy. He would get so excited that he would lapse into a dancing and bouncing performance complete with little open mouthed sounds.
We realized that he loved his walks and other dogs. That’s a big plus because recovering a shut down dog without a motivator is decidedly difficult. Making the walks as long as we could manage was the best thing we could do for the little guy. These days the walks stretch very close to 2 miles each.
I’ll be getting some new sneakers as a result.
That has outside taken care of, but what about indoors?
The usual tricks of bouncing a ball or offering food just didn’t work yet. I tried the tennis ball trick where you slice one open and put a cookie inside. As long as he saw the cookie he would go for it but not work for it if it disappeared inside the hollow ball.
The toys did eventually wear him down. An old vinyl ball that squeaks when you squeeze it was his first toy that he took to. This was followed by a beat up teddy bear that he managed to chew the nose off in short order.
Playtime is very important. When you have a dog that refuses to play, it’s an abnormal situation. They have to relax to their environment. In our case, getting to tearing the teddy bear apart only took 15 days.
As for that teddy bear, its done it’s duty before. There’s a black stitching down its back where my old dog Lettie had shredded it once before. It will get shredded again. Soft toys are best for that sort of thing since you’ll notice very fast when you find little clouds of stuffing all over your living room.
After all, a destroyed toy means a happy dog, and a happy dog is what we’re after.
The proof is in the video below – complete with The Minute Waltz!