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    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,505, Reputation: 4600
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    #1

    Jan 28, 2008, 02:48 PM
    My dog is grieving
    My husband passed away late last month, quite unexpectedly. We have 2 dogs - a 4 year old German Shepherd/Gordon Setter mix we adopted at 5 months that absolutely adored him and a 3 year old AKC GSD we've had since she was 6 weeks old that is more my dog. "His" dog trusted no one when we got her so he got into the pattern of going outside with her, feeding her, grooming her, spending a lot of time with her. The GS is a lot more independent and less "needy."

    I am having problems with both dogs - I took them both to the Vet for checkups and he says they are simply grieving and will for a while.

    My husband's dog is barely eating, she roams the house all night, she listens to me without question but almost avoids me, sometimes I look into her eyes and she just looks so lost. It makes me feel awful but she shies away from me, preferring to sit and look out the window, I would think waiting for my husband to come home - for hours and hours. Occasionally she will go outside with me and play ball but for only a short period and then she's back inside by herself. She also growls at the GSD, particularly at night, and the GSD is doing absolutely nothing - nothing at all.

    I'm not doing so well myself and can only imagine what they are feeling but I have no idea how to turn this around. Is time the only answer? How long do dogs remember?
    twinkiedooter's Avatar
    twinkiedooter Posts: 12,172, Reputation: 1054
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    #2

    Jan 28, 2008, 03:21 PM
    Yes the dog is grieving as she obviously loved him so much. It's going to take a while for her to "forget" him. She won't in a big hurry either. She does not understand the problem of why no daddy to play with her. I know you and I have had some tiffs, but when it comes to aminals I care and care a lot.

    I have a gift of speaking and communicating with animals that I have tried to teach to others and sometimes I am successful at passing this along.

    The way an animal thinks is in pictures, colors, and smells versus words like us humans do. You need to be near her (not hold her) but nearby and try to empty your mind of "people thoughts" and concentrate on her thoughts. She may just keep picturing your husband and nothing else. You'll keep getting this picture from her over and over again. That's good if you do as it means she can "send" to you her thoughts. You then need to hold an image in your mind of you hugging her and sending love to her in that hug. Keep focusing on that picture in your mind and then "send" it to her. Do this over and over again letting her know that you love her and that you love your husband also.

    She is very confused and needs your love now. You can also try talking to her outloud and when talking to her outloud send her pictures in your mind of romping with her and playing with her - or things that hubby did with her only projecting yourself in that picture. Shepards do tend to be one owner dogs but you may be successful with her doing the mind pictures stuff with her over a week's time and winning her over to you (although not 100% ever - more like 60-70%).

    Don't neglect your other dog at this time either, but be loving and sharing with him also. It will take time but it can be done.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #3

    Jan 28, 2008, 03:36 PM
    I wonder if iy would help to give the animal some clothing that your husbad wore that still had his scent on them or something that they might recognize to sleep on or around. Just like items that might comfort humans, it might work for dogs.
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #4

    Jan 28, 2008, 04:05 PM
    Judy, please accept my heartfelt sympathy on the loss of your husband. Unfortunately, I know all too well what you are going through from personal experience along what your mixed breed is going through.

    Dogs look at the world in a different way than we do. Pack structure is their world. Your dog lost her male leader and yes, she is grieving heavily. You just need to give her time. I know she doesn't appear to want much to do with you, but keep doing what you have done. When you can find the time, and when YOU are up for it, give her some "one on one" time and attention. Even if it is just a 10 minute walk with you alone. Each dog needs their "mommy" time alone with you for the bond to completely develop. She will eventually adjust to you being her leader. The aggression toward the other dog at night, tell me that more than likely your mixed breed is beginning to recognize that you are now assuming the leadership position, and although may not appear to be accepting the situation when she is around you, she may be challenging your other dog for her spot as the second in the pack rank. If your purebred is the omega dog while this mix is more of an alpha personality, they will find their comfort zone with each other. You can't find it for them. You might want to consider keeping them separated at night. If that means keeping one in your bedroom and one outside the bedroom if you don't crate them and they are allowed to roam the house, then do that. Close the door to the bedroom. Switch the dogs every night, or every other night. Try to treat them in the same manner, be their leader, and allow them work out their pack rank between them. You may find that as time goes on, your mixed breed will be constantly challenging your purebred for your attention. If that happens, come back and post. I will help you work through it.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,505, Reputation: 4600
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    #5

    Jan 29, 2008, 06:00 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by RubyPitbull
    Judy, please accept my heartfelt sympathy on the loss of your husband. Unfortunately, I know all too well what you are going through from personal experience along what your mixed breed is going through.

    Dogs look at the world in a different way than we do. Pack structure is their world. Your dog lost her male leader and yes, she is grieving heavily. You just need to give her time. I know she doesn't appear to want much to do with you, but keep doing what you have done. When you can find the time, and when YOU are up for it, give her some "one on one" time and attention. Even if it is just a 10 minute walk with you alone. Each dog needs their "mommy" time alone with you for the bond to completely develop. She will eventually adjust to you being her leader. The aggression toward the other dog at night, tell me that more than likely your mixed breed is beginning to recognize that you are now assuming the leadership position, and although may not appear to be accepting the situation when she is around you, she may be challenging your other dog for her spot as the second in the pack rank. If your purebred is the omega dog while this mix is more of an alpha personality, they will find their comfort zone with each other. You can't find it for them. You might want to consider keeping them separated at night. If that means keeping one in your bedroom and one outside the bedroom if you don't crate them and they are allowed to roam the house, then do that. Close the door to the bedroom. Switch the dogs every night, or every other night. Try to treat them in the same manner, be their leader, and allow them work out their pack rank between them. You may find that as time goes on, your mixed breed will be constantly challenging your purebred for your attention. If that happens, come back and post. I will help you work through it.

    Thanks - the mix is the top dog. I watched her interact with the GSD last night and I really think she is simply unsure of herself, flexing her muscles a bit. The GSD most definitely not want to be in charge - the mix is older and has always been in charge. I don't want to separate them right now but if it becomes an issue I will follow your advice - at the moment the mix growls and the GSD looks around to see if she's missing something! There has not been a showing of teeth or other aggression but I do think it's about attention.

    Last night I decided not to beg her to eat - I put their food down, the GSD ate hers and wandered off, I picked up the other plate. During the night I put the plate back down and the GSD and I went off to the bedroom. I heard the mix start to move the plate around and when "we" got up this AM it was almost all gone. Maybe a little less fussing and wringing of hands is the thinking.

    After reading your post I am convinced that's part of what is wrong - my husband was in charge of her, now he is gone, the mix never had any structure in her life before us, she has no idea what is going on. I am going to make every attempt for 1 on 1 time with them. It's just difficult right now because I'm grieving too but life has to get back on an even keel.

    Thanks to everybody -
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #6

    Jan 29, 2008, 06:31 AM
    Judy, I am sorry, I glossed over the food issue. Yes, you cannot fret over her if she is refusing to eat. Don't put the dish down at night either. Feed them on their regular schedules. Don't hang over her. If after a period she refuses to eat, pick up the dish. Don't give her any food until the next feeding time. She won't hold out on you forever. When she is hungry, she will eat. If you pay too much attention to her over this, you will have chronic food issues with her. Try to keep them both on their regular schedules. The only difference should be in your putting in some extra time giving her attention to solidify your leadership role with her. And, again, you do that when you are up for it. You will find the dogs will provide a good outlet for you if you let them. When it is necessary to take care of another living thing, it forces us to focus on something other than our own pain.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,505, Reputation: 4600
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    #7

    Jan 29, 2008, 11:09 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by twinkiedooter
    Yes the dog is grieving as she obviously loved him so much. It's going to take a while for her to "forget" him. She won't in a big hurry either. She does not understand the problem of why no daddy to play with her. I know you and I have had some tiffs, but when it comes to aminals I care and care a lot.

    I have a gift of speaking and communicating with animals that I have tried to teach to others and sometimes I am successful at passing this along.

    The way an animal thinks is in pictures, colors, and smells versus words like us humans do. You need to be near her (not hold her) but nearby and try to empty your mind of "people thoughts" and concentrate on her thoughts. She may just keep picturing your husband and nothing else. You'll keep getting this picture from her over and over again. That's good if you do as it means she can "send" to you her thoughts. You then need to hold an image in your mind of you hugging her and sending love to her in that hug. Keep focusing on that picture in your mind and then "send" it to her. Do this over and over again letting her know that you love her and that you love your husband also.

    She is very confused and needs your love now. You can also try talking to her outloud and when talking to her outloud send her pictures in your mind of romping with her and playing with her - or things that hubby did with her only projecting yourself in that picture. Shepards do tend to be one owner dogs but you may be successful with her doing the mind pictures stuff with her over a week's time and winning her over to you (although not 100% ever - more like 60-70%).

    Don't neglect your other dog at this time either, but be loving and sharing with him also. It will take time but it can be done.

    Thank you for your caring, well thought out response -

    I think you and I disagree on things legal but that doesn't mean I don't "like" you as a person - whatever that means! We have just had different experiences in different States with different outcomes.

    Very, very kind of you respond in this fashion at this time and I appreciate it and will follow your suggestions.

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