17 July 2008

Molly Just Isn't Herself

We haven't trained anything new since the last time we worked on fronts. Molly isn't acting like herself. I'm not sure what's wrong, so we're taking things really easy.

She's been refusing to come into the furnace room to help me with laundry. She just won't come with me.

When I ask for a paws up on the kitchen chair so I can put her harness on to go out for a walk, she is likely to hide under the kitchen table. I have been refusing to take her out when she does that. She will then later do the paws up, but she won't eat her treats until after she is down from the chair.

Yesterday she spent a while lying under the sofa whining. She also was making noises like she might get sick.

In general she's eating as much as usual. She is still playful and active as well. But I am still forced to conclude that something is wrong.

I haven't been feeling well myself. I've been struggling with migraines and some stomach upsets. Also my hip is very painful but I've been continuing to push myself to be active. I'm not happy with myself when I'm not productive in some way. But it is all quite a struggle.

My guess as to the cause of Molly's issues right now is as follows:

  1. She is reacting to my physical and mental state. It is confusing her and causing her stress. In reaction to this, she is shutting down and refusing some behaviors.
  2. I've been pushing her to learn a lot of new behaviors and improve her behaviors very quickly. She's seemed to enjoy our training sessions, but perhaps it has become too much for her. Like kids in school, she needs a bit of a vacation to process and assimilate everything she's learned. The pressure has gotten to her.
  3. She's still young. She is not yet 2 years old. She is also still intact, so has a potential of hormonal issues on top of normal growth issues.
  4. I might be doing something wrong. Asking wrong. It is always a possibility. Handler error is far more likely than canine error--if she doesn't understand what I want, how is she going to do it?
So what am I going to do about this? Give her a break of course. I love her and respect her too much to do anything else.

To keep her mentally active, we'll work on things she already knows. We'll play. We'll take time to cuddle and comfort each other. I am going to keep listening to Molly and do my best to give her what she needs to be happy and healthy. That's more important to me than any new behavior I could teach her.

If she shows any serious signs of being physically ill, I will consult the vet of course. But at this point her physical symptoms seem to be minor. It is her psychological symptoms that are of more concern. Taking her to the vet for that would just be more stress for all three of us.


Anonymous said...

Rebecca - it almost makes me wonder if the refusal to come with you is a fear response to something? Nick and June both (more June) will do things like that if something frightens them (ie June the thunder, Nick the vacuum cleaner). Have you guys been having thunder or things of that nature? I don't know if your dog reacts to noises or not, but something to consider.

I'm sending you some pain easing vibes my friend.

~ Laura

Samantha said...

Aww poor Molly. I don't really know what to suggest. Laura's idea is a good one, maybe something is upsetting her like that.
I would probably be taking some time out with like you are doing and see how she goes the next few days.
Maybe she is picking up on your health, they are very sensitive.
I hope she feels better soon and is back to her usual self.

Rebecca and Molly the Border Collie said...

Thanks Laura for the vibes and Sam for the nice thoughts.

I do think it is quite possible that there is a fear factor. Something may have happened that I didn't realize. But Molly has also shown signs of fear an earlier time that we decided was stress-related. When I came home from the hospital a while ago, she spent a lot of time hiding under the sofa and acting scared.

So I am doing my best to make the correct choices for her regardless of the cause. I will try to spend some making her comfortable near the washer without requiring anything of her. It is hard to know what might have happened.

anne.lednug@yahoo.com said...

I have found that it is really easy to try and rush service dog training. especially when you need help right now. Often when I would find myself pushing a bit harder and faster than I should I noticed that Ralphie would either shut down or act really stupid almost like he couldn't hear me or had no idea of what i was asking even things that he already performed beautifully and consistently. Often I would also find that I wasn't being very consistent with the commands I give especially when in a lot of pain. I know that they do connect with you so that when you are off sometimes it extends to them. When I find this happening(not nearly as much these days) I go back to the very basics and just play a lot. But remember that slow is fast and even though it feels like forever your dog is learning so much not the least of which is thinking and how to learn. You are doing great. .I would definitely talk to your vet if it continues but I know what you mean about the stress of a vet visit

take care