Thursday, March 25, 2010
We currently have two dogs. Tahoe is a black lab cross, and Petey is part wolverine cross (just joking, terrier mix). Prior to Katie, these two (and our older dog that past away last year) were our fur-babies. Eddie and I have had a dog since we were engaged, and thus a four-legged child nearly our entire 13 year relationship. I can imagine that there is a bit of ruffled fur around here having been displaced by the munchkin.
That being said, this is a new weird dog behavior for me. Tahoe has developed a fear of our flooring. We have wood laminate throughout the entire house. We are messy people with pets, carpet could not handle us. Living in the Pacific Northwest you have muddy shoes at least 9 months of the year anyway, so we needed a durable flooring we could install ourselves. We've had this flooring for at least two plus years.
Her phobia causes her to slunk down low and walk on the flooring as if she is being electrocuted by it. This strange shuffle or spastic walk causes her to slip and fall. The more she slips and falls the more fearful she becomes. The more fearful she becomes the more spastic she gets on the flooring. And on the cycle goes.
Tahoe is a very healthy dog. No leg problems to cause her to fall. She runs up to 20 miles a week with me. She is an extremely sensitive dog. If you tug on the leash she has been known to crumble to the ground. And heaven forbid you raise your voice at her, she may not come to you for a week.
She became so fearful the other night she would just lay on our area rug and whine while looking longingly at her dog bed a few feet away. She was paralyzed by this fear of flooring she had walked on for years. Absolutely nothing had changed in the situation except for her anxiety.
This got me thinking about fears. I wonder how many times I have done this to myself. Become paralyzed because of nothing more than my own thoughts. My thoughts lead me to spastic action which has lead me to more negative thoughts and so on. When you are deep in this cycle it can be really hard to get out of it or even see that you are in it. I know I am not alone with horrible habit of staying up late at night and envision every possible horrible outcome to my worries.
You want to blame the situation. The flooring is slippery and difficult to walk on!!! Unfortunately the situation has never changed, it was always the same flooring and you've had no problem with previously. You want to blame yourself. My leg is not WORKING, I most have something seriously wrong with myself!!! Again, your leg is just fine and you can walk normal every where else without a problem.
There is a physical and mental inertia that comes with fear. Your body has a reaction to it as well. Tahoe was shaking, she was whining and she started to pant when I started working with her to walk on the floor. She is a very fit dog, and she was panting like I had just taken her on a long run. And in classic dog and person style she was farting.
Tahoe and I worked it out. Using a leash, dog treats and moving slow we were able to at least settle the fear down a bit. She can walk on the floor normal again about 80% of the time. But every once in awhile she falls down, and we have slow it down again. That fear rises up in her and takes over. Just like it rises up in me every once in awhile taking hold for awhile.