Overall, he came from the rescue with a few issues, but nothing destructive or dirty, and he’s normally pretty chilled out. He likes visitors, but doesn’t usually jump on them. He’s not much of a barker, he’s toilet trained, and he’s generally pretty independent.
But having a pet always comes with some challenges, and ours are heightened by the fact that it’s just me and him all by ourselves to get over some of those issues.
One of the big challenges for Archie is that he likes to have a human around. He’s happy to lie in the garden in the sun all morning while I work inside, but the second I go out of the house and he can’t get to me, the crying starts. This, I have since learned, is one of the big reasons why family number one chose to surrender him to rescue.
I hoped that he’d settle into life with me, being happy that I’m home a lot more than his first family, but we’ve been together for seven months and we’re still working on the sooking while I’m out. He also gets into what I call “the bark zone” when we’re out and he is stressed, or excited, or wants something. It’s been hard to train him out of these habits because I can’t predict the situation (sometimes he’s great while we’re out, sometimes he’s not) and I also can’t replicate it at home in a training situation. Also, it’s really hard to stop a dog from crying when you’re not home if he only cries when you’re not home!
The worst part about this is because he and I are so in tune with each other (don’t laugh, it’s true!), we seem to feed of each other’s anxieties. So I get anxious about him being anxious when I’m not home, and then he gets upset because I’m upset… we’re a messy pair sometimes.
With this in mind, I’ve been working towards helping Archie to overcome his separation anxiety by taking a few different steps. In the last three months, he’s really turned a corner.
Some intense training was high on the list of things we’ve tried, along with enrolling him in doggy daycare, making changes to his diet, and just learning to be patient with each other. In the next Archie-related post, I’ll start to talk a little about these specific things (there’s just too many aspects to each to write about in one blog post). But I’ve definitely seen him settle down a lot as a result of this work and I’m optimistic that the crying for Ma will stop completely before the year is finished.
Have you got a dog who has overcome separation anxiety? Or who gets into ‘the bark zone’ while you’re out? I would love to hear about your experiences and am always open to advice, so make sure to leave a comment below!
The beautiful photos of Archie are by Hairypants Photography