Beautiful and much-loved Louie (on the left) and Kiki have recently had a huge change in their lives. Five-year-old dark red Golden Retriever Kiki is a stable and confident dog and it seems not to have affected her, but Louie has only lived with the couple for about two years – he is now nine years of age – and life had not been good for him previously. The lady moved with the dogs to the UK about four months ago and the gentleman, who has a very close relationship with Louie, stayed behind and has only just joined them.
Louie, a Red Setter, had a ‘lampshade’ around his head. He was recovering from an operation on his foot to an injury brought about by his obsessive digging. Where most dogs might hear a little animal under the ground and dig for a short while (their ears are so much better than our own), Louie becomes obsessed. It is even possible now that he is now digging for the sake of digging. He cries and growls as he digs. If he has doggie boots then frantically he tries to bite the ground instead.
Before leaving the house Louie is so overwhelmed with excitement that he can hardly breathe. He is gasping.
When they had him about two years ago he had lots of phobias and they have come a long way. It is not surprising that the upheavel in his life has brought on a new one. This is also a case of owners over-compensating for the past and maybe also because they have to leave the dogs alone all day – by allowing them to make nearly all their own decisions – whether it’s where to sleep, when to be fed, when and where to go out or when they will get attention. This can be just as much a burden for a dog as it would a child. It can make a dog needy, resulting in separation issues.
These are wonderful, friendly dogs. There are a few behaviour things that need ironing out, from Kiki’s wanting everything under her own terms, refusing to come when called and going on strike if asked to move when she doesn’t want to, to Louie’s distress when left alone with just Kiki, his restless pacing and digging obsession.