This is Boris, a delightful five-year-old Miniature Daschund. He is a little shy, a sensitive soul. Delightful.
Boris has had a big upheavel in his life. A couple of weeks ago they moved into a large house with a swimming pool.
Too many people and too much noise
Boris has become very upset and barking when friends come to the house. The two sons naturally want to invite their friends round for a swim. They are young adult males, making too much noise for Boris, playing ball, shouting, splashing and maybe teasing him.
By the pool Boris goes wild, barking, panting and drooling. His lady owner is becoming increasingly stressed with the situation – which he will be picking up on.
Poor little dog.
Boris has always been excitable when people arrive, but was fine with me because nobody took much notice of him. I could read an underlying anxiety, however, and he needs to be treated gently and quietly.
One big problem is that guests, especially with a bit of social alcohol in them, ignore instructions! They will wind up the dog – maybe unintentionally – doing the very opposite of what they have been asked.
In the past, Christmases have been similar – with large numbers of people, too much noise, wrapping paper, excitement and alcohol. Boris would more or less panic – constantly barking. If he is shut away, he continues the constant barking. Stress builds up in a dog and he can be left, for several days, in a state – unwinding.
After a short bark when I walked in, Boris didn’t bark once when I was there, showing he would be fine if all the humans acted in a certain way.
The family will all work together
The whole family will work together to insist that guests comply. It seems that it’s people playing with a ball that fires him up the most (he is somewhat ball obsessed), so while he is about there should, for now, be no ball play. He needs to be desensitised gradually to swimming pool noises, with the lady taking him safely further away from too much noise, to the front of the house, and then working on gradually getting him nearer.
Boris also needs to learn to be left happily alone, somewhere quiet and safe. He could then sleep through it all, out of the way in the kitchen.
It’s natural for a dog to vocalise in play (after all, the humans are making a lot of noise!), but it affects him psychologically to get into quite such a state; because of his barking, the people, too, become stressed, frustrated and cross.
They now have a better understanding of Boris and will work together to help him.