About six weeks ago Digger went for someone who bent down to touch him. It has happened a couple of times since, and the gentleman has noticed ‘that look’ about him several times – especially when he wants to touch him – to wipe his feet or brush him perhaps.
Sixteen-month-old Jack Russel Digger is very little – the picture doesn’t do his beautiful soft coat and lovely little face justice. It was hard catching him still. He was on the go the whole time I was there.
Usually his male owner is throwing him a ball or toy to fetch all the time he’s in – almost on automatic whilst he watches TV. Digger drops it to be thrown over and over again.
Yesterday evening when I was there I asked the man to remove the toys. It was like Digger was going cold turkey. He was climbing the back of the chair, he peed on the floor several times and then he’d settle for a frantic chew to try to calm himself down before starting again with jumping behind me, licking my ear and biting my hair and whining to go out, only to come straight back in again.
If and when this ball game is introduced again it should be instigated by the gentleman only, and limited to five minutes in an evening. It is like Digger has a key in him and he’s being over-wound to breaking point. Meanwhile he needs plenty of things to chew, because chewing produces pheromones that help to calm him down.
I touched him gently and watched. After a while he subtly changed. He went still and his pupils dilated. I removed my hand.
Because the onset of this behaviour seemed so sudden and because there was no change in the dog’s life at the time so far as the man can see, I have suggested he takes Digger to the vet – just to make sure he’s well. If we have a headache we may well be less tolerant – just as if we are highly stressed we may be bad tempered. Digger looks fine but there may be something going on we can’t see.
Whatever the cause if it’s ever discovered, the treatment is much the same. Digger needs to be allowed to calm down. Family members make a huge fuss of him. He is adored. One minute he rules the roost – everything he wants he gets if he pesters for long enough – and the next minute he may be shouted at for jumping up and using his teeth.
I detect a rather confused, anxious little dog.
Email a few weeks later: ‘Thank you so much for your emails and words of encouragement. Digger is like a different dog within, i believe about 6 weeks ! I have taken an approach to the way i am with him thanks to yourself. We are now enjoying each others company so much more and you wont believe the tricks he has learnt already now he’s calmed. He also seems to really enjoy the tricks and is great at working out what i want him to do for me. He still has a bit of attitude but in a much nicer and different way than before and im happy with that as i feel he’s smart little fella and does have his own mind! Thanks again…’