Doggie Depression

Dear WOOF:

I am a first time dog owner. My "baby" is 3-year-old and Cosette is a 5lb. red toy poodle (very cute!) She is a great dog, but I feel sorry for her because she seems sad to me...always lying around, not too spunky. I feel like she doesn't have much to her life. She gets ALOT of love, but, my house is quiet (grown kids) and I feel like she is not happy. It's probably my conception, but is that all dogs do pretty much is lie around...it seems sad to me. She does get excited when we come home and plays about 5-10 minutes/day with her toys, but that's about it in a 24hr. period. Help me overcome this feeling of sadness for her.

Thank you very, very much!
 

Hello,

I understand your feelings for Cosette, and would agree that for a young dog she could have a little more spunk that what it sounds like she has.  To start, I would suggest a visit to the veterinarian to rule out any medical causes for her lack of energy first, just to be sure.

You don't mention it, but if she is a rescued dog, she's probably had very limited exposure to the world at large (and the fun stuff in it!), and so has no clue how great and exciting things outside the home environment are.

The goal will be to find things that she really enjoys doing, so that she looks forward to them. I'd like to offer you a few suggestions on how to go about this.

Enroll in a clicker training class. It's alot of fun for both dogs and people and will help build her confidence in novel environments with you. If she enjoys it (and we haven't met a dog that didn't!!!!) she'll look forward to going out to class each week with you.

If she does well with a basic class, perhaps you'd choose to continue with more advanced training - or even an agility or freestyle (dancing with your dog) class.

How about considering some daycare for her? She will have the benefit of fun social interaction with other dogs and people away from home.

At home, teach her to play with you more. Find toys that she really likes and engage her often. You may also want to consider some interactive toys that require her to play with the object to make treats fall out. Take her for frequent walks to the park or to other fun places, so that she looks forward to that too!

The more she likes life and the great things to do in it, the more spunk she'll develop! That's not to say that she won't thoroughly enjoy her long nap times...that' s, as they say "a dog's life"!

I hope you find these suggestions helpful.

The best to you and Cosette!

Lisa Patrona, Dip. CBST, CPDT-KA, ACDBC, AABP-CDT