Monday, June 13, 2016

The Coward

It's no secret that Barley acts big and bad most of the time. In class, she used to be the bully that liked to ensure that she was in charge--and I'm sure if I hadn't gotten better at reading her, she'd still take the opportunity to send her classmates that message. She shows no fear when we go to new trails and is ready to conquer the world.

But there are moments when Barley's bravery fails. Once, she was prancing alongside me on a trail and several swallows swooped down across our path and Barley flattened herself on the ground--and I won't even get started on how she reacts actual birds of prey. Kites are equally bad--we have to avoid trails that go by open fields on extra windy days because she'll put on the brakes.

Then there are thunder storms. We've tried the Thundershirt--I put it on Barley on a perfect sunny day without a storm in sight to see how it fit and she refused to move and wouldn't take treats. It was promptly returned. We've tried a couple samples of herbal supplements with no success. Anxiety medicine takes time to work and here storms often come up unexpectedly. So I let my poor dog be a coward and comfort her as much as possible.

I heard thunder. I will not touch that popcorn even though it's my favorite snack.

Most recently, Barley exhibited her cowardliness in an interaction with her brother cat. I went to the basement to start a load of laundry. Barley doesn't love the basement, but she'll usually come down with me. This time, I made it down before she got off the couch and started putting clothes in the washer. All of the sudden, I heard a panicked bark from upstairs. I called her and only got another bark in return, so I went to check on her. Soth was sitting at the top of the stairs, and every time Barley would try to come down them, he'd swat her and she'd cower.

Yeah. This guy is really intimidating.

Yet, somehow she feels brave enough to want to take on the two rotties on the other side of the fence that are bigger than she is. Sigh.

Does she contradict herself? Very well then, she contradicts herself. She is large, she contains multitudes. (Bonus points to anyone who knows what that's a reference to.) For more of Barley's complex identity, check out all of our other posts here.

12 comments:

  1. Love this story. A combination of my two pups. Lady Girl is a black lab/border collie, 8+ yrs young. Big girl, hates the thunders and any other load noises. Her little bro, Pookie, 10 mos., is a pekapoo. Has little dog/big dog syndrome. He also likes to bite and scratch.

    anncluck(at)att(dot)net Check out my facebook page, Crossposting and Advocating for Animals. Shared your story there and on twitter.

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    1. Thank you for sharing! It sounds like your two keep you on your toes ;)

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  2. That sure sounds like our Monty... He took on the neighbors three dogs last night, but got scared at a new weed in the yard earlier in the day.

    Monty and Harlow

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    1. They can be so strange sometimes! Barley will freak out over little things like weeds, too. I'm sure our neighbors would never believe that, though ;)

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  3. I love this blog. Rodrigo is the same way. He’s my little a-hole is many situations, but when my boyfriend organizes the garage (and things no longer look the same), it’s hard to get Rodrigo to walk to the doggy door (which is through the garage) on his own. I walk with him as he looks around with a panicked expression waiting for something to jump out and get him.

    I was going to recommend Ewegurt, but you said that you tried herbal supplements. It does wonders for Rodrigo during storms. The Thundershirt helps him too, but I rarely use it anymore.

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    1. Barley does that, too! She will freak out over new markers along her favorite trails or seeing a car in a driveway where she's never seen a car before. I think it's a very border collie trait since they tend to notice any little change in environment. Sometimes she cracks me up with the weird things she has meltdowns over.

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  4. I think every single dog I've had at some point has been blocked from going somewhere by one of the cats! I also think that most dogs have that one inexplicable fear...just like we humans have ours. Our current dogs have a lot of fears, but our late beagle Kobi had almost none...until he encountered the voice of the lady on the smoke/carbon monoxide detector....she said "fire, fire" and that sent our normally most easy going dog right into a panic.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. Poor Kobi! I'm not sure what Barley would think of something like that. She might prefer the "fire, fire" lady to her kitty brother ;)

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  5. Aren't they just the silliest things? Have you heard of Composure? It is by Vetriscience and I am using the Professional strength for Sampson and his separation issues. It has L-Theanine which is a stress reliever and also Colostrum, it has helped him immensely, even during storms. The other thing someone suggested to me is Melatonin, but my vet said that should only be used during the storms, not all the time, which is how I use the Composure.

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    1. I might have to ask our vet about that next time we're in there--it can be hard to figure out ahead of time whether storms are coming or not (we had them predicted all last week and only had one!), so it's hard to get timing right on things like that and I hate to give her something for no reason, you know? But it's definitely worth asking the vet about.

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  6. I think it is like at our house. The dogs defer to the cat even though she is a fraction of their size. At times it is comical.

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    1. It is funny to see a "big bad dog" cowering beside a cat :) I'm glad Barley isn't the only one!

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