Thursday, August 23, 2012

Little Miss Manipulator

I have recently discovered that Lucy can be very manipulative when she really wants something. For example the other day she really wanted me to go outside with her. It had been a hot week and by the time I get home from work all she wants to do is sleep because it is so hot out. So this day she was determined to get me outside. First, she did her usual little dance and run outside, which is her way of telling me I need to follow her. I did the opposite and just ignored her. Later, I happened to be by the back door picking something up when I realize that my flip flop was outside, then I looked a little harder and saw that both of them were sitting out on the deck. I then stepped outside and retrieved my flip flops and told Lucy that I was not coming out to play with her. She didn't like that answer so she ran inside grabbed her Monster Mouth biscuit toy (the one I fill up before I leave) and ran outside with it. I watched her throw it up in the air and then she sat and stared at me. My response after a quick eye roll was to tell her to bring her  toy back inside. This of course leads to her playing dumb, which is a whole other post! So then I of course go outside in the flip flops she provided me and picked up her toy. I figured she worked this hard to get my lazy bum outside I might as well throw some Frisbees for her!

Lucy also likes to manipulate her grandpa and grandma. They spoil her so much! She has her own toy box over flowing with toys at their house. Not to mention every time she goes over there Grandpa has a biscuit sitting out on their end table and Grandma has put a biscuit in her red bone for her. After five seconds of running in their house both are about gone. She then manipulates anyone she can to fill her red bone again. She does this by laying or throwing her red bone in your lap. If no one bites she takes it up a notch by continuing to jump in her Grandpa's lap and laying the red bone on his leg or chest. This usually happens several times before her Grandpa gets so annoyed with her dropping a slobbery bone in his lap that he gets up and fills it again for her. The joke when leaving their house is that Lucy will have a biscuit hangover the next day!

Lucy even manipulates strangers into giving her treats. Anytime we go through a drive-thru she sits up nice and tall so everyone can see her. Then if she has been there before and has gotten treats before she will try to mug you as you pull away. She also manipulates pet stores. Every time we go up to pay at the pet store she jumps up and puts her front paws on the counter and gives the poor cashier her biggest puppy dog eyes. Of course they bite and give her a treat. She then eats it quickly and does it again. The second time around they don't always bite but most of the time they do! We then walk out of the store calling her Little Miss Piggy!

She is too smart for her own good!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Separation Anxiety

Shortly after getting Lucy, we discovered that she was a special dog.  After some run ins with some kennels and our couch we discovered that she had Separation Anxiety. Separation Anxiety is a real thing in dogs. Some vets including our first one didn't believe me when I told her. She sent us in the direction of sedating her while we were gone and tiring her out. Hello, Lucy is a Jack Russell and Australian Shepperd, two very active dogs that do not tire easily. She also thought we needed to change the behavior but would not do anything for the anxiety. Changing her behavior would be great if she wasn't anxious! The vet sent us to an one on one training with a trainer that cost us $70.00! The trainer was shocked to find the hole Lucy had made through her kennel in one day, and agreed that kenneling her would not be safe until we curbed the anxiety part. Another time our vet actually told me I should go out and buy a treadmill for my dog to run on. I did my best not to laugh at her.

I finally reached my breaking point when I came home one day to find my couch destroyed yet  again. At the time I was in a long term substitute teaching position in first grade and had just come home from a Response to Intervention (RTI) meeting. RTI is way for teachers to come up with interventions to help students get on the right path for learning, whether it is behavior or a low student academically. At that point I called and made an appointment with a new vet and prepared for another battle. I sat down and wrote out every intervention I had already done to try and help Lucy.
Lucy's Interventions:
  • Every morning walk/run for 20-30 minutes
  • 10 minutes of playing Frisbee
  • Playing hide and seek
  • Giving her tricky/smart toys
  • Thundershirt
  • Sedatives
  • Crates
  • Covering and putting things up
  • Restricting access
  • I exit through the front instead of garage
  • Keeping the blinds closed
I also wrote out what all she had done while doing those interventions.
  • Destroyed 3 crates

  • Destroyed a rug
  • Destroyed couches
    • Behind cushions approximately four or five times
    • Back two times
    • Armrest one time
    • Love seat front one time

  • Molding of a closet

  • Bedroom door scratch marks
  • Tore up toilet paper twice
  • Scratched up downstairs door
I also took pictures. Like I said I was prepared to fight this vet and prove a point. To my surprise the vet totally got it right away before I even showed him the list or the pictures. He then put Lucy on Trazodone, which is a human anti-depressant but has been found to help dogs with anxiety as well. He told me it is a maintenance pill and if it didn't help then we could try Prozac. Needless to say we love our vet!

Over the last year Lucy has calmed down some! People who knew her before and now have said she doesn't jump as much and seems calmer. Plus if I forget to give her her pill you can most certainly tell!

When I would tell people about Lucy and my frustrations they would tell me how I needed to take Lucy back to the pound. But that is not fair to Lucy or the next person who would fall in love with her. If I had done that chances are her next family would do it. Which only leaves me to think that she would eventually be put down after returning to the pound so many times. Trust me though there were and I'm sure will be more days where the thought will cross my mind that I should take her to the pound, but I love her too much to ever actually do it. She is my daughter, or better yet doghter.

Recently, I was calling some boarding places to place Lucy at when we go on vacation in a few months. When I asked one place experience they have with dogs with separation anxiety, he informed me that most dogs loose the separation anxiety after the owner leaves. Again I did my best not to laugh on the phone. Needless to say she will not be staying there. Many people do not understand Lucy and her anxiety or thinks what I do for her is crazy, but hey its a way of life for us. Lucy may never be cured of her anxiety but I will always love her and she will always know that she is safe and loved!

Monday, May 21, 2012


When we first got Lucy, I took her to a training class at our local Pet Smart store. One of the first things our trainer told us was that dogs do not understand us. All they hear is "wawawa" like the teacher from Peanuts. I of course strongly disagree with that statement. I believe that dogs have their own language but just like humans when they are fully submersed in our language they learn and understand it too. Lucy has proven this point to me so many times!

She understands when I tell her to get her toy. Or at night before bed we get her toys ready for the next day. One day I tested her to see if she knew her toys. I asked her to bring me a toy she wanted for the next day. She brought over her green biscuit toy. I filled it up and before I could ask her for her next toy she was already bringing it to me! Just last night I asked her to get me her pink peanut butter toy (a Kong) and I told her it was in her toy box. She walked right over to her toy box and started digging around until she came out with her Kong! If she didn't understand English, how did she know exactly what toy I wanted?

Another way she understands us is from my lecturing. My mom was the one that started it and works just about every time. As many know she is part Jack Russell which means she is a jumper! When my friend came over with her little girl, my mom told Lucy that Maddie is just a baby and we don't jump on babies. When Maddie came in the house Lucy did not jump on her. A couple of weeks ago I gave that same lecture on our way to see my cousin and her little girl. I also told Lucy to be on her best behavior. When we got to their house Lucy was a completely different dog! She was actually behaving like a normal dog!! I could not believe my eyes!
She only jumps a little....

At our house I can tell her to go upstairs and she follows my directions. If she didn't understand us and I have never trained her with a hand gesture, how would she know what I was saying?

She is one smart cookie! She may have her bad days, but I still love her! She has been doing well lately!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Is Lucy Autistic?

I have had experience with kids who are on the Autism Spectrum and I am seeing that Lucy fits on the Autism Spectrum too. I know this sounds silly but I am going to prove that Lucy fits on the spectrum.

"Often, you will see one or more overlapping disorders, including seizures, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, immune dysfunction, hyperactivity, obsessive behaviors, anxiety, mood regulation, and depression. None of these on their own would indicate a presence of an autism spectrum disorder, however, many children with ASD will have one or more of these co-morbid symptoms." ( From this Lucy fits with these disorders, she is hyperactive, has anxiety and obsessive behavior. She is hyperactive, which anyone who has met Lucy knows she is extremely hyper. She has already been diagnosed with separation anxiety. Obsessive behavior probably is new to most, but it is true. She will get in moods where all she can do is lick, lick, and lick. Which yes I know dogs do all the time but her licking is obsessive she does not stop even when you tell her to stop. She will also just walk around a room licking the floor like crazy. There are also times when she has to suck on something especially your hand.

Some other evidence she has Autism:

"Many people with an ASD have unusual interest or behaviors.
Examples of unusual interests and behaviors related to ASDs:
  • Lines up toys or other objects
  • Plays with toys the same way every time
  • Likes parts of objects (e.g., wheels)
  • Is very organized
  • Gets upset by minor changes
  • Has obsessive interests
  • Has to follow certain routines
  • Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles"
Out of these behaviors Lucy shows a few of these. For "Lines up toys or other objects" Lucy always eats her food by drawing a line in the middle and only eats half at a time. Also having to have food certain ways is a behavior commonly saw in children with Autism. Lucy does "get upset by minor changes". When we change things on her she has melt downs. This also ties into "has to follow certain routines". She does not like it when we change her routines. For example this morning Terry didn't take her for a walk before he went to work and she started having a melt down on the bed. She started biting and rolling around on the bed. When she does go for her walks in the morning she usually comes into the bedroom hyper but calms down quickly and goes back to sleep with out any biting or rolling around. Other times when she goes into melt down mode is when she gets frustrated. When she gets frustrated she attacks furniture and flops on the ground groaning. It is very hard to console her and get her after the mode until she gets what she wants, which is usually me coming home.
"People with an ASD often thrive on routine. A change in the normal pattern of the day—like a stop on the way home from school—can be very upsetting to people with an ASD. They might “lose control” and have a “melt down” or tantrum, especially if in a strange place.
Some people with an ASD also may develop routines that might seem unusual or unnecessary. For example, a person might try to look in every window he or she walks by a building or might always want to watch a video from beginning to end, including the previews and the credits. Not being allowed to do these types of routines might cause severe frustration and tantrums." (
For routines Lucy knows her routine every morning and will demonstrate what we are to do next. So many times after she comes in from outside she immediately runs upstairs and shows me that I need to go into the bathroom. When I leave the bedroom she runs straight downstairs to where we keep her laser. She does not like it if we skip playing laser.

Another common feature of Autism is being really smart in one area. It is usually the logical side of the brain. Lucy is also very smart, in ways I don't think most dogs are. She can pick up toys and look for toys that I tell her to get. She is very quick at solving puzzles. Another thing with this is that she focuses on one thing, which is common with Autism. She has a hard time getting things out of her head, such as if she thinks she is going to play Frisbee with you she will continually grab her frisbee and run at you with it, no matter how many times you tell her you are not going to play with her.

Overall I do believe Lucy is Autistic. One night at work Terry brought Lucy to school with him to help me. I walked her down to my friend's room who was also working late and who teaches adjustment. I asked her if Lucy was Autistic, and she rambled off different symptoms, many that I just discussed. I answered yes to every symptom she rambled off. I know many people will think I'm crazy saying my dog is Autistic but I do believe she is from her actions. Many people have told me after hearing stories about Lucy that I should find a different home for her, and my response is that she is my child. If I had a child with special needs I would never give her up, so why should I give up Lucy who is my child even though she is a dog.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Exciting but exhausting times

A lot has happened in the past few months in the entertaining world of Lucy! There has been a lot of eating... Things Lucy has eaten recently that are not food worthy:
1. Polar bear ornament
2. Santa off the tree skirt (She didn't get any presents from Santa this year. I'm pretty sure she got put on the naughty list for eating him.)
3. Two shatter proof bulbs off the tree (She wasn't feeling great the next day!)
4. Pot holders off the counter
5. Dish towels and rags off the counter
6. Rabbit poo (I only know this because she threw it up on the floor in my bedroom.)

She has been very entertaining during the holidays. Yesterday we dumped a big a bag full of socks on her at my mom's house. It was a prime ADHD moment she couldn't decide what sock she wanted the most. We had fun tormenting her with her socks. But she was great at helping clean up. I would give her a sock and tell her to give it to grandma. She did it about 80% of the time!

These last two weekends have been exhausting for her since we have not been home much for her to get cat naps in. Yesterday she just about fell over trying not to fall asleep. Last Monday I was vaccuuming so I allowed her to lay in my bed while I worked. She ended up sleeping in my bed all day. Although every hour or so she would come to the top of the stairs and make sure I was still there then back to bed she went!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lucy and her socks

Lucy has a weird fascination with socks. Terry put it best when he said "Whether they are clean, dirty or smelly she will still love'em!" We first discovered her fascination with socks when she started carrying Terry's socks into bed with her and sleeping with them. Well then she discovered that not only do they make a perfect bedmate but also a great playmate! She started playing with them. She is hilarious when she plays with socks! She loves to run around with them in her mouth and tossing them in the air. When she gets bored of playing with them she starts to chew on them. Almost all of Terry's socks have holes in them now, mine not so much. ( I wonder who remembers to pick up their socks??)

We try not letting her have socks because she does chew them up. One night I was upstairs watching t.v. and Terry was downstairs on his computer with the door closed between the rooms. All of a sudden I hear Lucy outside running around. So I jumped up to see what she was doing and lord and behold she was running around the yard throwing something in the air and catching it. Not knowing what she had found in the yard I quickly called her to me. She ran to me and proudly showed her new toy to mommy. It was one of Terry's socks. So I asked her did Daddy give this to you or did you steal it? I went downstairs to ask and as I was asking Lucy grabbed his other sock and started making towards the door. It had turned out they were stolen socks.

The best is when you catch her with one and she acts like she doesn't have it by laying her head over it. When we went camping awhile back ago I was packing and had all of our clothes laid out. I walked out of the room to get something and little Miss Lucy followed with a pair of clean socks in her mouth! If you want to keep your socks don't let Lucy alone in the same room as them!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lucy's New Squeaky Toy

Last night Lucy found herself a new squeaky toy. Here is the story of how it happened! Last night I sent Lucy outside to go potty for bed time. After awhile Terry asked me if she had a squeaky toy outside with her. Currently she only has one and I located it inside fairly quickly. I then too heard the same squeaking. So we went outside to investigate. I found her on the side of the house and she looked very happy with what she found. Terry called her to him and she came running with something in her mouth. Terry told her to drop it and to our surprise it was a baby bunny! Bigger than last year's bunnies, but still a baby. I quickly tried getting Lucy inside and to get a box for Terry. When we returned outside Terry had lost the bunny.

That was the beginning of his and Lucy's search for their bunny. We quickly concluded that it must have went under the deck. Lucy was sniffing everything like crazy. She even squeezed under the deck following the scent. I quit and started getting ready for bed. After awhile I went out looking for them. They had ended up in the front yard and Lucy was still following the scent. I interrupted them, but Terry was convinced that it was in our garden up close to the house. As he was searching I was watching Lucy behind him by the fence. And all be darn she found that poor bunny! It squeezed through the fence but Terry went and got it out of the neighbor's side yard. He was convinced we should keep it. I kept telling him to put it back. He did put it down and it hopped to a nearby grown bunny.

Today Lucy continued tracking that poor bunny in the backyard. I think she wants it back! Oh what an adventure!
This is from last year.