Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Is My Dog Depressed or Simply Resigned?



Something puzzling and mystifying has occurred in our life with Layla recently. It feels like she has suddenly turned into a mature and relatively calm dog, almost overnight. A few weeks ago I posted this Facebook status:

"Is the dog sweetly calm today because she is growing up or is she sick? Hmm, I recall asking myself the same question about my sons when they were little."
You have read the multiple blog posts on her wildness, destructiveness and many close calls to be sent away due to "irreconcilable differences." I did some research on her breed mixture. Layla is Labrador and Spaniel. (I love that she is Spaniel size, but has Lab hair.) The articles I read claimed that somewhere between 18 months and 2 years old, Labs will suddenly mature and be much easier to live with. Layla was 8 months old when we adopted her and we had a few bad habits to work on, but mostly she was just ridiculously active and destructive. 




She will be 2 years old next month and it seems my research is holding up. She still greets us and visitors with much more affection and enthusiasm than needed, but her overall mood is quiet, sleepy and calm. I am figuring that she has either hit that maturity mark or it has finally dawned on her that we are not the active family she was hoping to be adopted into. She will circle the house looking for one of us to play with or take her for a walk and then with a resigned sigh, plop herself down for a nap.

Possible explanations for Layla's calm behavior:

  • She has given up on the ideal adopted family that takes long walks everyday and plays fetch for at least 5 hours a day.
  • She has accepted that she landed in an old folks home.
  • She is depressed because one of the dogs at the park teased her about her bobbed tail, which is a no-no for Labradors but required for Spaniels and her birth family were Spaniels.
  • She is almost two and it's time to be a big girl like the well behaved German Shepherds next door.
  • The German Shepherds said something about her bobbed tail.
  • It's hot. It's raining. There is lightening. (All this happened in the last 4 days!)

I hope she is not unhappy or sick or depressed. I choose to go with the "two year old" theory. Layla still has issues with personal space; meaning you don't have any. She must picture herself as a tiny Chihuahua as she edges her butt onto your lap and completely blocks your view of the television. And she is still a goofy puppy when she encounters a new toy........


Toy lasted about 3 minutes.
So she will be 2 years old in June and I am happy to be out of the rebellious teen years of a dog's life!
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17 comments:

  1. Your doggy is so cute! I keep saying, with each dog, that this will be my last-- no more puppies. My current spoiled fur-baby is 10 and I'm saying the same thing. No more! But then I see your puppy being so cute and good. Maybe.....

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    1. To have multiple dogs would be so fun, but not too realistic for us. Just the one has turned our home life upside down. Ha!

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  2. And YOU survived! I remember when you weren't too sure that you would...I'm so happy for Layla AND you! I don't think she is depressed or sick, I believe she is finally just realizing that she's safe to let herself settle down and relax in her home. (I mean, YOUR home!)

    I've enjoyed your doggy from afar. She's made for some good material!!! LOL!

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  3. We have a lab/something that might be pit or maybe German shorthair mix. She was bat crap crazy for a while there but seemed to be calming down, even if just a little. Then, since we decided to pay people medical bills instead of fixing her, she went into heat. And she is bat crap crazy again. But she isn't even a year yet so we will give her time!

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    1. Oh no! She is still young so there is hope in the future.

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  4. She is very cute! It's too bad I have a prejudice against Labs. No offence. :-) We've had our share of run-ins with Small Town undisciplined and unattended Labs in this place. They are super friendly dogs (yay) but need a very firm grasp of discipline (aka, people that care about training them)at least that's been my experience. I also have a daughter that is terrified to the point of near fainting. I'm glad your cutie is getting more laid back. I think it's probably maturity and training.

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    1. That is so sad! Dogs are not supposed to be off-leash here and I am thankful the most people obey that rule. But I would love to feel confident enough in her obedience to let her off-leash, but not happening so far. I'd hate to have her excitement overwhelm a little kid on our block and cause some harm. So we keep her in control at all times unless in a dog park. They are wonderful!!

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  5. It's the 2 years for sure! I remember the day our elderly Border Collie / Golden Retriever mix hit the 2 year mark. It was magical. No more mistaking peeing for a sign of affectionate greeting, nor needing 10 mile runs to exhaust her energy. Thank God Randy was a dedicated runner back then. Now she is a grand old 16 and has the heart but not the legs to run endlessly. We can keep up with her and find it hard to remember those long ago days of boundless energy. Congratulations. All survived and you have lovely years ahead!

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    1. Thanks, yes, I hope she is with us for a long time.

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  6. Layla's journey makes me hopeful. And hopeful that none of your bullet points are the reason, though on our Kincade's quiet days, I'm sure they must be. Or that he's hiding something. Or that he's eaten something he'll vomit up in some inappropriate place in a few minutes. Or...any one of a thousand things. He's a year behind her (and a whole lot bigger at 120 lbs now), and our 6 year old Springer doesn't have much patience for the teenager. Like you, there have been many days when I am about a centimeter away from giving him away. Hopefully summer--and less rain, ie. mud!--will be better.

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    1. OMG the vomiting! Layla has not done it too often, but it does happen sometimes because she eats the dumbest things! She eats wood branches, plastic, loves paper, she chews rocks and I have to grab the pinecones that fall because those are horrible to eat. Yikes! We (Hubs) finally stopped giving her people food because it made her sick. So tempting when she is being so polite, but still sitting there staring at every bite we put in our mouths. Ha!

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  7. Well, I'm no dog psychologist, so I have no better answers than you do. Just keep giving her lots of love, and you'll all be fine.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting
    Life in the Urban Forest (poetry)

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  8. all of our dogs did this sort of sudden transition from puppy to adolescent to adulthood. all of a sudden they werent babies anymore! Our dog now was older when we got him but he has been aloof since the day we got him.

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    1. It was a tough season when we first got her at 8 or 9 months! She did not respect me at all and I even had some moments of being afraid of her. Not good at all! But she is very loving and so social. She calms down when she's had enough attention, but we can't give her attention when she is rowdy so she will figure that out I'm sure.

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  9. How exciting! She is gorgeous, by the way. ... Now, are you telling me maturity will some day come with the children too?! I'm feeling a bit lightheaded over the thought. ;)

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All comments are good comments!

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