The Howling... or my dogs broken heart.

Not as sad as it might sound…cept for the the HOWWWWLLLINNNNGG.

My Wife took ONE of our dogs to the groomer this morning. It’s pretty much an all day deal since they are 2 hours and 100 miles of mountain driving away.

Dog two is with me. She is just crushed that she did not ‘get’ to go too. See, the pack has been broken up. She is literally HOWLING. The noise vibrates my desk. She’s about 65 lbs of mixed bread pointer/hunting dog with some border collie somehow mixed up in there. Black and white, short hair. Shelter dog. Has some issues about being abandoned.

How do they manage to make their lips into that perfect ‘O’ for the HOOWWWWWWEELLLLL.

I’m torn between trying to comfort her (doesn’t seem to help), and trying to just play and get her mind off it (helps for a minute but I can’t keep that up all day), or just ignore her a bit like now and just have a ‘normal’ day around the house. This would be scratches and drive by attention as I do my stuff. And just some extra of everything.

Gonna have to try to just have a normal day. As much as I feel sorry that her heart is broken, I don’t want to reinforce her behavior (though it’s perfectly normal). I think If I don’t make a big deal out of the ‘pack’ being broken up, maybe she will follow my lead.

……… Seems to be working…… Well, maybe not……This started at 5:30am…… It’s gonna be a long day.

Mean Mommy checking in here: if you give her extra attention for pitching a fit, then she will do it again the next time Dog One leaves the house for the all-day grooming expedition. Guarantee it. And you are absolutely correct that you don’t want to reinforce bad behavior.

Grit your teeth and totally, absolutely, 100% ignore the howling. Don’t pay her any more attention than you normally would in the course of the day. You’re right, comforting her won’t work, and actually makes it worse, because it’s out of the ordinary–you don’t normally spend that much time on the floor with her, hugging her–and she knows this perfectly well, so you make her even more worried and suspicious. “Why is he doing this? There must be something wrong! Oh noooooooo!!!”

Is this the first time for this? If so, comfort yourself with the knowledge that the next time Dog One goes for grooming it will be much, much better, I promise. And the third time will be even better. And by the fourth time, it’ll hardly even cause a wave. You just gotta be patient and get through this.

Also, Mrs. Enipla will thank you, because if you don’t nip this in the bud now, and Dog Two continues to pitch a fit anytime Dog One leaves for the day, eventually Dog Two will extend this to “anytime anybody leaves”, even just to take out the trash, and then you WILL have serious problems.

Ask yourself this question: if this were a human toddler that was having a temper tantrum, would you give it little treats, and cuddle it, and go, “awwwww”, and take it to Toys R Us and buy it a big toy? No, you wouldn’t. You’d ignore the temper tantrum, knowing that reinforcing it will only make it worse next time–you don’t want Kiddo to learn that she can get things out of you (treats, attention) by whining, nagging, and screaming.

So buckle down. It’ll be a long day, but you’ll thank yourself later.

Go buy some earplugs. Those soft squashy ones work great.

ETA: Also, babies go through “separation anxiety” when Mommy leaves their field of view–it’s just something that they have to learn for themselves, that Mommy always comes back. So Dog Two, in the shelter, learned that “people go away and never come back”. But now is when Dog Two will start learning that “people go away–and come back again.”

I’ll second this. One time my dad accidently stepped on our new puppy’s foot pretty hard. She limped around for a day or two and we gave her lots of sympathy and attention. From then on whenever she was scolded she would go limping off as if she were in agony.

Comforting is a bad idea, as noted above, but… do you do any training with this dog? obedience, trick work, etc? A regular training session will often break a dog out of the howling rut, and it is work, not attention for the howls.

Funny you should post this - I run a “board and train” service in the winters, and just had this same experience yesterday. One of two family terriers got picked up part way through the day to go to a modeling job, and the remaining girl started screaming. What a nasty sound! She got extra lessons, and settled down nicely.

We have a golden retriever with severe abandonment issues (among many other problems – he’s the sweetest dog in the world but is a poster child for inbreeding), and even he has learned that people (read: Mommy) will come back again. The first time I went out of town, apparently he sulked and whimpered and was the most pitiful dog in the entire universe; but when I came home, a little light went off in his dim brain. And the next time it was much better, and now he barely notices when I leave – oh, he pretends to have suffered cruelly for a minute when I come home again, but nobody believes it, including him.

Same thing with leaving him at the kennel. The first time he hated being left, and was beyond thrilled when I showed up to collect him again. Now he trots off happily, knowing he’ll have a lovely doggie vacation and that Mommy will be back to collect him eventually.

So I third the vote for putting up with the howling. Just act normal and next time it’ll be easier, and after a few times it should stop altogether or only last a minute or two.

Good advice, all around.

And to reassure everyone, the upset dog, and myself are fine.

Dog 1 is Rozee.
Dog 2 is Kricket. Kricket is the unhappy one right now. But she got over it. I ignored her wailings and just treated her as I always do. (head scratches and voice)

I did give Kricket a bit of extra attention initially. And closed the doggy door so she would not try to chase my Wife and Rozee all the way to Denver.

Two dogs is a VERY different dynamic than having just one. I am very used to having a dog in my life. I always have. We now have two female dogs in the house from the same shelter. All in all, it has worked well. But someone wants to be in charge (dog wise) and I know that that is the way packs work.

The dogs do know that my Wife and I are the leaders of the pack.

Kricket (the dog that is with me) just felt that she was missing out on something when her ‘sister’ left with ‘Mom’.

Boy, oh boy, can she ever howl. Wolf man at the full moon howl has nothing on her. As a dog person, and lover of our furry friends, I have never heard anything like it. I could feel it through this desk. It vibrated. It’s heart wrenching.

I’ll make sure that we go out for a walk sometime today if the weather is to a point that it is acceptable for man and …… man’s best friend.

It’s 0 Fahrenheit here right now with 30mph winds, so a walk is something neither our dog or I really want. We will go out a little later when it gets a bit warmer.

And to reassure, again, no more howling. Kricket is fine now.

Thanks for allowing me to share. It’s been a bit of a rough (ruff) morning.

To add to Duck Duck Goose’s excellent advice, I would suggest having a few things on hand to distract Kricket when it’s time for Rozee to go to the groomer’s. Stuff a Kong with peanut butter and freeze it overnight beforehand. When Rozee starts to go out the door say very cheerfully, “Look what I’ve got!” and hand Kricket the yummy, long-lasting treat. Chances are, she’ll spend hours working on it and barely have time to notice that her sister is absent.

If she finishes it before Rozee returns, play a game of Flashlight or play fetch with her to wear her out. In other words, keep her too busy to be anxious. If you do this every time, her little brain will absorb the idea that maybe Rozee leaving isn’t such a bad thing-- she gets treats and extra games!

When you return and the dogs greet you in their mad manner, you should ignore them for a while, its part of the pack thing, you are the leader and you greet them on your terms, which means they have to wait until you are ready.

Keep your greeting, when you are ready, on fairly low terms too, but make sure to give them a small tidbit, agian it shows them you are leader and what a great ‘hunter’ you are.

This also helps a lot with the abandonment issues.

My dog 2 (Jazz) looks to my dog 1 (Ladybug) as her sort-of mom or big-sister or something. She never gets far away from her. Yeah, she’s a rescue dog, too. We don’t know what it’s going to do to Jazz when Ladybug “goes”, which may not be more than a year or so away, if that.

Throw on some Warren Zevon. May as well get a duet going.