Blog backlog: Anniversary and crazy Sophie

Greyhound related , Kim or Matt related August 19th, 2013

Matt and I took our customary jaunt out to the coast for our anniversary (7 years!) during the first week of August. Since Sophie did well at the ranch on our last trip, we figured we’d be fine taking the dogs along. (Side note: Someone at breakfast commented, “You have videos of your dogs on the internet.” Well, yes, but how did you know? Answer: She found my video of the dogs while doing internet research on the Howard Creek Ranch Inn.)

We did our usual, taking lots of walks on the beach,

Beach walk

and Matt did some geeking out at a different beach, where he spotted a geological feature called an anticline.


Sounds good, right? Well, it was. For us. And for Philip.

Philip tidepool

Not so much for Sophie, however, who has become, improbable as it may sound, still more crazy.


She’s always been afraid of people, but now it seems like there’s no safe distance — if she can see them, she’s upset. As if that’s not enough, she’s become very sound-sensitive, too — if she can hear people, she’s upset. So in addition to her Zoloft and her weekly training class, we tried a Thundershirt and Calming Cap¬†to see if they helped alleviate her anxiety.

Sophie's traveling gear

The answer was yes. . . and no. They helped (although Sophie really hates the Calming Cap and spends a great deal of time trying to remove it when it’s on), but not enough to keep her calm if, say, she heard anyone upstairs. Or if we went through a drive-through. Or stopped in a busy parking lot.

(One thing she doesn’t care about, though: My personal space.)

Sophie on my legs

When we got home, we scheduled another appointment with our vet behaviorist, who upped the dose of Zoloft and added another medication to Sophie’s regimen (trazodone). So far, no good, so the next step is likely to be to wean her off the Zoloft and try a different medication. In the meantime, she’s gotten worse again, and now she won’t go out the front door. So no walks, no dog park, no nothing. I now have an agoraphobe. (And you thought it couldn’t get worse. . . well, me too. More fool we.)

So I got another training book, and have a one-on-one consultation with Nancy next week, and in the meantime am trying to implement tips from both. So Sophie is being rewarded any time she looks at me (Nancy’s idea) and I’m training her to target (both the book and Nancy’s idea) and to relax on a mat (the book’s idea). Naturally, this called for a homemade mat.

Sophie mat front

It’s reversible, too. And made entirely from scraps!

Sophie mat back

So wish me luck, I guess. Sigh. (Double sigh.)

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