||[Oct. 21st, 2006|07:16 pm]
it's me or the dog
My neutered male standard poodle, 6, Mookie (named after Mookie wilson), has a habit of digging a lot. He digs actual holes outside during walks, and when he is indoors, stand on the couch and try to dig a hole between the cushions, it's actually really bad for the upholstery. It is not uncommon for me to wake up at night to find him standing on the foot of my bed trying to dig a hole in my mattress. We think this a nervous habit of some sort, but I thought it would be helpful to ask here before we pay for a professional trainer. It's been happening ever since his puppyhood. When we catch him doing it, we scold him, call him a bad dog in a mean tone of voice and we furrow our brows to look angry, and he sulks off, knowing he's done something to displease us. Here is a bit of medical history, in case it may have something to do with it: Three years ago, he was acting very lethargic and we noticed he had to urinate a lot. We immediately took him to the vet and after some X-rays and a blood test, they determined that his liver was failing. Antibiotics did not work, and they could not do a biopsy because bilirubin (I'm not sure what that is, but I know it's a liver thing) affects how well your blood clots so there was a high risk of him bleeding too much. After about a week of vets working around the clock trying this and that to save his life, they told us that we will probably have to say goodbye forever because his condition was rapidly deteriorating, and all they were able to do was scratch their heads. But every vet learns in school not to give up on a mysterious ailment until you attempt prednisone. The prednisone wound up causing him to get better after several days. About a year and a half ago, Mookie was diagnosed with a thyroid issue that causes him to underweight by about 5 or 10 pounds, and it is also apparently the source of his nervousness and territoriality. He lives with his female littermate, Maggie. Maggie is, oddly enough, the dominant dog.