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My Dog is Psycho.

My dog is psycho.

Seriously! She is a complete whack. She is cute as a button, just precious, she looks like a teddy bear. But she is psycho. We adopted Lucy from a rescue organization for Golden Retrievers. She joined Luke, our other rescue golden. He’s hyper, but friendly and sweet, so she didn’t get psycho from him. Actually, I knew she had a problem when friends dropped by to see her shortly after we picked her up and she was scared to death of them. Lucy actually peed on me she was so nervous. RED FLAG.

dog training, nervous dog, dogs, pets, training dogs

But she was so cute. We took her to a trainer, and worked with her. How nervous is this dog? She left wet paw prints on the sidewalk. Now that is anxious. So we worked with her, and got her to the point where she didn’t run away from everyone, and we were allowed to keep her. It was close…they were questioning the wisdom of letting a dog with her temperament be adopted. I later found out that the entire litter (only 4 of them) were on the nervous side. The pups were dumped and separated too early, I think. So we have our Lucy.

Lucy believes that everything in the house belongs to her. All of the dog toys belong to her. She will growl and even attack Luke for coming near her when she has a toy. She will strut around him, showing off a bone or bully ring, then growl if he shows interest. I buy them each a toy, but Lucy always wants the one Luke gets. So Luke takes the other one, then she wants it back. I have seen her gather toys into a pile and sit and guard them from Luke and from our “granddogs”, snarling a warning. If I pet Luke or one of the granddogs she tries to get between us. She wants ALL of the attention, ALL of the time. She also loves to bring you things: your underwear, your socks, your shoes. At least she doesn’t chew the stuff up anymore. I lost a lot of Toms and Crocs and undies the first year we had her. Now she picks it up and trots around with it, acting coy when you try to take it from her. Crazy.

She barks like a maniac. A high pitched, fearful bark that would drive anyone nuts. It is offensive to Lucy to be outdoors without her human(s) for any length of time. All of the dogs like to be in the house, but Lucy is ridiculous about it. She barks at the yard guys (who are here every week). She barks at the pool guy (who comes twice a week for longer than we’ve had her, but she still barks at him).

Take her for a walk. A mailbox? A trash can? Scary. We took her on a trip…the boat scared her. The doorbell rings? Batten down the hatches because she goes nuts barking. Someone is walking their dog on OUR street? How dare they? Bark bark bark. I always introduce people to Lucy and Luke at the front door with treats. The guest gives each dog a treat, after they sit, of course. They run off with the treat, then come back to check the person out. Lucy is mostly afraid of everyone. I tell people to let her come to them. Yes, I tried doggy day care. Three times. She was kicked out each time. She has to be leashed in a dog park because she is so fearful of the other dogs. I also had to remove her from obedience training.

Fear, fear, fear. Bark bark bark. Grr, grr, grr.

Lucy loves her thunder jacket. You know, the swaddle jackets they put on dogs so they aren’t afraid of storms or being in the car? She loves wearing it, and she is better when it is on, but she can’t have it on all the time or she gets used to it and it makes no difference. We have tried anti-depressants (yes, seriously, the vet suggested it)…they do nothing. Try to calm her with a natural sedative like peppermint or lavender? Nope. Does not work. I need to get a trainer out to observe her growling at the other dogs. She is so jealous when Luke plays with the other dog, but I don’t think the snarling and growling routine is working. She is socially awkward!

Cesar Milan, Dog whisperer, where are you???

Read more from Tam Warner Minton on her blog, Travels with Tam

Tam Warner Minton

I am an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, amateur historian; interested in all people and cultures. For me, the unexpected is usually the norm! My motto? Live life on purpose and with passion and do what you can to make a difference in this world, no matter how small! Contact me at

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