Major Problem with Dog

lovetogardenMay 21, 2011

Hi Guys, Maybe you could help me. My mother passed away last June and I have her little 5 year old Beagle. She also had another Beagle too which I now have. I know the dogs since I got them from the shelter for her and I love them both. The problem is that a few months after my mother's death, Precious, (that's the pup's name) started howling almost like she's screaming. At first I thought there was something physically wrong with her but as soon as I picked her up she would quiet down. I taped the yelling and brought the tape and her to the vet. After $1,200.00 in test the vet found what I already suspected - there's nothing wrong with her. The vet said she's just crying for attention but offered no real solution beyond that. He made a joke that he's not a psychiatrist and suggested I find one for her. I'm at my wits end. Precious was with my mother all the time right to the bitter end. I spend as much time as I can with her but I also have to go to work and I suspect that she yells when I'm not there. Today I was outside mowing the lawn and I could hear her screaming her head off. I ran into the house and as soon as I did she quieted up. I'm afraid my neighbors are going to call the police and report me for animal cruelty. Anyone have any idea how I can get this to stop? I really don't want to give her away as I love her, but I can't afford more unnecessary vet bills or the potential of being arrested for animal abuse.


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    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 2:52PM
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It finally worked. Just wanted you to see how adorable she is and how loved she is even by Buster the cat. And he hates everyone. LOL!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 2:57PM
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First let me say I am sorry for the loss of your Mom.

She looks like a total sweetheart! Pets mourn the loss of loved ones just as we do. It is so sad to hear she is suffering so...I can't imagine rehoming her to ANOTHER new situation would be helpful to her at all. Have you tried anti-anxiety meds? I know they can take a while to take effect- up to 30 days or so.
I hope it all works out okay. Please keep us updated.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 3:24PM
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i, too, give you my condolences for your loss. i lost my mom a month ago, i know how hard it is.

your pup is just adorable!! i second the anti-anxiety meds. you might see if your vet will give you a mild sedative. you may not have to use it forever. something else you can try is one of the plug-in calming gadgets. i used one of these both times i brought my adult danes home from rescue. it seemed to help them get through the first couple of weeks of settling into their new home.

i'm sure she is just really missing your mom and the attention she got from her. good luck!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 4:42PM
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I, too, am very sorry for your loss. I guess I'm the dissenter here though, because I don't think your dog is crying from grief. If she was, she would have started doing it sooner IMO. She probably inadvertently discovered that you will come running when she howls, so of course she's taking advantage of that. If it isn't feasible to ignore her because of the neighbors, I would try shaking a can of pennies and telling her no in a firm voice. If that doesn't work, you can try a plant mister and give her a squirt while saying no.

I have a mouthy little girl, too, and she will make a fuss whenever it serves her purpose if I let her get away with it. I think your concern for whether your dog was sick or grieving has prevented you from handling it as a regular behavior problem and she's using your sympathy to her own advantage. I don't mean that in a critical way. I think it's a natural reaction on your part. Good luck with her.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 5:42PM
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First - Im sorry for your loss, second Thank you for taking in the dogs that was great of you.

Ahhhhh the beagle guilt trip!!! I know this well.
The Deb18 is 100% right, your dog is not feeling grief, your dog is training you and doing a might good job of it I will say.
If your dog howls and you come running, what are you teaching your dog to do???
A. Howl
B. Howl
C. Howl
D. Howl
So I need to know a few things about your dogs and their day.
Give me a low down on how you start your day, what you do, what the dogs get to do before you go to work, during the day and when you get back from work also what goes on during the weekends.
Your dog is basically protesting you leaving it. You are going to have to stop "feeling" sorry for the dogs it will do you no good and in the long run they will disrespect more you for it.
We humans have a really hard time with a couple of things. One we do things much faster than the critters in the natural world and two we put feelings on near abouts EVERYTHING...most (not all) animals dont work this way. Which makes our attempts to communicate with them a bit more difficult.
Your situation is not is quite fixable. And I have one thing to say about your vet - shame on him for ripping you off. Harumph. If you can find another it might be worth it.
I will be watching for your next post

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 11:08PM
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Thanks Homebodymom and Ninapearl. I asked the vet about this and he didn't think it was anxiety. She certainly doesn't seem anxious. She yells like she's in pain but there's no reason for it since theres nothing physically wrong with her.

Deb and Mazer I think the same thing you do. I'm going to try some of the things you suggested, though I'm not sure about the water as I don't want to scare her or make her afraid of me.

Mazer, I'm partially retired and can come and go as I please on my job as I'm in control of my department. I can literally walk to my job from my house. At this point I'm more home than at work. So her being left alone for long periods of time is not the problem.

As far as my day goes, I'm an early riser but they sleep until around 7. I take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast, then I have to drag them out of bed. LOL! I put them out and get their breakfast ready. Bring them in, feed them, then put them out again. If it's going to be a nice day I put them in their yard with their doghouse and go to work. I come back every couple of hours to check on them or put them back in the house. I come home from work, do some housekeeping, make dinner (theirs and mine) we all eat, then watch tv or read for a couple of hours, with her right by my side, then they go out one last time before bed. That's a typical day.

This is the first day we got Precious. She and her friend, Pistol Pete came from a kill shelter in Kentucky.

This is Pistol Pete the first day. He was on the hit list because he came into the shelter with a broken leg and they weren't allowed to spend money to get the leg fixed. I told them to fix it there and I'd pay the expenses. Unfortunately, he had a compound fracture and had to get his leg reset all over again once I got him. He was also skin and bones.

Three weeks later with orthopedic cast (I had to keep him by himself in the guest house because he couldn't jump around and play)

And Pete 3 months later - Isn't he gorgeous?

Precious with Pistol Pete - her best friend

Precious has gotten so fat Pete uses her as a pillow. LOL. She's on a diet but she doesn't like it.

This has to be my all time favorite picture because I think its so funny. Sorry to bore you guys with this but I think they're so cute I thought you might like to see how cute they are too.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 6:00AM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

They are simply adorable!!! Those are wonderful pictures and you are so lucky to have such wonderful dogs. Good for you for taking them in and giving them such a good home. Seems like they couldn't ask for more.

But, what about taking walks? Do you get to do that with them? Did Precious have that in her former life? It would also help with her weight loss. Seems like she might be getting a little too much love. LOL

They are just the cutest.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 9:03AM
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Sounds like you are really dedicated to these dogs and you should be commended for saving them from certain death.
I see a couple of issues which could help you out.
First thank gawd you have the schedule you do - itll make training so much easier.
Here is my recommendation. In the morning do your thing but when you are done doing your thing. Call your dogs to you (never go to them) leash them up and take them for a 10 minute walk. First couple of minutes is to pee and poo the rest is your dogs at your side walking a brisk walk, no sniffing, no crossing back and forth just walkies. Come home THEN feed them breakfast.
Your dogs are bred for hunting for 5 hours a day. They are not getting enough stimulatio from their beautiful yard and they need to have someone telling them more of what to do. Ideally 3 walks a day, one at least a half an hour will help alot. Also dont let the dogs up on the furniture until they have been invited.
Teach your dog some stupid pets tricks. And never let those who are more vocal out the door before you or without sitting and staying for a couple of seconds before releasing them to go outside. They just need a bit more structure. The more vocal, especially with beagals the more they are trying to take over - it is a sign of protest and direction. They are bred to vocalize during a hunt - that is normal, it is normal to have them vocalize during the day to let you know something is going on, but to vocalize to train you to their will is a recipe for future behavioral problems. This is an easy fix.
More direction, more stimulation - in the form of walkies and training...this will help your more vocal dog to feel safer and feel like it has a purpose - which is paramount in beagles. Never respond to a howl from your dogs, if they are howling, wait until the stop before approaching them.I hope you repost and let us know how things are going. Good luck

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 3:05PM
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Ooooh they are so cute! Thanks for posting the pics. I hope it all works out for you and them. Please keep us posted!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 4:50PM
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Hi Murrysmom, What I understand about Precious is she spent her life on a chain and the people up and moved and left her there. Pete was found near a stadium (and named after Pistol Pete Maravich) with a broken leg and a bullet in his hip (the vet didn't remove the bullet because it was in there so long that tissue was growing around it and it was in a place where it wasn't doing any harm). I walk Precious on occasion - she's a good walker; but Pete is out of control on a lease. He goes to ground, (he must have been a tracker for a hunter and got in the way of a shotgun blast and took off) and pulls me from one place to another. I've tried everything Caesar Milan recommends on his show and a 1/2 a dozen different leashes and none of them worked. Though you can't see it in the pics their yard is 1/4 acre fenced, with underground fencing added so they don't dig their way out. But, even though they have a big yard they don't do much of anything except sleep and eat. They're two lazy dogs. Somewhere along the line Basset Hound must have gotten mixed into their gene pool.LOL!

Hi Mazer, Your post gave me a few chuckles for several reasons. When the pups are sleeping a bomb could go off and they don't budge. And I mean that literally. My town was using dynamite to break ledge when they were putting in the sewer system and even though I literally jumped every time a blast went off they didn't even open an eye. LOL! When I try to get them out of bed it's like moving a dead weight. Getting them out of bed has become a tug of war. As far as going on the furniture, my sister-in-law asked me why I let them jump on the furniture and I told her I didn't let them, they just made themselves right at home the moment they got here.

I like all your other ideas and as soon as I read it yesterday I took Precious out for a walk. The problem is she's so fat she tires easily. I know that will stop as she gets more used to walking and loses some weight. As far as not responding to her howling, the problem is when she starts to howl Pete joins the bandwagon and starts howling too. Even though I don't have neighbors close to me it's still loud enough where it can be heard outside. Like I said in my initial post, I don't want my neighbors to think I'm abusing my dog. One way I stopped her today was as soon as she started howling I started howling too. She was so startled she shut right up. Looks like it's going to take some time to get her to stop. Hopefully, it will stop as fast as it began. LOL!

Thanks for all the great advice guys. I got a lot of good ideas and I've already started implimenting them.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 3:26PM
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I agree about taking them for walks, and the howling sounds like boredom and attention seeking. With such a nice big yard i would start by doing some training with them there such as teaching pete to walk properly on a lead with a "heel" command so that he learns to walk with you. some other commands like sit, and "come" would be helful too. even a daily game of fetch with a ball will help but they do need some stimulation and purpose so use that yard to get them moving instead of being couch potatoes dogs who are waiting around for you to entertain them. once they have a bit of training and pete can walk properly on a leash, changing direction, sit, heel etc on a leash and repeating the command until he learns it and then use those commands when you start going out for walks to correct him, and walks will do wonders for them, keep them stimulated and tire them out. If you spend 10 minutes a few times a day leash training him it won't take long and he will probably enjoy the training because it will get his mind working and body moving and dogs thrive on that.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:14PM
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Ha, one more to join the howling group, I doubt your neighbors think you abuse your dogs, but if you get some funny looks you will know they know you did not add another dog to your pack!!
So your dog is like my last dog, part sack hound!!! When he was little I would take him out to do his business in the AM and put him back to bed. Later, it took forever to get him up and out...So I can relate.
If your dog is overweight, just take frequent short walks. She will soon lose the weight and be able to keep up.
Sounds like youre doing a great job..Keep up the good work.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 3:16AM
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They both are adorable.I have basset hounds and I can relate to the sleeping part.One of mine has to be pulled/move to get her up in the mornings.Its like sleeping teenagers!Also the same one is a howler/crier now.She doesn't like us to be out of her sight when we are home.We can leave and she doesn't cry but she does try to prevent it from happening by acting like she needs to go back outside to potty.Anything to delay it.I've pretty much learned to ignore the howling cry.I found giving in to her made it worse.Good luck.Debbie

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 5:50PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I, too, commend your dedication to these two dogs and have to say they are very cute! Those are adorable photos!

Since Precious is the one howling, and because she is good on a leash, I'd take her for as many walks each day as you can fit into your schedule. A single walk each day is better than none. Also if you can arrange to walk her on schedule at the same time(s) each day you may find her waiting in anticipation but quietly when her walk time rolls around. If she has a walk or walks to look forward to on a regular basis, the howling may well cease.

It's too bad that Pete cannot also enjoy walks, but then he's not the one who is howling, so perhaps he's content to live within the nice yard you have. He's had a rough past experience. :-(

It's hard to know if Precious is howling out of grief for your mom or if she is just bored, but the boredom may be born from the lack of constant companionship she once had. You can't be with her all the time as your mom was, but you can supply a new diversion (regular walks) that Precious may well come to like better than sitting in the house with her human.

I'm not a big proponent of shaking cans of pennies at a dog. I think just more structure with rewards (walks) to look forward to would be enough of a positive reinforcement to stop the howling.

And what the heck is wrong with teaching a dog tricks?? My dear little sheltie *loved* to perform. She considered her trick routine to be one of her many jobs, a job that paid a great salary of treats and praise. My collies would have thought tricks to be senseless exercises, so it depends on the inclination and aptitude of an individual dog what activities they would enjoy.

Also whether you allow your pets on your furniture is a personal decision. Our first dog frequently visited homes of elderly relatives with us, so I trained him not to get onto furniture, but all our subsequent dogs I have allowed to sleep on couches and beds because the only houses we visit these days have similar relaxed rules for their own dogs.

Good luck with your little howler! Let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 10:42AM
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