It’s been quite awhile since I did a real update on Rocky. He’s heathy and happy as long is he is with his people. (True of most dogs, I would say.) When he isn’t with us, as in, in the same room…. even if he can see us, he gets sad and frantic, and that is where we have a problem. I do believe that he has seperation anxiety, and given his history as a puppy which we can only make a guess about, that’s understandable. When we got Rocky from the shelter, he was very very skinny and had been presumably dropped on the side of the road before someone brought him in. The fact that he absolutely spazzes out when I leave the room or get in the car makes sense. Lately we have started giving him melatonin to help calm him. He still doesn’t like me being away from him but he does seem calmer in his demenor. He still runs around in big crazy circles like a normal happy dog and is still alert and playful. I like that the melatonin doesn’t seem to make him drowsy but just helps him feel less anxious. He also hasn’t been jumping on the kids (which was getting to be a dangerous problem at his size, and the fact that he scratched Tru by the eye) AT ALL since taking the melatonin. I’m still hesitant to say that it is 100% helping him, mostly because it feels too good to be true, but I honestly do think it’s working.

Because we could never get him to stop soiling himself in his crate even during short times in it, we had to start doing the dreadful tie-out as our yard isn’t fenced. I’ll say this, I do hate seeing a dog live it’s life on a chain. It’s just a sad situation and I’m positive that it just makes matters worse in an anxious dog. But it is the only option we had at the time or when we couldn’t be with him and it was never meant to be a permanent solution. SO, we bought an inground fence and I am so excited to start using it! I think Rocky is going to love the freedom to run the yard and get his energy out, while we are able to section off all the flower beds from his reach. (he loves to rip up the flower beds) He will be able to come and go through the kitchen door without us having to tie and untie him. (Ideally we would have a doggie door but since we are planning to move soon, that would be a waste of time to put in.)

And as for that, a word about housebreaking. Rocky has never gotten to the place where we can trust him not to go in the house. I’m really not sure why. I tried different methods for housetraining but just never got him to a trustworthy level… I tried staying with him 100% of the time… he peed right beside me without showng any cues such as sniffing etc. I tried taking him out on the leash and rewarding with treats. He would eventually go pee, eat his treat, come inside and pee again. Tried sending him out by himself to go in case I was making him nervous. He’d just sit by the door and not go…. right now though I can have him indoors for an hour or so before taking him out to pee, but I can’t trust him to hold it beyond that. So, it’s kind of a lot of work but I think the inground fence will help since I won’t have to babysit him while he spends 20 minutes deciding if he wants to pee. (As you can imagine, this doesn’t work well with 3 kids in the house that I have to be next to for their safety!) Therefore, when Rocky is in the house, he is strictly in the kitchen on the linoleum unless we are activelt playing with him in the family room. And I try to never push him past an hour because I don’t want to reinforce the idea that he can pee in the house by letting him have an accident.

And the thing is, Rocky is a smart dog! He learns new tricks after just a few times of repeating and rewarding. I know that he CAN be housetrained, I just don’t know how to get him there. And I think I have read just about every article Google has to offer. I’ve literally read for hours on the subject. Since he never got to the point where he would hold his pee in the crate, I wonder if he just doesn’t see peeing in the house as being a problem. ?? I really don’t know… Hopefully someday! I successfully house trained 2 other dogs we had years ago with basically no problem. I’m truly stumped this time.

Overall though, he’s a fun dog. Loves to play, loves the boys, will happily lay by (and by “by”, I mean ON) our feet and sleep. He dearly loves to go places. He sits in the back seat next to Tru or lays on the floor by Levi’s feet in the van. He is getting better by itty bitty painstaking margins at walking on the leash without pulling my arm out of socket… His maners have improved enough that he doesn’t *usually* grab food away from the boys while they are eating. I think he’s a good dog for the most part and certainly a really cute dog. I’m so happy with how well he’s filled out and looks so healthy. My sincere hope is that we can ALL enjoy our life together and even though Rocky can’t be the full-time indoors dog (yet, at least) that I had hoped he would be, I hope that we can have a safe and happy compromise with the fence and lots of time with us indoors. 🙂