I got this email a few days ago and, while you’ll see my deathless wisdom *pause for laughter* below, I’m thinking that the people who read this blog might have some good advice to offer Jessica:
I hope you don’t mind if I ask your advice/opinion on my Shiba….
I adopted him from a dog rescue in June. The vet estimates that he is around 5 years old. Some problems have surfaced since he came to live with us. First, he is the only dog I have ever met that has absolutely no problem sleeping in a pool of his own piss in his crate. He doesn’t mind going in at all. I shut the door. He looks up at me with an expressionless face, squats, and pees the most ridiculous river of urine imaginable, not once breaking eye contact with me. At first I thought “Hmn, maybe he’s doing this because he knows I am going to let him out so i can clean it up” and that this was just a plea for attention…. But lo and behold, whether I clean it or let him stew in it, he never fails to leave a pee puddle in his kennel. His crate is the perfect size for him- just enough room to lay, turn, stand, etc. I’ve tried plastic crates and I’ve tried wire crates… I’ve tried lots of bedding and no bedding at all. He goes outside before and after crating (where he finds a spot to lay down like a goat and stare at me blankly). So he gets ample opportunity to pee outside…. He’s been crated in my bedroom where he can see me, and he’s been crated in the dog room, where the other dogs are crated. Location seems to make no difference. In fact, NOTHING seems to make a difference. I really feel like he holds it all day long, just waiting to piss in the crate.
So aside from the peeing, he constantly C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T-L-Y is pacing. Circles, circles, circles, allllllll day long. Will not sit still. Not even a little bit. My vet seems to think he has an anxiety problem. She’s prescribed doggy-prozac for him. I’m still not sure how I feel about this. I thought the peeing and the pacing could maybe be a side effect of some kind of health problem but two vets later and full blood panels, he is in perfect health. There’s nothing medically wrong with him that could be causing the urination in the crate.
He seems fearful of the most ridiculous things…. Little noises, movement, someone walking by him…. He’s ran headfirst into walls trying to get out of the way of someone walking by him. He scrambles away like his tail is on fire if anything rubs him the wrong way.
And the strangest thing ever? I can take him to dog shows, pet conventions, noisy pet stores, and he LOVES IT. No anxiety. No pacing. Relaxed. Mellow. WTF??! Like a perfect angel. And everyone comments on how well-behaved and precious and stately he looks. And he just sits there with his little Shiba-smirk while they go on and on about how good a dog he is….. And then the minute we get home its RUN FOR YOUR LIFE — SOMEONE’S GONNA EAT ME!!!!
I love this dog. He’s hilarious, sweet, and endearing… But really… I do NOT understand where he comes up with this stuff… I’ve been a dog lover all my life… I’ve had jack russels, shih tzus, american bulldogs, springer spaniels, and I breed Miniature Pinschers (which up until now I thought were the most hard-to-decode dogs there were). This Shiba is the most quirky creature I’ve ever encountered. How much of this is normal?? Its really the peeing in the crate thing that baffles me more than anything.
So.. I hope you don’t mind… But…. help?
And here’s my reply:
“Wow… that’s so unusual – normally a Shiba is fanatically clean! I’ve heard that some pet store pups have a similar problem, being literally forced to live in their waste. Puppymill dogs are also notoriously inbred/insane and you might be dealing with one. Your next step might best be to contact an animal behaviourist.
Do you mind if I post this on my Shibalog? Maybe some of the people who read it will have more insight into this.”
Jessica’s response was, obviously, yes, so here we are. Any thoughts?