Poor Annie, this holiday season has been trying on her nerves. She is very comfortable in our house when it’s just the four of us at home (myself, my husband, Maisie and Annie). She’s gotten used to my daughter being around and genuinely loves her company but my son is another story. Annie is very nervous around men, especially young men and unfortunately my son falls into that category.
This summer she never got used to him being around. Part of the problem was that he is rarely alone, usually when he comes through the door he’s got someone with him so that magnifies Annie’s distress. When he came home for Thanksgiving, she actually went downstairs and greeted him when he was watching TV. Hooray, she’s accepting him! That lasted one day because the following morning he had a college teammate come and stay with us for the long weekend and once again that upset the apple cart.
When she hears a voice she doesn’t recognize, especially if it’s deep, she runs to her crate and starts barking. If the boys are downstairs, she barks when she hears them coming up, or going through the front door, or rummaging through the refrigerator, or any other movement that might be happening. If I approach her and soothe her she will stop, but with the constant coming and going she never really relaxed. They went back to school, but a couple of weeks later Thomas returned for Christmas break. Then my parents came. I thought she would like my Dad, but she was so ruffled by all of the extra people that she never warmed up to my Dad or Mom, and she barked a lot. My parents left but Thomas was still around and then he had another college friend come for a visit which I think really sent her over the top.
The day after Thomas left I noticed Annie in a deep sleep. She kept moving from room to room, spreading out and falling back to sleep. Somehow she knew the house was returning to her normal and she was so happy to finally relax. She sprawled out in all of her favorite places and spent a lot less time in her crate. He won’t be home again till May and we don’t have any other visitors on the schedule so hopefully we can all “reboot” and continue the work of gently introducing new people so that she won’t be so alarmed next time he comes home. At least that’s my hope….