I rescued a dog from the local shelter (Casey) and I was told she is a GSP mix. She is about 2 years old and is fixed. I have had her for about 5 months. She was in the shelter for three months before I adopted her. She came from a family that gave her up due to her digging. The only notes on her was that she was not good with small children but children over 12 are fine. I had a cat so the shelter did a little test and said she would be fine with cats and she was (she hasn't killed them). She is about 40 pounds and has a endless supply of energy. I figured she was digging becuase she didn't get enough exercise but since my husband and I take walks regularly, I figured this would not be an issue. I was wrong. Her immidately behavioral problems were getting into the trash the second you left the room as if her life depended on being a scavanger, digging holes in the yard, and this list of weird nervous habits which includes chewing on her entire foot (prefers the back ones) chasing her tail and sucking on her back hind quarter of her leg. This only happens when she seem distressed and nervous. She was house broken and did sit and shake on command but was not very good about being on a leash. She also has this thing with her blankets and bedding. She drags the blanket into the middle of the yard and will not let it stay in the doghouse. She does sleep on the blanket but first it has to be dragged around the yard. She has a dog bed next to my side of the bed and that is her area and she loves to sleep on the bed. It's the one thing that I think she really feels comfortable with and never does any damage to. We have a dog door so that she can enter and exit as she wants unless we choose to lock her out. She only get locked out during the middle of the day since she will do house damage if she has too much energy and holes in the yard are better than house itmes.
I have found that if she gets at least 90 minutes of exercise and gets to sleep in the room with us and not left outside that most of her issues do not surface but anything less and she becomes a real pain in the ass. No walk first thing in the morning will almost certainly get you a new hole in the yard by the time you get home from work. Put her outside for the night and you will have a hole. She also now howls at me while I trying to get up and dressed in the morning as an indicator of her need for a walk. Sometimes I don't feel up to walking her so I put her in the car and drive one mile to some back hills on dirt roads and let her out and then drive. She runs up to 30 mph and seems to enjoy it but that only takes 15 minutes and then she's back in the car to go home. That also is not enough for her even though she running top speeds and is tired, it doesn't last. Only prolonged walks seem to work. She has just started peeing in the back of my car. I've never seen her do this but my car started to stink so I borrowed a black light and found that there wer multiple spots so it wasn't a one time thing but is new and I don't know why she's doing that as the car ride is very short. We got two new kittens and she is tolerant of them but they make her nervous and she gets jealous of all of the cats if we pet them or even talk to them. This is one of the big things that gets her going with the sucking of the body. She is also now fearful of my husband as if he has beaten her over the last three weeks. She used to love him but now cowers if he moves to fast or even looks at her. Other times she reacts normally to him but we can find no reason for this new fear.
We have a trash can with a lid to prevent her from scavanging. This has cured that issue.
She is decent on a leash but appears to be gaining in aggressive behavior twards other dogs on the back sides of fences during our walks. She didn't used to react. She loves to chase critters. Ther are quail and lizzards everywhere. When we walk her in the hills we usually let her run free so that she can chase and burn as much energey as possible but I think this creates a new problem with other behavior issues such as the aggressive nature with other dogs and not being very diciplined when on leash.
I realize that being a mix makes her a wildcard as to her tendencies but I think she is more GPS than anything and I just don't know what to do to make her life better. I can't always give her the amount of exercise she seems to need and I bet most others can't either so it leaves me with a real problem. I have actually tried to return her to the shelter once after just one month but the begged me to keep trying and I have but the peeing in my car is really the final straw. I called a no kill shelter to give her up but they are full. I don't want her to die, but I don't want a dog that is this much responsiblity. I feel terrible that I'm failing this dog and want to do the right thing but I can't seem to get the right advise or help in this situation. The no kill shelter suggested I get another dog so that she had a companion. I love the idea but what if it's worse and now I have two dogs??? We have a farily large back yard and I do not believe in caging the dog. I think it's mean and will make her worse because at least right now she can run around the yard and she does. She just keeps digging holes. I have put her poop in the hole as advised and it keeps her from digging in that spot but she just makes a new hole for poop to be added to.
I'm open to any and all suggestions but I will not buy a treadmill as seen on the "Dog Whisperer" for her to use.
Is another dog a solution? Has anyone seen the nervous behaviors I have described because they are weird to me? Could the new kittens be adding to her behaviroal issues? If so, what can I do as I need them all to get along. I am confident that she will not harm the kittens but I did watch her chase, catch and kill a small chipmunk about a month ago during a camping trip. By the way, she was a fantastic dog during the entire four days of the trip and had no issues because she got to run around and had us all to herself with plenty of exercise. Unfortunately, our real lives do not allow us to spend that much time and attention on her daily. Since the kittens were very small they have played with her tail and sometimes sleep with her. On some days she seems to hate it but tolerates them and other days she seem indifferent to them but never does she seem to like them.
She does have good qualities. She is very smart (too smart at times) very loving to myself and my husband when she isn't terrified of him. She was good about riding in vehicles (until she started peeing in my car), she rides well in boats, she will fetch, sit and lay on command (mostly) She isn't a barker unless there's a reason (not counting the new howling thing she does every morning) I have seen no aggression twards other humans, she tends to cower in fear but never shows teeth or growls.
Ok I've been going for an hour now so I'll stop. She needs help and so do I.
Val and Casey