Friday, May 16, 2014

Mr. Personality

I learn more and more about Barry all the time. There are still plenty of things I don't know about him. I guess that is how most relationships are, really. You continually get to know someone. Once you know someone for years you think you know everything then one day you find out something you never knew! We're all complex creatures. Lots of layers and interests that come and go.

I'm very complicated and complex.
Dogs aren't quite as complex as humans. They are pretty much straightforward. Pretty much. For Barry, I know what his interests are. I think. Because we are still getting to know him (going on 6 months!) there are things that we haven't encountered with him before and we don't know how he'll react.

Take the cat incident. I honestly didn't know how he would react. I do now. We want to go camping. We think Barry will love it. What if he doesn't, though? We don't know. Does he like to swim? Maybe. What about doggie daycare? How will he do in doggie daycare (we may be taking him two days next week)?

I'll do great at doggie daycare!
He knows us pretty well. He knows I react to his whining with attention or pets on his belly. He knows he can look at us in a certain way and we give in to his every whim. Sometimes he wants to be next to us, laying on us and getting lots of love. Other times he just wants to go to his room by himself and chew on a toy. He likes to lay in his doggie bed behind the couch and sleep by himself. Many times he wants us to play with him and chase him around. You never really know which side of his personality is going to come out. He's playful, loving, independent, fearless, lazy, funny, and introspective. Yes, introspective. You just have to spend some time getting to know him and you'll see all of those descriptions come out at some point.

I wuv being next to Dad.
Then yesterday (another surprise from Barry!) we got a note under our door from our friendly neighbors. The note was kind of vague with no real helpful insights:
"Your dog has been crying a lot lately after you leave :-( -- Your neighbors."
 So, there's that. Barry has been crying again. The only thing we don't know is, well, pretty much everything else! So we know he's crying. When does he start crying? When we leave in the morning (I never hear him crying when I leave) or in the afternoon after our dog walker leaves (she never hears him crying upon arrival or leaving either)? Then we want to know when did this start? Did it start this week? Has this been going on for a month? The last thing that is still a mystery is how long is he crying? 15 minutes? 3 hours? While I'm glad we know that Barry is crying we don't know the issue. Depending on the answer to those questions it can mean so many different things. If it just started this week then he'll probably cool down and be fine. If it's been going on for a month then there is a more serious issue. Gosh, it's hard having a dog in condo building.

So I wrote our neighbors back thanking them for letting us know and then asking if they can clarify on those three points so we can better find a solution for Barry. If it starts early then we might place kibble around the condo for him to sniff out and find during the day (keeping him busy), along with his red KONG bone stuffed with some yummy treats that he has to work to get out, as well as his normal KONG which keeps him busy for a good while. If it's later in the day then we'll have our dog walker give him the red KONG bone pre stuffed with goodies before she leaves so he can keep busy for a while.

We already know that Barry has mild to moderate separation anxiety (that totally sounds like one of those medication ads you see on TV). This is not a surprise to us. We know that he doesn't like us to leave in the morning. He is just coping and okay with it now that he knows and trusts that we'll come back. Plus the KONG stuffed with some pretty amazing tasty treats helps. So we've just been used to our normal week day routine of giving Barry a KONG and leaving. Now he is starting to cry once again. I don't know if we need to step it up a notch with his activity level or maybe this will pass and it's just a little phase he's going through. Perhaps there's construction noise he's hearing somewhere...

At any rate, Barry has once again got us stumped. We thought we had a good routine going but now he's shaking it up! I have a feeling this will pass quickly and by next week everyone will have forgotten about this. Let's hope, anyway.

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