Our sweet Sargent turned nine this past week.
For a Great Dane, that’s pretty old, but Sargent is in great health–physically, anyway. I guess aging can bring new problems whether you’re a dog or a person, and Sargent has developed some anxiety issues lately.
A few years ago, he started getting anxious during thunderstorms. I’ve read and researched and tried so many things, but nothing has “fixed” it. About the only thing I haven’t tried is that jacket thing. Let me know if you’ve tried it. All I know for sure is that it gets worse every year–and it’s definitely the thunder that bothers him.
Sargent’s newest anxiety-caused behavior has wreaked havoc on our back gate…
This started about a month ago–out of the blue. We had been outside together for most of the afternoon, and we left Sargent in the back yard while we made a quick trip to Home Depot. When we came home, Harper asked if a branch had fallen on the gate. Upon closer inspection, we realized that it was definitely done by Sargent. We were baffled. He has never been destructive like that.
I could be angry that the gate is ruined, but really it just breaks my heart. I can see that he is not doing it for attention or out of boredom. He’s really that stressed when we leave. A few days after the first incident, Tice and I came home to Sargent sitting there waiting for us in the driveway. This is how he escaped…
He pushed and rattled the gate until it fell apart. Then, he pushed the gate open, which is not easy. He’s strong, and, apparently, he was determined.
I know the biggest factor in all of this is his age. But I also know that he’s always had some separation anxiety issues–they just haven’t resulted in destructive behavior until now (well, actually he used to chew on my panties…). I think dependency issues can be common in Great Danes, but his are probably more extreme than most. They are very emotionally needy dogs–they love their people and need lots of attention. This past year, he’s had to adjust to having Tice around, but he’s also gotten very used to having us at home. For the most part, I’ve been working from home since Tice was born, and Sargent is always with us. I suspect that makes it harder when we leave, but I have no idea what (if anything) brought on this most recent state of panic.
We’ve been having such beautiful weather, but he’s been pretty much staying inside when I have to go run errands or go somewhere for work. Sad.
I’ve been taking him on long morning walks several times a week, because I’ve read that an exercise routine can help. Our next step is to talk to our vet about medication.
One thing is for sure, he gets a lot of attention when we’re home, which is most of the time. This afternoon, he was entertaining Tice by chasing squirrels and rolling around on his back in the sun. We sure love him, and I hope he has many happy birthdays ahead of him.
You can see more of him in last year’s birthday post.