There’s no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner. (Source)
Always A Neurotic Dog
Mythieus has always been a slightly neurotic dog. In 14 years of owning Alaskan Malamutes I have never owned a malamute who is quite as high strung, anxious or co-dependent on his human pack. Ever since Mythieus was approximately two we have experienced his canine anxiety and personal assistance with renovations of the interior walls of our house.
Bringing Home Baby
The first experience with Mythieus’ canine anxiety and renovations was in the fall of 2010. We were awaiting the arrival of our third son. In anticipation of the imminent delivery, our older sons, Mythieus’ roommates, were sent with their paternal grandparents, on weekends.
While we were away, delivering our son, Mythieus tried to escape the house by “chewing” (I use the term chew quite liberally) a gigantic hole through the wall next to the front door. The first signs of his canine anxiety.
Baby & Malamutes
That was not the last adventure with Mythieus’ anxiety and him adding his handiwork to our home and yard. At home with a new infant and two indoor dogs, I was completely frustrated. I had no place in the house to retreat with just the baby and Mythieus was eating anything not out of reach, including the baby’s bottle.
One day, my parents were visiting and my dad convinced me to put the dogs out back. Mythieus did not take to being out in the backyard very well. He screamed madly, and simultaneously body slammed the back door. He shredded the molding around the back door nearly to splinters. Eventually, in his frustration and anxiety at being locked outside he broke the door, making it impossible to permanently close and secure the door.
Above photo: The results of an Alaskan Malamute with canine anxiety.
Away for the Evening
Eventually, Mythieus became our only dog. In April 2012 we had to euthanize Anck. One evening we left Mythieus home while we went to visit relatives for a few hours. When we returned Mythieus had again “chewed” a large hole through the kitchen wall, trying to get out past the baby gate.
Mythieus’ latest “renovation’ of the house was four days ago. One of my older sons had accidentally shut him on the wrong side of the baby gate. He was locked in the living room, out of reach of his dog dishes and without access to the backyard. While the kids were at school and my husband and I were at work, Mythieus tore through the wallboard next to the baby gate. He created a huge hole through the wall on one side of the baby gate and chipped away the corner of the other.
Finally, when that did not allow him to escape he tore the baby gate down, leaving it completely unusable.
*Technically, Mythieus was justified in trying to get into the kitchen and most of the blame for the wall is due to my son’s thoughtlessness.
Options & Alternatives
The past four days I have been debating and weighing my options and considering possible solutions.
Do I place Mythieus with another owner? Who is going to want a dog with such severe canine anxiety?
Do I put Mythieus on anti-anxiety medications? This is still an option which is being considered.
In all fairness, are any of these reasonable or viable options for him or us? Am I prepared to be a “dog-less” family? My road to being a dog owner has been long and hard-won. At this point I am not sure I am prepared to give up my tentative hold.
Answer in a Dream
Last night I dreamt of Mythieus. Nothing glamorous. All I remember was me putting a brown dog backpack on Mythieus. That is all it consisted of – nothing more, nothing less. But that one simple dream spoke volumes to me. When I awoke I had the clear impression: Mythieus was staying.
Although, Mythieus will be staying it will not be without serious consequences! I am going to order that pack for Mythieus and am REALLY going to work him.
Mythieus will be WORKING for his place in our pack and hopefully through his canine anxiety.
Basically, I am going to put my Alaskan Malamute through my own version of “Doggy Boot Camp!”
I am going to work his BUTT off – and then I’m going to do it some more!
The 100 pound Alaskan Malamute monster that throws crybaby tantrums when he has to do training and screams as if he is being killed when he has the pinch collar on has met his match.
I welcome any suggestions or comments. Please leave them for me below.