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IzziGirl December 19th, 2009 04:48 AM

Nothing keeps our dog occupied- licked himself raw!
We rescued a puppy from a dumpster two years ago, and we have been really pleased with how easy to train and how well-behaved our new addition has been. We believe he's a German Shorthair-Dalmatian mix, and he has tons of energy, loves to run, and loves to be near us. Lately though, he has been listless and miserable and we're out of ideas.

First off, we live overseas so we're limited in access to a vet. We initially lived in a house with a very small yard, but when we got the dog, we managed to switch with another family and we moved into a rural house with a huge yard for the dog to run around in. I attempt to walk him, but the area where we live is not safe. I've tried everything to make walking safer, but the country we live in just doesn't make it possible. He was definitely bored during the day in the summer, but we set up lots of doggie playdates with friends and we did okay. We even got a cat to keep him company when we're out of the house, and they love each other.

Now it's winter, there's two and a half feet of snow on the ground, and we can't even let him out in the yard it's so cold. The puppy play dates have become less frequent because of the poor road conditions. He initially drove me nuts following me around constantly, but now I'd have that instead of the listless, practically numb dog who we have now! The always happy, energetic, thrilled to see us dog of before has disappeared. He lays around all day staring into the distance, and has licked the area on his belly, between his hind legs, raw. I've given him treat balls, kongs, chew toys--everything-- and it's not making a difference.

We think he's miserable with us, and we don't know what to do. We've considered trying to find him another home with children or other pets, just so he'd be happier. We've thought about a second dog, but with our constant overseas moves, we just dread the logistics, but we'd do it if that's the only solution. He has all the food, love, and belly rubs he could want, but the last few months, he's slowly slipped into a depression that is so sad to watch. We have no vet, no access to doggy day care, no way to go on long walks-- but we have to think that our home is better than him being on the streets! HELP! :yell:

kitona December 19th, 2009 09:51 AM

Can you get hold of a treadmill? We get some wicked cold snaps here too and allot of my friends use them with their dogs at this time of year. Full spectrum lighting helps to produce vitemin D. Fish oil added to food also helps balance the brain, dogs and humans alike.
Hope this helps!

TeriM December 21st, 2009 12:40 AM

Sounds like you need to work at trying to give his mind a good workout. One of my dogs favourite things is when I hide a loved toy. To begin I would put him into a down stay and then just go around the corner and place the toy usually with a yummy treat on top. Then I release him and tell him to "find it" and having a big happy party when he finds it. That quickly progressed to not needing a treat and hiding in hard to find spots that can take 15 minutes to search out. He LOVES it and it helps work the mind as well as the body.

Another thing that could help would be to make him have to work for his meals a bit more. This could mean using his kibble as rewards for working on his training/tricks, things like laying a kibble track down a hallway etc. You can also stuff toys like kongs with his meals (can use canned food in addition to kibble) and freezing the night before, the dog then needs to work harder at getting his dinner.

Do lots of training. Teach lots of tricks. Consider buying some dog clothes and booties so that he can be outside a little bit. You could even expand the "find it" game to outside when possible. You can adapt human clothes lots of times to work if the dog stuff is unavailable or to save $$$.

purey December 21st, 2009 12:18 PM

try longer walks

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