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Ask Your Pet

by Jennifer Dickman

Hi Jennifer,

I have a 2 year-old Walker Coonhound mix named Carmen. I received her in October 2008 while still grieving my elderly dog who had passed the day before. I was not prepared for such a boisterous dog. She is high maintenance and difficult to train. I have tried everything including changing my behavior. Is she going to settle down and stop being so physically energetic and rough (jumping on people, ramming other dogs)?


Dear Naadia,

You have a very insecure and frustrated dog on your hands. Carmen feels uneasy because she realizes that you are unhappy with her and have been thinking about finding her another home. She feels like she’s disappointing you, and is frustrated because she’s a good dog who is eager to please. However, she can only be herself, and feels like being herself is not good enough for you. She is trying very hard, but can’t be what she is not.

True to her Walker Coonhound nature, Carmen is extremely intelligent and energetic. She needs lots of exercise and mental stimulation, far beyond simple daily walks. If this isn’t provided for her, she’ll continue to be restless and unhappy, and her behavior won’t improve. It’s not that she wishes to misbehave, just that it’s impossible for her to suppress the nature of her breed and be a docile house dog. I highly recommend hiring a trainer who is experienced with hunting dogs and can teach you how to work with Carmen’s needs. You’ll have to find activities that utilize her physical and mental hunting instincts, and engage in these activities with her on a regular basis. If you do so, you’ll find that you’ll be living with a much happier, calmer, easier to handle dog. And, you’ll probably have a lot of fun in the process.

I know that you’re doing your best for Carmen, and I certainly don’t mean to be critical of you in any way. However, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind my readers of the importance of researching a dog’s breed and giving a great deal of thought to how it will fit in with your lifestyle before making the decision to bring the dog home. Some dogs, like Carmen, can be wonderful companions for people who are willing to spend lots of time engaging in outdoor activities with them, but are not a good match for those with more sedentary lifestyles. Conversely, some dogs are basically lapdogs and homebodies at heart, and are ill-suited for those who would like their buddies to be more active and playful. Making a dog a part of your family is ideally a commitment for the duration of the dog’s life, and is not an arrangement to be entered into without extensive planning and forethought. Tragically, shelters are filled with thousands of dogs whose families were simply unprepared and unable to cope with the needs of their breed. I hope that you and Carmen will have many happy years together!

Many Blessings, Jennifer Dickman

Send your question along with your pet’s name, age, and a photo or brief description to Jennifer_Dickman@ymail.com or Jennifer Dickman, PO Box 782, Montgomeryville, PA 18936. Jennifer Dickman is an Animal Communicator, Pet Reiki Specialist, Reiki Master-Teacher, and Intuitive Counselor. She is available for phone sessions worldwide, and teaches private Reiki certification students locally & through distance learning. Jennifer can be reached at 215.817.0833 or Jennifer_Dickman@ymail.com.  To receive a free copy of Jennifer’s "Five Things Your Dog or Cat Wants You to Know" please subscribe to her newsletter by emailing Newsletter@BoundlessSpiritReiki.com .  More information is available on Jennifer’s web site: www.JenniferDickman.com.

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