Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rem blog

Sometimes when we are out at a restaurant as a family you can hear barking coming from our direction. Mitchell will say "doggy" while JD starts speaking into his cell phone, "It's OK Remy, we'll be right back, go lay down". The barking quiets, only to start up 10 minutes later and the process of calming the pup down begins all over again...

Yes, we have resorted to using our cell phones as a dog monitor so that we can calm Remy down when we leave. Since moving to a new condo recently, Remy has developed some separation anxiety when we are not home. He expresses his anxiousness by barking, which turns to a howl once he gets going.

We have never had this problem in the three years that we have owned him, but there are several issues outside of our control that we believe have led to his anxiety. If you want our diagnosis of the problem, let me know and we can talk dog psychology together. Either way, we need to find a solution because we have gotten complaints from the neighbors, and emails from the condo association. We have tried all sorts of modifications to get him used to the idea that when we leave, we will be coming back for him. I also tried calling the vet recently to inquire about medication for our nervous nelly, and was told to contact the local animal behavior specialist. I looked up the specialist's information, only to learn that a consult starts at $200, and a 30 minute phone conversation is $65...

The only other thing that we haven't tried (besides getting another dog to keep him company, which is out of the question) is an anti-bark collar. I'm hesitant to do this for obvious reasons, but I have to say that I am starting to consider it as an option. Before all of the animal activists start writing letters, please know that we are running out of options here. We can't leave our cellphones on forever (plus Remy is starting to catch on), he can't always come with us, or go hang out with his cousin Marcus (although the D'Orazios have been extremely gracious in letting us bring him there when we need to), and we can't continue to avoid leaving the house so that he doesn't bother the neighbors. These things are impractical and are taking a toll on this familia. We don't want to have to find Mr. Remy a new home, so perhaps we should try and land a spot on Cesar Millan's, "The Dog Whisperer". In the meantime, this desperate dog owner is welcoming your suggestions...


  1. Hey Erin. This may seem crazy, but I would get a bark collar and then test it on yourself. On your wrist or hand, not your neck. :) That is the only way you will know whether you feel comfortable using it on Remy. If you got a collar with an adjustable setting that would be good, you could try steadily upping the "voltage" until the collar either worked or you were uncomfortable using it.

    I was initially apprehensive when I bought a collar for Lilly as well. After testing the collar on myself I quickly realized that most of the levels are not really even painful, but they do get your attention. I *rarely* use the levels that are painful and only after the lower levels have not done the job.

    I hope you can solve this problem. I want Rem Dog to stay in the fam!

  2. I just noticed the new name of your blog: pretty clever !! I really hope some solutions come your way to help dear Remy !!

  3. Erin

    I am with Adam on this one, but you know that, cuz we talked already. Rem will adapt to the new rules, he is a smart dog, that is why he misses you so when you leave. He knows what good companions you, Jay, Mitchell, and Landon are.

    Adam is right about using the bark collar on yourself first, once you do you will see that it gets your attention more than it hurts. I used it on myself, whipped me right into shape, HA :) Actually I am still in training, but Lilly is a great dog!

    Good Luck!

  4. Ang and Adam,

    Thanks for the advice! You two have done a great job with Toby and Lilly which is the only reason I am considering a bark collar... Maybe we'll give it a shot and hope our little hound dog can ease up on the barking, either that or we'll send him to SC and let Lilly whip him into shape!

  5. Hey Sis, I am in agreement with the others. You have exhausted your resources. This is the last chance that you have to keep Remy. As Landon gets older, you will want to leave the house more. It's not cruel. You know how much I love animals (espically Baily and Remy!) If he does find a new home, I think you should rename your blog to Rem-blog in honor of him...very clever! Actually, I LOVE that name...

  6. Erin honey,

    We love the Rem dog and he can stay with Marcus anytime. Dogs are animals and animals need to know their boudaries. It is always better to train with praise and reward, but when that is not an option, dissuasion is a viable and humane method. The alternatives would be much more traumatic for Remy.

  7. Beautifully written Uncle T! Cesar himself couldn't have said it better...


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