Competitions, slight regression and Mason

It has been an interesting week/weekend.  Minnie had her second competition and since it was local, this time Mickey attended. School saw a bit of regression last week, but we are seemingly back on track.  Mason the dog has lost his mind.

That was a grammatically weak opening paragraph, but I am mentally tired and the pollen (yellow snow) numbers are at an all time high here and my head has been throbbing for days :-). Let’s start with a bit of regression – Mickey struggled a bit last week.  I shouldn’t be surprised, every single time I write of how well he is doing, he has a setback.  But, it was really one incident that was problematic and then the consequences of that choice.  That was Tuesday afternoon and by Friday he was back on track. So, I am not going to dwell on it too much.  Today I got a note from his teacher saying Mickey was annoyed with him over an assignment, but was keeping it together well.

This weekend was abnormal because Minnie had her second dance competition, but this time it was local rather than out of state.  That meant Mickey got to come see her dance too.  This would have been fun, except the competition ran really late Friday night and her production team (ages 6-18) didn’t perform until well after 10:00 pm.  This is really late for Minnie and the other younger members.  This is also really late for Mickey.  He gets very whiny starting around his 8 pm bedtime.  You can imagine how pleasant he was by 10 pm.  She performed again on Sunday with just the mini team.  They did well, with a top 5 finish and a special judges award.  We spent most of the weekend at the competition supporting her team members during their routines.  Mickey joined us for some, and skipped some and that is just fine.  He was there to support his sister and he enjoyed the parts he was there for.

And Mason….I have written some about Mason before.  He is the sweetest, most unflappable dog ever.  Last week was our 5 year anniversary of having found him at our local rescue group.  We brought him home as a 10 month old puppy and found that he was exactly what my animal obsessed daughter needed and exactly what my raging melting down son needed to calm.  Mason walks into a raging meltdown – not away.  He calms Mickey instantly.  He never barks, he never growls, he never snaps.  He is very chill.  Then last week, he had two instances of aggression – both while sound asleep.  He and Minnie have slept together almost since day 1 (sleeping with Mickey is not an option because he moves entirely too much).  They cuddle together, with Mason often scooting under her head/arms/leg.  So, last Tuesday Minnie rolled over and Mason growled and snapped at her.  No damage was done, but it was a little scary.  Since it was so out of character we assumed he had a nightmare or she rolled over on his tail or something that hurt him and we thought no more about it.  Two days later, on Thursday night it happened again – only this time he got her on the nose.  She was bleeding when I got to the room. Both had been asleep, but both were still curled up together and he was very calm.  She was crying and hysterical trying to convince me that Mason hadn’t done it and begging me not to make him sleep in his crate.  For the record, he didn’t clamp down on her – he snapped and got her with his teeth, but there is no bite mark – just several scratches where his teeth got her nose.

I took him to the vet yesterday to have him checked out and we could find nothing wrong.  No obvious cause of pain – no inflamed gums, no obvious injury, nothing on physical exam.  We ran blood work, but that is seemingly normal too.  Two years ago, he did have a bad neck/back injury (from jumping up on furniture – we think), but he cried a lot and was in obvious pain suddenly one morning.  This could be bothering him again, as the doctor said that it might flare up periodically, but he is running and jumping fine, so I don’t think that is it. During waking hours his behavior has not changed at all – chill, easy going, loving, snuggly – no lethargy, no real change in appetite (maybe a little less than usual, but it is hard to tell because he free feeds – only eats when he is hungry – so we don’t feed him at set times, he just always has food in his bowl).  This is just an issue when he is asleep.

If any dog lovers have suggestions, I am all ears.  Minnie is very annoyed with me because I won’t let him sleep with her until we figure this out.  He slept with me two nights and has spent two nights in his crate.  But, he doesn’t snuggle with me the way he does with her, so I haven’t seen the snapping.  She has a queen sized bed, so he has plenty of options other than to snuggle up close to her, but he doesn’t choose to take them. She is not a wild sleeper either.  He is not food aggressive, nor territorial at all, so I doubt he has grown territorial about her bed.  If she comes to sleep with me, he follows her.  In fact, he spends 80% of his time with her – all our animals do.  They love me and Mickey, but in truth we are just poor substitutes for Minnie.  They flock to her on the couch, in her room, in the kitchen.  Both Mason and Sherbert follow her wherever she goes. He also spends zero time in her room if she isn’t in there. Which is why this makes no sense to me.  He was calm and still snuggling her when I got to her room, so he wasn’t agitated or annoyed with her.  We love Mason, so we really must find a solution and he hates his crate and always has, so none of us love the idea of him sleeping there.  In fact, Minnie slept next to crate on the hard tile floor in the living room last night because I put Mason in there.  Obviously, my main concern is Minnie’s safety, but we very much love Mason and want to figure out what has happened that has him so out of sorts when he is sleeping.

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