the other day we had to put one of our dogs to sleep. We have a wonderful vet that came to our home to do this. We left the other one in house while it was happening and when it was over she came out we let her see him and then we buried him. Now when we go outside she spends her time looking for him and when she doesn't find him she goes to his grave and stays there. She was always all over the place when we went out, always finding something interesting. Now she doesn't do anything else but look for the other dog. I think I was wrong in letting her see where he was buried and am already so depressed that I fear I am not helping her.I have tried to distract her with play but it isn't working Is it still to new or will this be helped with time. any suggestions would be much appreciated.
This situation is so difficult. You did your best. But yes, dogs have deep emotions, strong memories, and they are not fools. They think differently to us, but they DO think. They are also very perceptive of the emotions and even motivations of their owners and pack leaders. They know when they are worried, down, depressed, pretending, etc.
I know. I pretended to be happy and cheerful when I was mourning once, and also had had no sleep. I threw that frisbee, saying all the usual fun words.....it did not work. My dog was not fooled, she looked unsure about me and joined in the game but without her usual enthusiasm. I caught her keep looking at me, not quite sure about me.
They pick up on our thoughts and worries, and the way we feel too.
But another thing is they can quite easily become addicted to certain behaviours. Yes, time heals, but time must be filled with the right habits or it won't heal, it will just reinforce those habits.
Your dog could get a bit obsessed with looking for her "lost" friend and pack member. She has the memory of where you laid him to rest, and that's become her focus-point.
My dog's current obsession is hunting about under the bird-feeder for scraps of food. She does that whenever she's bored or I'm busy. It really has become an obsession. The only way I have found to break through it is change the subject, in a thoroughly convincing way.
It might be good for her, and for you too, to have a day out, spend time together, go for some good walks, maybe to a woods, or the beach. Make YOU her focus point, and spend time walking with her every day. And when you come home, go straight in, and concentrate on giving her food or something she can really focus on.
Slowly she may let go of her graveside vigil.
I am very very sorry, by the way, that you had to have your dog put to sleep. It is always heartbreaking. You and your dog will have to help each other through.
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