The Bad Little Kid

This is a bad girl…

I don’t know what’s going on with my dog, but as Auntie Lillie used to say of–ahem–some bad little kids in the family, “she’s the devil’s own one, lately.”

If I get on the phone and forget to lock her out of the office, she preens, huffs and dances around demanding my attention. If I do lock her out, she launches herself at the door. The kennel is the only place for her when I must make a call.

Buster used to get into demanding mischief when I got on the phone, too, but he was three. Alle is in her eighties!

Her latest trick is to freak out during even the softest rain, and try to empty/climb into my closet, or my husband’s, or into a corner of the bathroom, or under my knees at the desk. This is new behavior. For a while, we joked about UFO’s because it seemed like every time she tried this, there was another loony sighting in the sky. Now, it’s every rainfall.

Very difficult to get work done when she’s like this…sigh.

Stupid dog. Seriously deranged.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • shana

    Must be going through her ‘second puppyhood’.

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  • Julie Cruse

    In April I had to put down my 12 year old dog…actually looks very much like yours, but a brown version. In his last years, when he started the huffing and prancing around, we’d try not to make eye contact with him because if we did he would nag us relentlessly and we never could figure out what he wanted. I had to keep lights on at night or I’d trip over him…even when I used the restroom, he’d wait outside the door. They do get a little “puppyish” in their later years. He was the best dog, and I cried almost daily when he left us.

  • James

    How can you be upset with a dog that can look at you like that? The picture just says “I love you.”

    [I know it. And she has me totally wrapped around her paw. -admin]

  • Debbie

    You may want to get her hearing checked. A couple of our dogs began to exhibit behaviors related to anxiety, especially when it came to storms and the 4th of July. Sounds has changed for them and it was frightening.

  • Caroline W

    Elizabeth, my dog is in her “nineties.” I, too, have noticed some new, squirrely behavior…there are times when she simply can’t be alone, patrolling through the house checking in with this person and that…when I’m at my desk in the office she sits right behind me, so I have no choice but to roll over her when I get up from my chair. Seriously I think they have a sixth sense about dying. She knows her time is nearing, but she just doesn’t want to let go.


    What a special Pup. I know how she feels sometimes. We all have Our days.

    What a special joy, to know you are needed, wanted, loved.

    My long gone Pup, lasted 18 years, and I miss her on nearly daily. She was so savvy, knew how to get a cookie every time.

    My best advice, is to get used to having her learn to be in your office, under your feet is common, but perhaps a little blanket close by. Take her for a walk prior to work, to exhaust a little energy. And encourage her to quietly sleep, and rest.

    She may be sensing her days are passing, and is afraid of the future – all instinct.

    Regardless, she is so cute. You are blessed.

  • Sara (Pal2Pal)

    My beloved dog was about 10 years old when I left home to go away to college. She was used to me leaving for 2 or 3 weeks to go away to camp, but never more than that. She was fine the first few weeks, but then my Mother noticed that she suddenly forgot she was housebroken and she also started chewing. She chewed a huge hole in my bedspread, tore up the scatter rug by my bed, she tore up a teddy bear I had sitting on a shelf in my room, and she was leaving little piles of doggy do all over the house. Due to her age, my Mother took her to the vet to see if something was wrong with her physically. After a thorough exam turned up no physical problem, he asked what had changed in her routine. My Mother could think of nothing, but did mention that I’d been away at college for about a month. The Vet immediately pounced on that and said she was acting out because she didn’t understand why I wasn’t coming home after the time she was used to me coming back home again, 2-3 weeks.

    My Mother took a couple days off work, put the dog in the car and drove from NY to Michigan and brought the dog up to my dorm room. She went ballistic when she saw me, spent about an hour sniffing every nook and cranny and seemed satisfied that all was okay. My Mother took her back home and all the bad behavior stopped. I came home a month later for the holidays and she was happy to see me but never went thru withdrawal again after I left. She just needed reassurance that I was still alive and well I think.

    Has something major changed in your household?

    [No, not really. -admin]

  • Joe C

    I have to agree with Debbie. If it’s a hearing problem, It would not be uncommon for a dog to exhibit strange behavior (anxitity) during thunder and fireworks/gun shots.
    I had to give my old dog Sadie a benadryl whenever storm season or hunting season started. Amen to 4th of July as well.

  • kelleyb

    Have developed great aim because my pup creates chaos when I am on a serious call. I toss my sandals at him. All our dogs have done this. Why?
    When our son and his family moved into their newly built home recently, leaving the pup with out the grand kids, his world was rocked. He now stays no more than three feet from me at all times. He ‘gets’ into things while I am gone. I should take him on a road trip to the kids new digs….maybe he will settle down. I don’t even want to see what happens when his buddy ‘cat’ crosses the rainbow bridge. “Cat’ is failing. We will all be sad.

  • SFGiants Fan

    Sounds like doggie dimentia. My friends’ dogs all had it. They get needy and clingy. Its a bummer. But, at least you have the old love around.

    Give her a pat for me.


  • Pat the Protestant

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Your naughty kid is adorable! But given her age I thought hearing when you described her response to soft rain. I think Debbie may well have it right – sound has changed and it’s no longer the familiar sound and scary. Dogs sometimes get dementia – but the good news is there are drugs that are often quite helpful.

    Pat the Protestant

  • Teresa

    Your pup has a lovely smile. As far as I can tell my older Shepherd does not have a hearing problem as she always paces and pants when it rains. If it happens at night she goes into the bathroom and closes the door. Because I get up to use the bathroom without turning on a light I have walked right into the bathroom door! I also have a parrot and she answers the phone when it rings. While I am talking on the phone she starts laughing. Try putting her bed under your desk. I find this works pretty well. She may be frustrating at times but the devotion coming your way is worth it.

  • Mary

    Our dear little dog is in her eighties now and clings very closely to whoever is home. She had a companion dog who had to be put to sleep over a year ago. When she died, our remaining sweetie came down with a mysterious illness (the vet never found a cause) and was hospitalized for four days, being unable to keep down food or water. Since then, she has adjusted, but wants company. She doesn’t see or hear too well anymore and I think she is frightened alone. We love them so much.

  • Maureen Williamson

    Here’s an article about Cognitive Dysfunction in dogs. It looks like you might be able to get her some meds and have things more normal at your house. Poor thing, she doesn’t mean to be a problem. link

    [Thank you for that. She doesn't really have any of those symptoms. I've come to realize this behavior is only happening at a certain time on some afternoons, so I am going to pay attention to what's going on in the neighborhood at that hour. -admin]

  • Roz Smith

    All three of my dogs will react when I am on the phone if there is significant emotion in the conversation. It’s possible they get confused. They hear excitement or anger in my voice and can’t smell, hear or see what I am reacting, too. My biggest dog had some security training and gets super alert if I get angry with a caller. He checks the doors and will constantly sweeping his head around, ears pricked and nose sniffing. An older dog may be more likely to show confusion in such situations because they do sense their skills are failing.

    I noticed my older Jack Russell, who is almost blind, barks a lot more at noises since her vision began to fail. I’ll be downwind of her in the garden. When I move she’ll start barking and growling until she catches my scent. Then she gets an almost sheepish expression.

  • Tonestaple

    My cats won’t leave me alone when I am on the phone. They can’t imagine that I am talking to someone who isn’t them. And now, two years after having my precious pup put to sleep, now I have a new puppy who doesn’t care what I do as long as I don’t leave her. Her behavior when I do return home is truly pathetic. She’s in the house the whole time, sitting or sleeping or barking on my bed, but when I get home, she yips and tries to wrap herself around my legs. It would be cute if it didn’t also come with pee.

    Your girlie is adorable. Give her a kiss on the nose for me.

  • Suz

    You might try a “Thundershirt.” Seems to help my jittery dingo mix when the rain or wind picks up or the shooting starts.

    There are some drugs available to combat the nerve-wracking symptoms of senior dementia, if the nuttiness progresses.

    Hearing changes are certainly a possibility—though when one of my dogs finally went deaf at age 13, he spent the his remaining years at peace with thunderstorms! Finally!

    Good luck with that cutie.

  • Sandra

    Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is the official name for it. It is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans. Many dogs DO REVERT to puppy behavior. One of our three has it, and at times is “lost” in the middle of the nearly empty living room.

    Other times mistakes the wall NEXT to the doorway for the door way. Or if woken suddenly, does not know where he is, but responds to my voice to calm him down (and we’ve only had him these last 5 years).

    Lots of love, unconditional love and really I’ve found, being WITH them, does calm them.

    Now our 9 year old Lab-Pointer mix… different story, she’s “The Princess” and must be the center of attention, since she was a pup.

    The accelerated aging seen in dogs only seems to be preparing us for our mothers’ aging (both DH and I have lost our fathers). It is frustrating, but it is only for a very short time.

  • MaxedOutMama

    If this behavior has mostly developed since the Rome trip, the poor dog probably developed severe anxiety when you were away due to age and worry. It will be hard to cure.

    Try to settle down with her a couple times a day for walk/cuddle/whatever routine. As much structure as possible. If that does not help, take her to the vet and ask about her general health, and about whether she can tolerate a mild tranquilizer to calm her down a week or two, and for frightening times.

    Also, she may be reacting to YOUR health. How are you feeling? I’ve noticed dogs may develop this behavior when someone is ill. That’s a very intelligent breed.

    She is very old, and she won’t handle stress of any sort well. How is she in walking? Is she very short of breath? If her heart and/or lungs are going, she may be in mild stress from that, and the vet might be able to prescribe a medication that would ease the burden a bit.

    I’m guessing this mostly was from the Rome trip.

    [Yes, I have an appt scheduled for her, for next week. I don't know if it is trip-related - we've been back 6 weeks, and this behavior only started about two weeks ago - but I've noticed that the behavior only happens during a certain time of day. I'm beginning to wonder if she is hearing something--like a really high tone--that I can't, or sensing vibrations. All of the bus routes have changed for the school kids. I wonder if that's connected. -admin]

  • JAL

    Sorry to her your dear dog is misbehaving. Glad she has recovered.

    Our dog as he got older developed a fear of lightening and thunder. He had been an “outdoor” dog for all his growing up and adult life, and move in with us ;- after he had surgery. Even then he was fine … and then really got scared when it rained/thundered. I am trying to remeber if just the rain bohered him.

    I’d give him a hug as he launched himself into the bed or tried to get into my lap — all 85 pounds of him.

    He passed away in his teens / 80s. Best dog we ever had. :-) Humor her.

  • Gordon Jewett

    If you haven’t done it yet, hopefully you have a good veterinarian that can help you determine if she has a medical issue that may be going on. I currently have a 17 year old that is going through the senior stuff. She can’t hear well, sight is ok, but still loves being stroked.

    Peace and God Bless, and may Christ be the center of your life.

  • Lifeofthemind

    Coming up on a year, 12/29 2236EST, since my four footed best friend died. Miss him every day. We are never more human than when we care for those who who live only in the present. We can comfort ourselves with hope for a future, including a “Rainbow Bridge” for them. They feel an end coming and, knowing only of what is, feel the fear and loss all the more. They do think and feel.

  • Dad of Six

    She’s way too cute to be a troublemaker! You shouldn’t have shown us that picture…I’m taking her side.

  • Steve Colby

    “Stupid dog. Seriously deranged.”

    No truer words of love were ever spoken.

  • Ellen

    My cat does odd things for no reason. She gets all clingy when I am trying to use the phone, she rests her chin on my hand when I am trying to use the touchpad on my laptop and when I am trying to watch TV at night, she runs galloping across the room caroming off the walls. Who can figure her out? But she loves me, and I love her.

  • Cheryl McAdams

    She’s your baby girl. Just in need of loving hugs and reassurance from her momma.

  • Roz Smith

    “I’m beginning to wonder if she is hearing something–like a really high tone–that I can’t.”

    That may be it! The mystery as to why my German Shepherd Akita cross sometimes seemed to bark at nothing was solved when a friend did some work for my neighbors. He was totally shocked at the way this couple yelled at each other while he was there. While their house is far enough away that I can’t hear them sometimes my dog Cooper does.

    The joke is that since they bought the place this couple has complained to every dog owner in the valley about barking. Next time I think I’ll tell them the dogs would bark less if they stopped yelling %&*# @+$ at each other.

  • Rudy

    Dog’s hearing is much better than our own! Our vet told us that dogs can hear thunder that is 50 miles away. She may be hearing something in the afternoon that is causing her anxiety. Seek to understand – rather than be understood. Take a break and comfort her. At least she isn’t biting you or peeing on the floor. If all else fails, contact the Dog Whisperer. 8 )