CASSIE – BICHON FRISE
PROBLEM – WITHDRAWAL
FOLLOWING DEATH OF RESCUE MATE, AND ADDITION OF NEW PUPPY.
Sheila rang me, sounding at the end of her tether with the behaviour of Cassie, her 7 year old rescue Bichon Frise.
Sheila had originally rescued Cassie and another Bichon female almost a year ago.
About 8 months later, Sheila purchased a Tibetan Terrier puppy, Zig and sadly, very shortly afterwards the second Bichon had died of kidney failure following a short illness.
Over a period of a few weeks, Cassie had changed from quite a playful dog, tolerant of the new puppy,
to a withdrawn almost sullen dog with no interest whatsoever in play.
The puppy would be the subject of quite severe growling when he sought out Cassie for play and she also became very noisy at night. Even on her walks, she would drag behind and have no enthusiasm whatsoever.
Sheila advised me that Cassie had taken to howling, barking and whining at all hours of the night, and she had very little sleep for several nights.
I initially attended on a sort of
emergency response mission to try to ensure that Sheila could at least get a good nights sleep and then subsequently attended to carry out a full assessment.
On assessing the dogs, it was clear that Zig was a lovely, well-balanced puppy and that Cassie was suffering with a form of grieving for her old mate, coupled with insecurity over her position in the
home following Zig’s arrival. The crying at night was a form of separation anxiety. Sheila had let her adoration of the new puppy affect her relationship with Cassie who was feeling excluded and had subsequently withdrawn from most activities.
Sheila was shown an appropriate interruption method for the night-time noise and a gentle and fair method of re-bonding with both dogs, treating them as equals. This also included a drastic reduction in the
amount of time both dogs were spending on her lap or beside her on the sofa. By the end of the first session, Cassie had visibly perked up and had a spring in her step when she went out for her walk.
The acquisition of new puppies in homes with existing dogs, always has the potential for conflict and
has to be handled sensitively. Dogs who have previously been the subject of attention from family and friends can suddenly feel left out, often with adverse behavioural results.
” There has definitely been a change in Cassie in the two days since you visited.
There is a real difference in her, she seems all frisky and happy and is much quieter at night now, she slept virtually right through last night. Her walk this morning, was the best she’s ever been since I have had her, she really enjoyed it. It’s remarkable really. I am by nature a bit of a pessimist due to previous
experiences, but I am cautiously optimistic now.” Sheila.