A Photo Essay
Apparently, Toby has found his acting career so compelling that he wants to continue it. And apparently, he has decided I am the perfect audience for this, because according to my husband, Toby does not do nearly so much paddling and howling when I am not home. He saves that pleasant behavior for me! I’m his chosen audience, apparently.
However, he does have another, very rapt audience. We have blocked off the area behind the sofa, so Oskar can’t get over to the sliding glass door where Toby is, but Oskar was so entranced by Toby’s “performance” that he got on the sofa to watch:
But then he decided he needed to get a bit closer:
Oskar has seen Bel and Toby lay on the back of the sofa, so I think he decided he might want to try that, but of course, it’s quite different when a 110 pound Akita tries it! When the sofa looked like it was going to flip over, U. called Oskar to get off the sofa, and since Oskar’s a good boy, he obliged. But on the way down, something caught his attention:
That’s when we discovered that there was another member of the audience:
Bel was watching too!
Toby should be delighted that he has such an attentive audience for his daily acting, but he seems not to be. He wants ME to pay attention to his acting.
And I feel I’ve had enough.
So after some useful input from the Shiba forum, I realized I missed some obvious solutions to Toby’s situation. First, yes, it probably is a kind of separation anxiety. He’s used to me being home a lot of the time, and even if I’m not in the room with him, he knows I’m here. But this fall, I’m busy with work and classes I’m taking, and I home a lot less than usual. Toby feels neglected.
Someone suggested I try a thundershirt on him, and I thought, what a brilliant idea (and then, why didn’t I think of that?) So I got out Bel’s thundershirt and tried to put it on him, but Toby is a bit, well, more substantial than Bel, so it would not fit around his girth. Then I got some suggestions for substitutes. I decided to try these, first just with a t-shirt. I found a smallish one of mine and put it on him, but obviously it was not small enough:
While he looked rather dashing in it, it had absolutely none of the swaddling effect necessary to calm anxiety. I’d also been directed to a good link to a blog that talked about anxiety wraps for dogs* (see below), so I decided I could easily make one out of an old boxing hand-wrap:
This was slightly more successful: it did at least fit tightly, and Toby was intrigued with the process. I don’t think I wrapped it quite right (and there was rather a lot of material to use), but Toby seemed pleased with his new look:
And he was actually calm for, oh, about 15 minutes.
I’ll have to try wrapping him up in a different way, perhaps with more across the chest. Probably tomorrow, as I’m sure he’ll be back at it soon.
*Here’s a link for the blog that has the home made anxiety wraps for dogs: The Peaceful Dog
A couple of weekends ago, we cleaned the chimneys. Bel got into the soot:
And so did Toby, which is why his chest still looks a little grey in his “Toby Soprano” photo. But here’s what he did look like:
Both Shibas need a bath!