|Barked: Thu Feb 28, '13 11:11am PST |
|Sorry in advance - no matter which way I slice this, it will be a long story, but I'll try to keep it short.
There's a few parties involved - fiancé and I, Dexter, Dexter Two (how inconvenient - two dogs named Dexter...) and fiancé's dad - let's just call him Dad.
My fiancé's dog, Dexter, has always been a bit sensitive. He is a big-time submissive pee-er and does not take criticism well. He's very anxious and needs constant reassurance and is really bad with rules. The more guidelines he has (eg. needing invitations to jump up on the couch/bed), the more nervous and fearful he becomes. I'm not sure why this is, it's just in his nature.
Anyway, we moved in with Dad a couple months ago short-term while we figured out a new living situation. Less than a week after we arrived, Dad's own dog suddenly passed away. Dexter could sense Dad's distress and took to him really well. He slept with him at night, cuddled him constantly, and they became best of friends. Dad was less rigid with rules and they complimented each other very well. Fiancé and I stood by and watched with mixed feelings while Dexter bonded with Dad and wanted less and less to do with us. It was sad in its own way, but we were glad Dad had a source of comfort. We even talked about leaving Dexter behind when we moved back out because we thought it would be best for everyone.
After a few weeks, Dad adopted a new dog from someone who couldn't keep their dog (Dexter Two). Dexter Two is very socially awkward with other dogs and not well trained. He obviously had no rules and thinks he is king bee over everyone. Tobi would have none of his entitlement and they had to be kept separate for the first few weeks because they would fight constantly (even now, they don't exactly like each other, but do tolerate each other's presence now). On the flip side, Dexter Two very aggressively dominated Dexter and bullied him into submission. He also gets extremely jealous of Dexter when he tries to spend time with Dad now and will jump up on them, snarl at Dexter and snap at his feet until he moves away from Dad, then take his spot as 'king' in Dad's lap. Dad doesn't care about doggie hierarchy and bad etiquette and doesn't see anything wrong with Dexter Two's bullying.... but we have noticed a huge dip in Dexter's energy. He is constantly sad and mopey and never wants to move off the couch, not even to play with a ball or go out to pee or go for a walk. He gets so excited when Dad gets home in the afternoon, but will run away if Dad gets too close because he knows Dexter Two will get mad. It's tragic.
Anyway, we are slated to move out this weekend, but we don't know what to do about Dexter. He's so sad to no longer be the apple of Dad's eye. Leaving him behind now doesn't make any sense because Dexter Two won't share anyway. We can't tell Dad not to keep Dexter Two, because he likes him plenty as well. I don't think there's a happy ending here, exactly, but I want to find ways to help make Dexter happy again. We've been trying to shower him with pets, toys and treats but it's not really working. I'm afraid when we move away from Dad, we'll just make his mood worse (or possibly much better because he's no longer oppressed? -- I have no clue). What else can we do? Anyone had a dog get depressed for a similar reason? Is it likely to pass if we leave? Please share your thoughts with me.