Legitimately, there are so many new words I heard and learnt in the past 4 years that it is unbelievable how our generation and the younger generation has complicated, wasted and made the beautiful term “LOVE” meaningless. Besides ghosting, gaslighting, narcissist, talking stage, etc., codependency is just another word that I learnt.
Now what is codependency? In simple words, it means where a person is needy, or dependent upon another person. Basically, clingy. In a relationship, one person is so addicted to the other, that their life doesn’t function normally without the presence of the other person. In a crux, it is actually an unhealthy relationship.
But here, I mainly want to talk about codependent dogs. Yes, I learnt this word after interacting with a Vet. And to understand it better, I read through some articles on the internet and realized this has become very common these days in a relationship.
I had recently gone to the Vet as we are in the process of changing Junior’s medicated food to normal food. He relatively had less patients that day and was free to talk to me. He shared some not so surprising facts with me about the 2 major issues dogs faced in the lockdown – anxiety and obesity.
Obesity was because of the restrictions during the lockdown and the fear of coming in contact with the virus if humans walked their dogs in public. So most of the dog parents over fed their dogs with treats and crumbs to keep them entertained or not to disturb them when they were on a work call or in short, when they were working from home.
The other problem was, anxiety that the dogs faced was because outdoor activities were limited, socializing was a strict no and every walk was atleast 6 feet away from any kind of interaction with other dogs and humans. Because of the pandemic, the humans stayed home 24/7, which means, it was a party for the dogs. For them, there is nothing better than being with their humans’ day and night for months together. Unfortunately, this in due course resulted to codependency. The dogs became completely reliant on their humans for every minute of their day.
You probably would think, “how cute, my dog follows me everywhere. Aww, he/she loves me so much.” But in reality, your dog has forgotten to grasp the concept of having space, and their dependency could be making them a nervous wreck. They have now become so afraid when you leave the house or are not there at home that they become ecstatic when you come home. Their tails are wagging frantically, they start jumping on you and sometimes, even the house is a mess.
For most of us this is a normal behavior, irrespective of the pandemic. But the difference is, now it has become difficult for the dog to be on their own after we have spent months with them and started suffering from anxiety.
So, how do you know the difference between cuteness and codependency? Here are some signs to check in your dog:
- Barking more than normal
- Jumping a lot
- Peeing on the floor
- Destroying things at home
- Following you from room to room
- Nipping on people who gets close to them
- Over possessive about their humans
- Head bobbing
- Become a little aggressive
- Eats only after you feed them
These are some signs to look for. If you can relate to some or all of the above, then your dog is completely dependent on you and may develop anxiety if not corrected soon.
When I had relocated to a new apartment, Junior faced codependency for a few days as the place was new. But since I knew it was a temporary phase till he got adjusted, I just let him be. But codependency can turn into a permanent problem for the dogs with the little lives that they have.
Allow me to share some suggestions/tips to help your dog and you through it. But first, let me once again bring light to the fact that their clinginess may look cute, but being responsible dog parents, we have to help them be mentally independent just like how we would for human kids. Here are some tips when they behave to gummy:
- Pet them less
- Ignore them when they are wanting too much attention
- Make sure they sleep or have plenty of things to do when you leave home
- Be strict on their sleeping time
- Slowly and steadily start taking them to dog parks and socialize with other dogs (now that the lockdowns have eased all over the world)
- Even when you are home, send them to their favourite space as time out. Basically, less dog-parent interaction
- Burn their energy
- Stimulate their mind with mental games
Let me inform you, sometimes, the way one partner is dependent on the other partner, even humans can be dependent on their dogs. Like some humans cannot sleep without their dog by their side, or some call the day care 10 times to know how their dog is doing, many won’t go on holidays or dates without their dogs, and even if they do, their only topic to talk about is their dog! Either way, codependency is not healthy. For the betterment of everyone living under one roof and the dog, start being honest with yourself. Learn to have a life of your own and also help your dog become healthy mentally.
Cooked a few dishes this week, but they were ultra delicious.
In Mumbai, it has been raining heavily from the past 3 days, because of which I couldn’t take Junior for a walk. I tried giving him his required exercise and burnt his energy at home only as much as I could. However, we still had a fun week.
The featured image is of sweet and tangy Risotto.
Let me take you through my activities in the past week, obviously, apart from the boring routine 😁
What I cooked last week.
I come across many pet parents who are confused about spaying or neutering their dogs. First, let us understand the difference between spay and neuter. Spaying is removing the ovaries and uterus of a female dog, and neutering is removing the testicles of a male dog. It is a veterinary procedure that requires minimal hospitalization.
In this post, I will be mainly talking about neutering as I have male dogs and would like to share my experience and opinion about it. As I mentioned before, pet parents are usually confused, or at times even unaware, whether to neuter their dogs. In my professional opinion, not only as a dog mom or a former animal activist, but also as an animal lover, neutering dogs is always a good option.
“The big snip,” as some people call it, provides many health benefits beyond making sure dogs do not become puppy daddies. Neutering can cut the risk of certain diseases, unwanted behaviours, and conflicts with other dogs. In all ways, this is 100% true through personal experience.
When I had only Casper, I did not get him neutered earlier as I wanted to get him mated. As many of you will agree, Labradors as young dogs are extremely hyper. Casper was a handful for me to handle all alone, specially in public. Eventually I got him mated four times and in total he had 22 puppies. When I had gone to pick Junior up (Casper’s son), I was shocked to see the condition the bitch and the puppies were living in. While it was not terrible, it wasn’t exactly good either. It was a litter of 8 puppies; all of them where been given for adoption. Majority of the families were inexperienced, first time pet owners who did not really understand the responsibility that comes along with taking a pet in your home. This was an eye opener for me and the very same day I decided to neuter Casper. Coincidently Junior was returned three times after adoption (story mentioned in my previous blogs) and eventually I ended up adopting him (best decision of my life), my Vet suggested to neuter Casper immediately. The reason was, so that two male dogs with an age gap do not end up into a nasty fight.
Honestly, I was a little scared at first to let Casper go under the knife, predominantly because at that time, I was not completely aware of the benefits of neutering. But soon after Casper recovered from the surgery, he was a changed dog. He was much calmer and out of the blue, a very obedient dog. His walks became like a piece of cake for me as he had stopped pulling or getting excited. By no means I am saying he had become dull. What I mean is, from a hyper dog, he had become a cool harmonious dog. Seeing this, after some months I got Junior neutered too and got the same good results. The vet told me to keep a check on their weight; with the right balance of exercise, food and getting their energy burnt, they were always in the perfect weight segment.
Apart from behavioural changes, there are many other benefits of neutering your dog.
- It eliminates the occurrence of testicular cancer
- Neutered dogs are not sexually frustrated! Infact, animals become sexually frustrated when responsible pet owners do not permit them to mate and satisfy those hormonally driven urges. Without testosterone, these urges are not present, and the animals are more likely to focus their attention on their human family rather than on reproduction
- Neutering markedly reduces the incidence of benign hyperplasia of the prostate gland, prostatitis, and perineal hernias in dogs
- It reduces the number of unwanted litter where the poor puppies are sold or given up for adoption to just anyone
- It also helps a dog live a healthier, longer life, and they may reduce behavioural issues. Neutered dogs are generally less aggressive
- It is almost a risk-free surgery and not very expensive
But, but, but … as we know, not everyone thinks this way. Some pet parents that I have come across have extremely different views, which, at times, leaves me flabbergasted! Sharing some of the most common reasons I have heard from pet parents for not neutering their pets:
- I have heard some say, “I cannot see my baby in pain.”
No one can, but this is a painless surgery. And post-surgery also the dog is not in pain and practically gets back to his routine in no time.
- I have heard this a few times, “How can you take away what God has given!”
What they fail to realize is by neutering, I am only ensuring an accident free and healthy long life for my dog!
- One specific person had once told me, “Mating is a natural process for which I will not get him neutered.”
Believe it or not, his dog is 4+ years old now and till date he has not got his dog mated. His dog humps on everyone he meets and is barking all the time out of sexual frustration.
- The best one I have heard till date, and I just have to share, “There are not benefits of neutering. All these are vet created to earn more money from surgeries.”
Honestly, to people so blinded with their own judgements and refusing to listen to scientifically proven expert advices, all I can say is “No Comments!”
As per my personal experience with my dogs, I would like to conclude this blog by saying, “Spay or Neuter your dogs.” My dogs are extremely well behaved, ideal body weight, healthy and happy.
Another picture gallery of all the fun Mumma and Baby had in the lockdown.
The featured picture is of Quinoa made in Tomato Puree. Healthy, delicious and filling. Yum!