Coda’s behavior has been a little strange lately and our family had assumed it was just the new baby. However, when we received a postcard from our vet saying it was time for her annual exam, we thought it would be a good time to ask the vet about some of the funny things we had been seeing. Due to Covid, I dropped Coda off and drove away. The vet called me about 20 minutes later to go over some of my questions and provide her guidance regarding Coda’s behavior.
So let’s start with our crazy pup Coda since Eleanor’s arrival: If you read Doggo and Ellie then you know that Coda adores her little hooman – especially after she’s had a bottle because then Ellie tastes SO good. Ellie loves her Coda pup too and uses her as a Bobby whenever possible. Their relationship is sweet.
I wrote in Celebrate Progress that Coda’s new favorite spot is on the rug in front of Ellie’s crib where she can see the top of the stairs and the Little at the same time. She prefers that spot to even being in the den with us as we wind down our evening as adults. It’s very touching that Coda has adopted this little into her sacred circle – into her pack.
Over the past several months, Coda has developed some interesting … let’s say idiosyncrasies … that I thought were worth mentioning to the vet:
- Coda asks to go out A LOT – like every time one of us comes downstairs, she runs to the door and sits
- Coda asks to be fed at her usual morning and evening times, we’ll go through the routine, then she’ll sniff her food and walk away
- Coda will not come upstairs with us in the evening – she’ll stay lying in her corner until we call her and make her come with us
- Once or if she’s upstairs, she doesn’t want to join us – she’d rather lie in the baby’s room
- Coda has reverted to no longer greeting or sitting with houseguests – she’d prefer to hide in her kennel the entire time people are present
So at first, we thought these were just new behaviors due to the new baby. She hasn’t been aggressive. She hasn’t shown any worrisome behavior towards the baby. Instead, she’s mostly withdrawn.
The new behavior of running to the door all the time as though she needs to pee (plus the already not eating consistently) caused me to bring up these behaviors at her annual visit.
The vet called me at the end of Coda’s exam to chat with me about my questions. We discussed the following insanity:
- Coda’s not having accidents in the house and she isn’t showing any other signs of infection
- Coda has gained 5 pounds since our last visit
- She’s still our sweet, healthy, vibrant girl with the vet – Doc is very pleased with her exam
Therefore, our doctor offered this diagnosis: Coda’s suffering from attention-seeking behavior and when we talked about the food behavior the doctor called it “Coda attitude.”
“Looking for her going without a meal or two,” the doctor advised, “when we see dogs not eat at first, but by their next mealtime the food has been eaten – that’s not sick behavior. That’s Coda attitude.”
So Coda’s getting an attitude adjustment. A whole new Codatude.
Nothing crazy different, but if she doesn’t eat her meal within the first 30 minutes, then we take up the bowl and she can wait until dinner. If she asks to go outside, we make the judgment call if we’re going out again. Adding a new family member can modify a dog’s behavior for up to the first six months of adjustment, so we just need to be patient.
We are very lucky to have such a good dog. Coda wants to be close to us and wants to love on the new Little because she’s pack. She’s not jealous or mean. Her Codatude isn’t even all that disruptive. It’s more mischievous than anything else. We are very fortunate.
I’ll let you know how Coda progresses through her new family member’s arrival and place in the pack. So far, it’s been an eye-opening experience. What experiences have you had with pets and new babies? Any advice I can learn from?