Friday, March 28, 2008
I had to make a really hard decision today. One I have been thinking about and mulling over for quite some time now. We moved from the country almost 2 years ago now, and have lived in a subdivision for almost a year and a half. Since that time, our dog Sierra has really had some major behavior issues. We have floor to ceiling windows all around our house, so every time someone walks by our house, Sierra goes nuts and wildly barks and tears at the window. Last summer she tore gaping holes big enough for her to go through in our screens, and bent the frames of each screen. By the end of the summer, we didn't have one single screen left. All of the woodwork around our windows is ruined too, so we have to replace all our screens, and all of the woodwork. Not cheap. I have talked to obedience trainers, and have tried every technique I can think of, including the Dog Whisperer's techniques. Nothing has worked. We have exercised her until she is so tired she can hardly pick up her frisbee, but she still finds the energy to bark and tear at the windows when someone walks by the house. When the weather is warmer, we have a lot of walkers in our subdivision because our area has lots of trees, and it is a beautiful place to walk. We would have to gate Sierra almost all day to keep her away from our windows. That wouldn't be fair to her. When she is outside it is even worse. Last summer she tore up my garden and flower beds trying to get at the neighbor dog on the other side of the privacy fence. Neighbors complained so bad about her barking that we had to have her surgically debarked last May. The crazy thing is that the neighbors weren't complaining about her barking outside as much as inside! When we had the windows open, they could hear her clear across the channel! We didn't let her stay outside because she would bark so much, but we couldn't control her barking inside. We tried EVERYTHING before we resorted to the surgery to keep her from barking. We tried every bark collar on the market, and we tried all of the techniques we could find like spraying her with water, shaking a can full of coins, making her come to us and sit every time she barks, etc. You name it, we tried it. We finally had to resort to the surgery. She still barks at anything that moves outside, but it is quieter, so the neighbors don't complain anymore. I don't leave her in the yard for more than a few minutes because she tears everything up. She didn't do this when we lived in the country. When we were at Jeff's parents house while Jeff was gone, Sierra was such a good dog. She was great, and didn't bark at all, and didn't tear at the windows. I emailed a lady that I have been in contact with before that helps adopt out Collies. I told her that we needed to find Sierra a home in the country. I am sad, but I feel like we have no other option. Jeff is in total agreement. Evie wasn't as upset as I thought she would be. We told her that we would go to the local animal shelter and get her a kitten. She LOVED that idea. I'm debating with getting one kitten vs. two. I think two are good because they can keep each other company. Dolly is getting old, and would not be very good company for a kitten. I'll have to talk to Jeff and see what we decide. I'm not looking forward to getting rid of Sierra, but I know I don't have any more options. I'm bummed because I spent 5 years of my life with her. It feels like I am getting rid of family :(.