Articles: Creating Safety: How the Dog Monitor App Reduces Stress
You’ve got your to-go coffee cup in hand, lunch bag, and work attaché, ready for another productive day at the office. Your adorable furry friend is sleeping soundly on the couch. After tiptoeing past him, you gently pick up your keys, but they make the slightest jingle.
You stop short in your loafers and hold your breath. Slowly you turn.
Sure enough. As if he beamed from the sofa directly to the front door, your dog is now at your feet. Those big, sad, brown eyes, brimming with tears, shoot into your soul like a icy arrow of guilt.
He knows what the keys mean. You’re leaving. Without him. Forever.
At least that’s what he thinks.
“Don’t go,” those eyes say. “Please! Please, oh please! I’ll be good. I promise!”
You pat him on the head, and his jowls droop into the saddest thing you’ve ever seen. Faced with another day filled with loneliness and boredom, he’s left contemplating the purpose of his very existence.
Before you even unlock the car you hear his whimpers, and your heart breaks. You’re left with little choice. You have to go to work. Sure you’d rather be romping with Fido in the park all day, too; but if you want to keep him in treats and squeaky toys, you have to work.
If any of this is familiar, you know what it’s like to live with a canine kid who suffers from separation anxiety. This affliction might result in a highly distressed companion animal who gradually exhibits behavioral changes, like fear aggression towards other dogs or people. You might also be coming home to shoes strewn about, chewed up socks, or a smelly present right in the middle of the living room, if not worse.
Until I got this amazing Dog Monitor App ($3.99 in the App Store), I didn’t know how much my dog suffered when I was away. Sometimes, I wish I had never found out. My beloved boxer was showing signs of fear aggression. I had never heard him whimper and he rarely ever barks, so I thought he was fine when I went to work. Perhaps he’d be agitated for 10-15 minutes, but then he’s sleep the rest of the day. After all, it’s mostly what he did when I was home. Sure, there were a few shoes out of place when I returned, but there was no damage done.
After moving and other rather severe life changes, his aggression got steadily worse. It was sporadic and random. Usually, he was fun-loving, playful, cuddly, and affectionate, as always. But every so often, he would attack another dog without provocation or apparent reason.
Someone at the dog park suggested fear aggression caused by separation anxiety. I got the Dog Monitor App to ease my mind, but it did just the opposite, at first. Not only did he whimper, but he didn’t move from the door for TWO HOURS, until I came back home out of desperation.
The whimpering and whining weren’t the worst of it.
He howled in pain. It was the sound of pure, agonizing torment
I had never in my life heard a more piteous sound, and it truly broke my heart over and over again.
My Buster boy was a rescue who survived some rather significant neglect, and perhaps other forms of abuse. There is no doubt he still suffers from PTSD. He shows all the signs, and lately they have gotten worse. Once that app made me aware of the deep level of distress he was in day after day, I could completely understand why his behavior was changing, especially after what he had previously endured.
He didn’t feel safe. He feared for his very survival. I had just witnessed a two-hour panic attack, and I couldn’t bear to even wonder if he had been suffering this much for months, if not longer.
Couldn’t change any of that now, but I could do something different moving forward.
I had to make him feel safe. Many people crate-train their dogs for this reason, but I’m not able to put an animal in a cage like that due to my beliefs (especially with his past trauma). So, I made a larger crate: my bedroom. He feels very safe in there. When I’m home, he sleeps on the bed most of the day.
So...I just had to let him think I was still home.
That weekend, I would shut the door while he was sleeping in there and have classical music playing on a loop right outside the door. I had also put his bed, his food and water, and all his toys in there.
I set up the Dog Monitors in two places so I could see when he moved (using my iPad and an old iPhone 3G). Then I just went about my business. I’d go in after 10 minutes, casually. He’d lift his head and then go back to sleep. Then I stretched it for 20, then 30, etc. I did this in two 4-hour stints. I noticed he started to get really restless after about 3.5 hours.
The next day, I slipped out and walked to Starbucks. Bach was playing right outside the bedroom door, and I had placed some of my clothes there, too. Then he could smell me even when I was gone. From the time I picked up my keys through locking the door (oh-so quietly), I watched him on my iPhone 5c for any sign that he noticed.
I watched him on the 10 minute walk to Starbucks, while I drank my frothy mocha, and on the walk on the way back.
He slept the entire time.
Peace. For him and for me.
Thankfully, my boss here at PowerMax is a pretty great guy and understands the need for a healthy work/life balance. PowerMax employees enjoy flexible schedules and a few even work remotely. Due to Buster’s extreme distress, which heightened my own, my boss now allows me to work remotely in the mornings. Works well for me and my work, since I can write better in the relative silence of home while Buster and I keep each other company. When I’m work from my home office, I close him in his safe space and watch him on the Dog Monitor App from my desk in another room. We go for a walk at lunch, and then he goes back in his room to sleep.
After he’s resting again, I slip out and go to the office. In the afternoon, I’m able to watch BusterCam on the Dog Monitor App from my desk at work to ensure he’s okay.
He’s just fine. I’m just fine. It’s all just fine.
His behavior is improving, and both of our stress levels have been reduced.
All is right with the world…
...and it all started with this amazing Dog Monitor App.
Remember that we sell used iPhones at PowerMax. You can get a used iPhone 3G for under $50. They make great Dog Monitors. A used iPhone and a $3.99 app is much more cost effective than months of personal training and replacing destroyed shoes or furniture. Plus you get the peace of mind knowing your buddy feels safe and loved. A benefit well worth the cost.
Take Fido for a long walk and play in the park this weekend, download the Dog Monitor App, get yourself a used iPhone or iPad, and start creating that safe space for him at home. Your and your dog’s quality of life will improve.
Christine is a Technical Support Specialist and Content Writer for PowerMax. Follow her articles as she takes you “Behind the Sasquatch: A Look Inside PowerMax,” an inside look at the day-to-day operations from the perspective of a Woman in Tech. She’ll also post great Tech Tips, helping you get the most of your Mac apps as well as write about some common technical issues and how to fix them. Finally, Christine will periodically post some Tutorials that teach readers how to do things like make podcasts and iPhone apps. Find what you’re looking for in the categories on the right.
If you have a tech question or issue, please don’t hesitate to contact Christine for help.