Day 153: Snowy – My Mountain of Support

Snowy is one of the two Pyrenean Mountain dogs that live with me. Those who have met her know her to be a big, fluffy, goofy dog that likes to barks at anything that moves, is very lazy on walks, and has the sweetest eyes – that is, of course, when she’s not barking at something. That would be her ‘usual self’. About a month ago she started acting – hmm, what is the word – well, ‘odd’, to say the least.

One significant change was her behavior towards Cesar. She would usually be gentle with him and allow him to come close and lick him once in a while, but otherwise not be too ‘phased’ about his presence. He was able to come up to her and lean against her while she remained calm and patient. Now, about a month ago, what started happening every time Cesar came into the room, or if she could hear him in the other room, she would immediately go into ‘high alert mode’ and start following him around as though to ‘keep an eye on him’ that he doesn’t do anything that ‘he’s not supposed to’ – yet at the same time, try to back off when he would come close. So – she was literally pacing around him while trying to keep a certain distance at the same time. If she would sit, it would be for a second, and then she was up pacing again. And when he did manage to come close, she would seem to be fighting within herself where on the one side she’d want to scare him away/off of her and on the other hand, obsessively lick him all over.

The other significant change was that she started adopting a toy as though it was her baby. Where, she would pick one toy and keep it with her at all times. When she was walking around, it would be in her mouth and when she was laying down, she would put it in front or next to her and lick it. And when she’d lose her toy, she would go around to everyone making a whining/crying sound. One night, she was standing besides me whining/crying, but she had her toy (at that moment her ‘baby’ was a monkey-teddy) in her mouth. So, I wasn’t sure what she wanted. Eventually, I figured out she was trying to find a ‘safe space’ for her and her ‘baby’. She only stopped crying/whining once I made a little ‘cave’ for her with pillows under LJ’s desk.

The behavior of her taking a toy as a baby, we had seen before and so we thought it was part of a hormonal cycle – where this motherly behavior gets triggered by hormones – and that somehow she had translated that behavior to Cesar as well. Of course, with Cesar, she started to become a ‘danger-point’ as she was unpredictable while within that ‘high alert’ energy – and with her being a large dog, we kept her away from Cesar as much as possible, waiting for this ‘hormonal phase’ to pass. But it didn’t…

So, one night I realized this was carrying on for too long and that something else must be going on. I placed my hand on her chest, breathed and then checked which person was a match for the point she was working with – which of course, was me – lol.

The next point was to see: what point is she showing me about myself??

What opened up for me was quite fascinating – I don’t know if I would have seen/realized this point if it weren’t for my Snowy-bear assisting me with such specificity – I’ll share in my next post!


  1. Cool and if I might make a suggestion from my experience with dogs. The moment a child is no longer a puppy but starting to become a moving, acting, wanting dog within the flock as well the energy and behavior of the whole pack changes. The fact you write a blog means you are looking at points/reactions within yourself as well. Dogs are highly tuned to our behavior and energetic reactions and require a stable example and physical corrections (if necessary). From what I can see she is struggling with her place and role towards cesar and as you are the top dog it's you who must show her what to do. So I would interact with cesar and the dog as a pack and show the dog (and Cesar) how it's done. And never leave dogs and children alone because at that moment the dog wil experience another picking order and thus can become dominant towards the child(ren).

    1. Thanks for the comment, Mike. Yes, we do consider those dimensions as well - it's actually through only addressing Snowy's position in the 'pack' and not seeing any significant change from that approach that we realized there must be something else going on. And once I corrected the point within myself (which I'll write out in my next post) - Snowy immediately 'reverted back' to her 'normal self' - so that was amazing feedback!

  2. Enjoyed the read, Maite - on the edge of the seat for the next blog post on this!!

  3. Me gusto tu relato sobre Cesar y nevado! lo curioso de una mascota es que ella tambien tiene sus preferencias como cualquier ser humano pero nosotros muchas veces no lo captamos porque creemos que no es importante lo que le ocurre a los animales. esta hermoso nevado . Gracias por compartir .