I am not sure what happened yesterday, to be honest. I was working, and our internet went out. I have been watching my tone of voice lately. If I say anything louder than my normal voice (which is loud anyway) Max freaks out. Even if I wasn't paying any attention to him when whatever it is occurred.
Anyway, it goes out and this time I didn't say anything naughty. I didn't yell, I didn't scream, I didn't throw anything around. I just said "Oh no!" and rebooted the router, my computer, and the modem. I have no idea where Max was at this time and nor do I care. But I was still careful to watch my tone and volume as not to upset him.
My shift is over, and I try to play with Max as is our custom. Except he won't play. He won't fetch his ball. He won't eat, he won't drink any water, he doesn't perk up when I ask if he has to go out (and it had been 6 hours, so I know he had to go) all he did was shake and shiver and twitch, and look extremely guilty. Every time I would ask him where his ball was or why he was looking so guilty, he just ran to his crate and sat and shivered in there.
Thinking maybe he had an accident somewhere (uncommon but could happen) or got into something he wasn't supposed to, I made the rounds but couldn't find any indication of foul play or foul mess. Perplexed, I just let him sit and shiver in his cage. I am not going to reaffirm the behavior by telling him everything is okay. I start thinking maybe he just is afraid of me now because I am pregnant.
I Google various articles and forums. Not one of them says why my dog is acting afraid of me. Every article and instance I find is about dogs becoming over protective or distant. Not practically-epileptic. I take him outside and he is happy outside, running around and wagging his tail. He does his business and gets lots of praise, we run (he runs, I waddle) back inside and up the stairs and suddenly his demeanor changes completely. Back to shaking, twitching, shivering and guilt.
Sigh. I try to get him to play again. No. I cut up an apple. His favorite. Nope. He won't eat his apple. I try to do a little confidence building with some basic commands, like Sit, Stay, Roll Over, Shake... but he just crawls on his belly either toward me or away from me and refuses his treat.
Maybe he's sick, I think to myself. "Go lay down," I tell him calmly and devoid of emotion, although secretly I'm starting to get annoyed. He runs to his crate, tail tucked between his legs where presumably, he shook himself to sleep. I didn't go check on him, because I didn't want to terrify him with my very presence anymore.
Brian calls me on his way home from work. Normally when my phone rings, Max bounds out to me and sits eagerly, watching me with wide eyes. He knows that I only answer the phone for "Daddy" and that if I am talking, it must be to Daddy. If I tell him "Daddy's home!" he runs in circles and then waits patiently by the door until Brian walks in. He could wait for HOURS if need be.
Not today. He didn't come out when I answered the phone, or when I told him Daddy was coming home. I got no response. I tell Brian of the weird behavior and we both think that it's because I am pregnant. After all, each dog responds to things differently.... Brian arrives home and doesn't receive his usual enthusiastic welcome from Max. He calls Max and Max won't come. Eventually he comes out, tail tucked, shivering, and Brian can't get him to do anything either. Normally they roll around on the floor and wrestle until Brian gets hurt. He won't even go pee for Brian.
After a while, when the shaking doesn't stop, Brian asks Max. "What's wrong?" And Max looks at me. I'm not even paying attention, I'm playing Plants Vs Zombies. "Did Mommy do something to upset you?" Raised eyebrow from me, but I say nothing. Max looks away, and goes to lay behind the couch, staring at it intently.
Brian decides to look under the couch, for whatever reason. And there was Max's ball. A Kong ball that he got 4 days ago and destroyed in 15 minutes and hasn't played with since. After Brian gave it to him, he was completely fine! Happy, stupid dog happy, tongue out the side of his mouth, rolling around on the floor, running up and down the hall, the only kind of happy dogs get.
I am beyond annoyed. This dog had me worried that I was causing him distress, that because I got pregnant, he was freaking out. Or maybe he was sick, or maybe he wasn't happy with us, or maybe this maybe that.... but no, he was upset because he could not get at his BALL that he had not even played with in FOUR DAYS. Never mind the fact he got another new ball and that new ball still squeaks!
I am still not sure what happened, but I can kind of guess. He must have been digging at the back of the couch when my internet went out. My proclaiming "Oh no!" must have made him think he was doing something bad. Even though I was not looking at him or paying him any mind.
And I guess he was shaking and looking guilty because I did keep asking him where his ball was- "My ball is under there, I'm sorry I lost it! I'll try to be a good boy! I'll try harder, honest!" seemed to be the response.
Today? We played fetch with the found ball for hours. All is well.
Part 2 tomorrow.