7

It's happened at least twice. A friend of mine had been several weeks away, and once he returned, his dog was so excited that it died. Then I saw a Reddit post describing pretty much the same thing recently (not sure if he's the same guy, ha).

Now, that's pretty cute and sad and funny and tragic at the same time. I may be leaving for several weeks too, and I'm pretty sure this won't happen to my dog, but I guess it would be worth taking some sort of precaution.

How may I, upon returning from a prolonged absence, prevent my dog from dying of sheer happiness or getting (dangerously) excited?

If it helps, I have a 3 years old female pomeranian.

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    To prevent this from happening, I suggest buying a dog from a responsible and respected breeder who can be counted on selling only vet examined healthy puppies bred from vet examined healthy parents (etc). – Esa Paulasto Mar 20 '14 at 8:47
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    or it is someone spreading lies, Reddit isn't know for its truthfullness – ratchet freak Mar 20 '14 at 8:52
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    Maybe the first question is can a dog really die of happiness? – James Jenkins Mar 20 '14 at 11:45
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    I read it as excitement, not happiness. A dog with a relatively weak heart, might not be able to handle getting too excited. – Spidercat Mar 20 '14 at 14:56
14

Stay calm. Seriously. If you stay calm and don't encourage your dog to be hyper-excited, then your dog will have a better chance of surviving your return.

It's also a good idea to start practicing this before you really need it.

When you come home, do you talk in a high, excited voice to your dog and get her all excited? If so, try just waiting until the dog calms down and then praise her. She'll learn that being calm is a good thing and a thing that you want from her. Most dogs want to please their masters, so this shouldn't be something that's terribly difficult for her to learn. Especially at such a young age.

Our dog (a 4 year old Jack Russel/Chihuahua mix) is prone to getting too excited and having accidents, so we have to be careful with her. And when we get home from work she jumps up and runs around, but we don't give her any attention until she calms down. And that helps her to calm down faster. It's still a work in progress, but she's so much better than when we first got her.

The basic technique is to just ignore your dog completely when you get home until she sits and is calm. Then calmly praise her. Then do this again and again until it's really set. You might want to go out and come back a few times just for practice because the dog might make the connection a bit faster that way.

Be patient. Every dog learns differently. Just stay calm and positive and you'll get there.

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    +1 The advice works for all excitable pets, not just dogs. – James Jenkins Mar 20 '14 at 16:02

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