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First of all, hugs to you for all you're doing and trying to do for Chisum.

I will say, that sometimes it's easy to get so wrapped up in all of the advice of a board like this one that it's possible to lose sight of one very simple reality. It's. A. Dog. Sometimes, when I'm getting all stressed over the fact that Winston barks and growls at every little noise (sometimes), chases the horses in the pasture (sometimes), goes nuts when the neighbors come by the back fence in trucks, golf carts, and/or on 4-wheelers, and chases them like a vicious beast, gets worked up into an obsessive frenzy over his frisbee, whines and claws the walls when left alone, acts like his crate is hell on earth, carries on like a mad dog at certain visitors with relentless ferocity no matter what I do to reason with him....etc, etc, etc, I have to stop and say to myself....HE. IS. A. DOG. That's it! He's a dog! Dog's do that kind of stuff! And the more I fret over it...guess what? Yep. The MORE he does it. Interestingly, the minute I decide "Forget it. Whatever." is the moment he seems to be cool about things.
I think the internet is both helpful and a bit of a hindrance for things like this. It's just so easy to get wrapped up in all of the theories and studies and strategies. It's the same with horses. I nearly drove myself insane spending time on various horse message boards. I learned a lot, but I became obsessed with making sure I was feeding the very best of what everyone said to feed, and any time any little thing was off with the horse, I'd post to get advice and yikes! I find that most advice on the internet tends to be EXTREME. It's the land of over-reaction and hyperbolic hysteria, and it's easy to make US, the humans, get extremely anxious about how we're caring for our animals, which in turn makes the animals just as anxious!

My advice is to not overthink it or get yourself too worried about it. I don't know what Chisum's "meltdowns" consist of, but try not to have them along with him. Go about your life and remember that Chisum is an ADDITION to your life, not the epicenter of it.

I'm a natural caretaker for animals, and I have no children, so they receive that part of me too. But I have to give myself a reality check now and then. It's a dog.
 
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