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Katrice

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  1. No benadryl for Edgar tonight. We'll see how he does. It is strange that I've given it to him both in the morning and the evening, and until this morning his reaction has only been at night. Keeping my fingers crossed.
  2. I'm definitely going to get a second opinion. He did start doing this behavior this morning as well, when I left to go to the grocery store. Could be coincidental, but maybe there is something to it.
  3. Vickkers and mbc1963 - Thank you for sharing your stories. I appreciate all of the advice and insights that I have received on this website. We took Edgar to the vet yesterday, because he started excessively licking his lips and swallowing hard a few nights ago. This has happened every night now for the last five nights, and the episodes last about an hour each time. He also licks the floor, the coffee table, the sofa...anything he can get his tongue on. We thought that he might be having some intestinal distress brought on by allergies. He seems to be extremely anxious when this happens. The strange thing is that it seems to be triggered when one of his family members leaves the room that he is in. Although the vet thought that allergies could be a contributing factor, he believes that Edgar has an extreme case of OCD complicated by an anxiety disorder and possibly some other neurological problems. He told us that licking can be a symptom of OCD and anxiety disorders. He also told us that he feels that Edgar suffers from an extreme form of separation anxiety. The vet's impression is that Edgar's fixation on other dogs and his indiscriminate dog aggression are also symptoms of these emotional and neurological problems. He feels that we have a very steep uphill battle in order to conquer these problems and asked us to seriously consider whether we want to keep this dog. My heart is broken. We want to get another opinion, but we obviously have some soul searching to do.
  4. Our vet thinks that only a part of his problem is seasonal allergies. He has been on benadryl twice a day for a couple of weeks now. This has helped with the incessant scratching, but the licking and swallowing are new developments. The vet thinks that Edgar is also dealing with OCD and an anxiety disorder, and possibly some other neurological problem which exacerbates the constant licking and swallowing. The licking and swallowing seems to be triggered when one of his human family members leaves the room that he is in.
  5. No chewies and he hasn't chewed on any toys for weeks now. Our carpet was cleaned about 7 months ago using a supposedly "non-toxic, gentle" cleaning agent that is "safe for pets and small children." No insecticides or herbicides have been used in our yard this growing season. When I bike ride with him, he runs on the street, and he doesn't have time to graze in any of are neighbors yards. We have recently had a lot of rain for several days and the weeds are growing fairly abundantly in our neighborhood, but I haven't seen him eating anything outside, other than the grass in our yard during one of these episodes.
  6. We feed him twice a day; once in the morning, once in the evening. This behavior doesn't happen after his morning feeding. Only at night, about 4 hours after he eats his evening meal. He has been on the same food "Taste of the Wild" for two months, and this licking, swallowing, coughing behavior just started three nights ago. He doesn't chew on anything, other than himself. He seems to be extremely itchy around his stomach, groin area, so he licks and chews on these areas a lot. Taste of the Wild is the third food we've had him on since we adopted him, because he does seem to have food allergies, and his itchy skin condition seems a little better since he has been eating this food. I'll let you know what the vet says.
  7. The last three evenings Edgar has been excessively licking his lips, swallowing hard, and coughing. In each case this has continued for over an hour, until he has gone outside, eaten a ton of grass, and eventually thrown up. He seems very distressed while this is occurring. He also seems to be extremely itchy. Has anyone else experienced this? He was tested for heartworm before we adopted him, but was not on prevention until we rescued him two months later. Could it be heartworm? We're taking him to the vet tomorrow to have him checked out, but I'm very worried about him, and am hoping for some comforting insights. There is definitely nothing lodged in his throat, or between his teeth. He hasn't been around any toxic chemicals. This only seems to happen in the evenings, never in the mornings or afternoons.
  8. Here is a video I found on YouTube that shows a dog having a seizure similar to the type my dog sometimes had.
  9. Our 15 year old Basenji/Lab mix started having seizures her last year of life. She was in end stage kidney failure. Usually when she was experiencing seizures she would kick and spin around uncontrollably, she would also drool, and would be completely unresponsive. Other times, while having seizures, she would react very similarly to how you describe your dogs behavior. She would try to run and would be very wobbly and fall sideways. It was as if she had no control of her legs. I would watch your dog to see if it happens again, and speak to your vet about it. He may want to run some blood work. It may be nothing, but it's worth keeping an eye on.
  10. Thanks again for everyone's comments. I've gotten a lot of good advice from you all. Ruth - Thanks for the Vanya link. I started reading the blog this morning. Hopefully, I'll be able to glean some useful tips to help Edgar become less reactive. We are about 6 hours east of Sugarland, TX, so Dr. Haug might be a little too far to work with directly. As you suggested, I'm going to contact her to see if she can recommend someone a little closer to where we live. Edgar is doing really well with obedience training, and already responds to sit, stay, down, crawl, and come. So, he has been fairly easy to train. Jedismom - I glanced over the BAT method links that you sent. I like the idea of positive reinforcement. A friend suggested aversion training, in the form of a shock collar and clicker. I don't really like the idea of the shock collar and I'm afraid that if the dog is already fearful the shock collar may increase his anxiety. Your comment about being very careful about his interactions with other people really struck a chord. I am very worried about Edgar's unpredictable reaction to strangers. Yesterday, we had a neighbor that he does not know give him several treats and rub him for a few minutes. Edgar seemed very relaxed and happy to be around this neighbor, until she came over to throw him a ball to chase, and then he growled, bared his teeth and lunged at her. He was unleashed at the time. This was especially distressing since it seemed that they had already made friends. This morning, on a walk, Edgar lunged and growled at a man who was checking his mailbox. The man's back was to Edgar, so Edgar should not have felt threatened by him. Edgar's unpredictable nature has me most concerned. Thus far, he hasn't bitten anyone. I know there is no quick fix for Edgar, but I wish there was some way of knowing whether he can be fixed for certain. I wonder if a behaviorist would be able to assess whether he can be rehabilitated. Are some dogs really lost causes? Jake - In addition to obedience training (sit, stay, down...) we have been playing mental stimulation games like find the dog treat, find the person etc.(using the book "The Cure for the Useless Dog Syndrome" by Emma Lincoln), and we've begun some agility training. We're taking these things slowly, but he seems to enjoy them. Diane - I'll look into the Sternberg DVD. It doesn't appear that she will be in our area in the near future.
  11. Secret - Actually, he reacts while biking too. I started the biking thinking that maybe he would be so distracted by the fast pace that he wouldn't pay attention to other dogs. Sometimes he almost pulls me off of the bike as he lunges at dogs we pass on the street. We have adjusted the time of day that we bike/walk to limit his exposure to other dogs.
  12. Waffles - The foster parent who was originally keeping him had several dogs in the home. She only kept him for a couple of months, because, she said, "he did not want to share me or my husband with the other dogs in the house." We interpreted this as possessiveness of his owners, and weren't concerned because we don't have any other dogs in our home. It should have been a red flag. After his original foster home, he was kept at a dog groomer's/boarding facility in a crate. While we were meeting him for the first time, he reacted very strongly to a lab that walked past him to leave the facility. Both he and the lab were off leash at the time, but we weren't concerned because there was a lot of noise and activity around him, so we felt his reaction might have been due to the stressful environment. This probably should have been our second red flag. We'll try keeping a greater distance, but it is difficult in a community with a large population of dogs.
  13. Thanks for all of your responses. Julie - I do think that desensitization is the key. The problem that I see with such a high energy dog is that he needs the walks and runs in the community to burn off a lot of this energy. Our romps with the ball and frisbee in our yard aren't enough. Up until now, we thought that we could handle his behavior, but it does seem to be getting worse. A behaviorist is probably a good idea. Secret - I try to stay very calm and relaxed on our walks, because I understand my energy could have an effect on his behavior. At the first hint of fixation, I do try to get him to disengage. I try the gentle tap on his flank before he even begins to fixate, as you describe, but it has no effect on him at all. He goes from alert to fixated to raging in the matter of seconds, and once he even notices another dog, there is absolutely no distracting him. The halti collar does sound like an excellent tool, that I will look into. TEC - His name is Edgar. Yes, it is a frustrating situation, because he is such a great dog otherwise. I'm not sure a lot of people would expend a lot of time and energy to deal with him. We are afraid we might be his last resort. JVW - We live in the New Orleans area. Brenda does sound wonderful. Hopefully, someone on the boards will know of someone closer to our area. Snappy - Thanks for Brenda's link. Maybe I can get some useful information off of her site.
  14. We recently adopted a Border Collie from an organization that saves dogs from high kill shelters. The dog is about a year old, and when he was found (out in the middle of nowhere), he was emaciated and had multiple open wounds, apparently from dog fights. This dog has extremely strong herding instincts, great focus, high energy, all the traits you would expect in a Border Collie. He is extremely loyal to his owners, but is distrustful with strangers. He was neutered just before we adopted him. He is not a destructive dog, and he has been doing well with his obedience training, is house-trained, and crate trained. He is a wonderful dog in almost every way. We exercise him with a five mile bike ride in the morning. In the afternoons we toss balls and frisbees for him to chase. He didn't know how to play when we first got him, but he really enjoys these activities now. In the evenings we take him for a two mile walk. The walks have become nearly impossible, because any time he sees another dog he fixates. He has that laser stare that Border Collies are noted for, which I think is viewed as dominance by a lot of the dogs we encounter. We cannot break his gaze when he fixates on another dog. We have tried distracting him, telling him no, making him sit, yanking on his leash, getting him to look at us, but he is determined to not let the other dogs get any closer. He fixates about 200 yards away, and if the dogs get closer than 40 feet he lunges, growls, and bares his teeth. It does not matter what breed of dog he encounters, their sex, their age, or their size. He responds the same way to every dog he meets. The only way this aggressive behavior ends is when the other dog leaves the area. This situation is complicated in our neighborhood, because a lot of our neighbors allow their dogs to roam freely, and I'm afraid that if one of these dogs comes too close to our on lead dog, I will not be able to stop a serious dog fight. When our dog is in these rages, it is as if we do not exist; no matter what we do, he ignores us. I'm asking for any advice you might have regarding this situation. We have taken the alpha role with him (making him sit before he eats, we eat before we feed him, we go through doors before him etc.), so he is not responding to these dogs because he feels he needs to protect us. We feel that his aggression is more fear based. Can dogs like this be rehabilitated? Is dog on dog aggression common in this breed? We are not sure that we will be able to keep him, because we are very concerned about his behavior. We have small grandchildren (the youngest is 3) that we haven't exposed him to yet, because we are afraid of how he might react to them. If we felt that we had some control to break his fixation before it becomes rage, we would feel a lot better about the situation. Thanks in advance for your insights.
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