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Posts posted by moosikins

  1. When would you consider medicating a dog for anxiety?

    TL;DR - My house broken 2 year old pooch is stress-pooping after a big transition. She's always been an anxious thing. We've been asked if we want to medicate her before and declined in favor of modifying her behavior with positive reinforcement and training to improve her confidence. It's worked...until now. Help!

    Long version - Our Pandora is amazing - she's affectionate, intelligent, active, and sweet. She loves our two kids (toddlers) and deals with them well by alternating between playing nicely and finding a quiet spot to get away from them when necessary. We just moved from a rental home with a huge yard to a new build with no yard whatsoever. It wasn't our choice since the builder screwed up the timeline and didn't get to do the final property grade before winter set in so we can't even consider a fence until the land is graded, debris is removed, and I'm certain that it's safe to run on...

    We also just got a kitten, but they've made fast friends and are beginning to snuggle and deliberately touch. So lots of transition for our poor girls. Calypso is doing fine with the change. I know they both long for a yard to run in, but they're handling it by getting long walks, having much more room indoors to run and being encouraged to wrestle and romp inside. There's also a large basement where they go down with the kids to play.

    That being said, Panda is pooping in the house now and I strongly suspect it's related to stress. She's been so anxious since the pre-New Years fireworks began right after Christmas. The accidents started off small. A runny poop here or there, never in the same spot and I'm decently sure she's not marking. She leaves the situation immediately with her tail tucked and her ears flat. Her outdoor poops are runny too. The last few days she's just had terrible accidents in the house, big messes and all over a large space. I feel so bad for her and she's not being punished at all. As soon as we notice, we whisk them both outside for a walk and she gets lots of pets and cuddles because we know she's not doing it on purpose. She's house broken and does her best to wait. She also won't ask to go when she has these accidents - for normal potty time, she seeks us out to get our attention and make it known that she needs a walk. They have free range of the entire house.

    She just seems SO anxious. She sits around looking like she got kicked (mopey face, slumped shoulders, sad tail), she bolts to my side when I sit down and crawls into my lap. If she can, she rests her face on my face. She doesn't seem to be in pain, her belly isn't tense or tender, she doesn't have any injuries, and she's always been a very skittish, anxious beast. We've been asked by several vets if we want to medicate her and always declined because we've always exercised her and significant positive, loving attention has eased her high strung behavior quite well. But now I'm not sure...

    It's not fair to make her live like this, with all this anxiety and stress. It's not good for her health and it's certainly not good for her long term behavior. I'm afraid that if we leave her this anxious for too long, it'll become natural again and we will undo all the good progress we've made with her. She was getting so confident and becoming quite independent before we moved. 

    She's 2 years old, at a healthy weight for her body (52 lb, give or take a pound). She eats twice a day, Hills Science Diet (grain-free) and the Kirkland wet food mixed in. She eats veggies and we avoid table food as often as possible. She gets some chicken here and there from the kids. She has 24/7 access to water. Any thoughts or experiences with doggie Prozac? Any suggestions for helping her (and my brand new carpet)???

    Obviously we'll be going to see the vet soon...As soon as I find one I trust. We just switched in the last few months but they're too busy and too hectic, plus they can't figure out if Cal got all her vaccinations or not because their record keeping is abysmal and they put us at risk of losing our therapy dog insurance with their incompetence. I'm making phone calls to friends this week for recommendations.

  2. Cal likes to take my things and lay on or with them. Panda some something similar, but she just goes to where the things are. If I leave a worn shirt on the bed, Cal would take it and go to her favorite couch spot, but Panda would lay on it in its original place.

    I think it's sweet, especially since neither does it with my husband's items. Just mine and occasionally the kids' clothing. Nothing is ever damaged or chewed, just laid on or relocated.

  3. Hi there!

    It's been a while since I've been on here. Just thought I'd give an update on my girls and see how y'all are doing. What's new? Who's got new pups? Who's pooches have done something impressive lately? Tell me about your adventures! Show off your pics!

    Calypso and Pandora have been awesome. Cal is newly four and doing great - we've discovered some hip soreness but a daily joint supplement has rapidly helped her get and stay better. We're going to be investigating some potential thyroid issues this summer, but it's bothering me more than it is her. Her attitude issues aren't a daily struggle at home anymore, she's no longer guarding her food even though we're always cautious, and she's really let Panda into her personal space lately. Panda recently turned two and is finally starting to calm down. Her energy level is a great motivator for Cal and they really enjoy playing together and are often found wrestling in the backyard or in the house. They take turns being the instigator and it's nice to see Cal letting her guard down and allowing Panda to be in charge. They're both enjoying the kids and being really tolerant of the typical toddler behaviors. I joke with my husband that we were right to get a second dog - each baby needs his own dog! They love their puppies and take good care of them. My nearly 3 year old feeds his pooches every evening and pats them on the rump while telling them they're good girls. The 1 year old leans in and gives kisses. Unfortunately, he's also completely unafraid of large animals as a result of growing up in a dog-friendly home and recently kissed a giraffe...

    On the downside, both dogs have developed some dog reactivity, but we're working on that with some controlled exposure to the type of dog they react on (GSD, due to some bad experiences because some people are just idiots and shouldn't handle beautiful dogs). We're hoping to see some improvement with consistent work and in the meantime, we're holding off on attending things that require close proximity to other dogs unless we're able to give each dog our full attention. 

    Cal is a certified therapy and crisis dog with a national team and we're really enjoying that. We got to nursing homes and crisis events (such as funerals, thankfully we haven't had a large-scale crisis in our area). She's got her CGC, CGC-A, and CGC-U. I'm working on getting her registered to earn the AKC Therapy Dog title. If we had been logging hours from the start, she'd be somewhere between the THD and THDA titles. 

    I'm also looking into doing the AKC trick titles with Panda. She's so goofy, I think she'd love it. Here are some photos of my pups, they're a joy. Calypso is the one without white on her nose, Panda has the white nose marking. 





  4. Waffles, I can't seem to reply directly to you on my phone!


    I've never flown with her but I'm told that she has the credentials (United confirmed, I was recently going to take her with me on the flight but canceled the trip). I always always always tell people she is a therapy dog and remind nervous employees (at stores and such) that they are not obligated to allow her. I don't know why but our official team color is red and her vest makes her look super official and very service dog like, so she has a pink PET ME leash sleeve and I like to show off her tricks and talk to people about the difference between therapy and service animals.


    She is trained to curl up between my legs on the floor (we practice on public transportation). She rests her chin on my foot and I use my other foot to pull her tail in so she doesn't get stepped on.

  5. People in need of animal transport should contact groups like Highway Heros! <3


    What bothers me about this article is the headline: United accounted for a third of all animal deaths. It doesn't say *what share* of all animal transportation this airline represents. Later in the article are a few statistics comparing United's death rate with a couple of other airlines - they're lower in each case.


    Two of the animals died of heart failure - at least one issue was a congenital heart problem. And then someone from PETA goes on record to say that they object to shipping animals by air. (Of course, they also object to keeping animals as companions).


    Not to say if I'm getting a puppy I wouldn't prefer to fly out for it myself as opposed to having it shipped if at all possible. And I'd definitely be wary of having a puppy shipped in the winter (too cold) or summer (too hot; this might represent much of a year in the mid-Atlantic region, with temps in the 80s this past February!). Nor would I share a brachycephalic dog (or own one, but that's another matter). Nonetheless - there are just too many aspects of this article that struck me as unduly sensationalist.

  6. That's very disappointing. I'm usually quite unhappy with Petsmart's customer service and in-store presence.

    We love Chewy and use it almost exclusively...Their customer service has been AMAZING.


    This past winter they mailed us two commissioned portraits of our dogs and a handwritten note of appreciation for being customers. It was a total surprise, just arrived one day in the mail. They follow the dogs on instagram and borrowed two photos to paint off of. <3

  7. Can you help Dale get to his foster? Dale is a senior dog on his way to his foster where he'll get healthy and rest up while waiting for his FUREVER family to find him.


    If you're in Texas, Oklahoma, or Missouri with the ability to help, PLEASE reach out to Highway Heroes to pick up a leg of the drive.


    Dale is a Border Collie and he's being taken care of by Come Bye Border Collie Rescue! The CBBCR volunteers say Dale is just fantastic and who knows, maybe you know someone who needs a companion like this gentle and smiley boy! Or maybe YOU need him!



  8. If you go this route, I personally suggest the SportDog collar. It has very, very adjustable settings so you can tweak the amount of stimulation for a sensitive dog. Ours has 7 settings plus a vibrate with three buttons so essentially 21 levels of stimulation. My very, very stubborn BC/Lab works at a 2 low typically, we've never hit above a 5 low/med for her, and in the last year or so she's actually been off collar much more than on so the dog wouldn't necessarily be stuck on a collar for the rest of her life, if that's one of your fears (as I've commonly heard in arguments against the collars).


    Additionally, if you happen to be in the Midwest and choose to look into a rescue, feel free to message me because I am in touch with three large groups in the area that could assist you with both resources for training (the most common foster failures are with "problem" dogs that nobody else wants or that the fosters just can't bear to let go of) and a possible placement if you choose to go with that option.


    Dear Ms. Hibbs,


    Wherever this dog goes there'll be cars and you're right - nobody can be vigilant all the time.

    If she were mine I'd try an ecollar (shock collar) WITH INSTRUCTION FROM A GOOD ECOLLAR TRAINER.


    Please note: there are as many lousy ecollar trainers as lousy positive trainers and the lousy ecollar trainers can do more damage. If you decide to try it, post me privately and I'll ask around for someone near you. "Near" to a sheepdogger means a one way. 2/3 hour drive.


    Winnie can learn to loathe traffic but that would be easier if she had something better to obsess on WITH YOU. (Agiltiy, SAR, obedience, stock work.)


    Ecollars aren't the first place I go with a dog but when it's life or death . . .


    Donald McCaig

  9. Hi! Does anyone have any recommendations on getting started with agility without the hefty cost?


    Panda is now about 8 months and we'd like to start some of the safe activities like weave poles, low jumps, and working on her tight turns. She's a natural already, zooming through the house. But we're not in a position financially to enroll her in some of the cool agility classes around.


    Can anyone suggest YouTube videos or books? Or even just tips in general? She's incredibly motivated by...well, everything. Treats, pets, just the existence of the universe and her ability to sniff it all.


    She's a psycho dog, we need to run off that energy! My BC/Lab is a couch potato by comparison and Panda does not currently have a future as a therapy dog like her sister, she's just too much dog.

  10. A service vest for a dog that is NOT a certified service dog is not a good idea and will receive a lot of backlash from the service dog community.


    A Service Dog performs a task of some sort for someone with a medical need or disability such as identifying seizures, being available to help a person up, to reach/fetch an item, or to indicate low blood sugar. It is NOT okay to put a service dog vest.


    There are plenty of alternatives such as "DO NOT PET", "ASK TO PET", "IN TRAINING" vests or leash labels (velcro things that hang off).

    I am so sorry, this stress you do not need now....with a baby on the way. Do you think Charlie would have stayed calm if he had been on a very short leash? I know you have a plan of action when you can step aside.....but I wonder if you went to a really short leash with a mantra of Easy if he would have been okay. Another option, step on the leash with him right next to you keeping from the harness or collar clip, under your foot to the leash in your hand taut. This limits his movement and you can achieve this restriction quickly ( great to practice).

    Also, it would not help in this instant....but a service vest that says in training, no touch, no talk may give you extra space.

  11. I hardly doubt she'll look to rehome the dog because of one instance where the dog may not have even been fully to blame...What an alarmist thing to say!


    Also, I had the same issue with Cal with my first child and she's obsessed with him. She actually guarded him too and we worked on easing off that behavior slowly and carefully.


    Charlie could have been startled, feeling protective, or just feeling out of control because of how fast the woman approached and reacted just because. Obviously there's a need for some behavior modification and a behaviorist isn't a bad idea, but really, it's silly to start dreaming up aggressive behaviors from one incident!


    Pretty much everything Maja said - yes.


    On another note: you have a dog who has exhibited a problem/behavior. In one month, you're going to have an infant in the house. If your dog is that protective of you - what will happen with the babe? Will he protect YOU from the baby? Will he protect the baby from YOU? Will he protect both of you from anyone else??


    You need to be the dog's protector, not vice versa.

    It may not be in your cards, but I'd research a veterinary behaviorist - now, not tomorrow.

    You may be looking to rehome the dog in a few months, and I'm guessing - because you ARE concerned and are seeking help - that you won't want to do that.


    Please do something, soon. And best of luck to all of you in your growing family!! (seriously, I'm not being facetious here...)



  12. Cal is a total jerk when I'm pregnant. With my first, she'd snarl at anyone who even dared to approach me. Like, full on snarl with teeth, slobber/drooling, and crazy eyes. Now she just guards me - posture low and stiff, tail down, ears lowered, teeth ready to be bared but seems more at ease and actually allows people to approach as long as I remain relaxed and welcoming.


    It subsided as soon as kiddo was born and started back up when I was about 12ish weeks along with this next one.


    We're currently working on just controlling her response rather than her desire to protect me. She's going to guard me, we've figured that much out. Now we just have to strongly signal that snapping/chomping/being a frightening jerks are NOT okay responses to feeling protective. I treat like crazy when she sits nicely by my side and keep petting her. I also go out of my way to greet new people in a big way (for instance, a new neighbor...I made the poor girl hug me and Cal definitely relaxed after I initiated the approach and physical contact and THEN introduced Cal).

  13. Clarification: Cal's aggression is no longer towards us (us being the humans), it's toward Panda both in "protecting" her own bowl and trying to steal Pan's bowl after she snarfs her own.


    We worked endlessly on stopping the guarding towards us and have had 98% success. If she's really stressed out, she will still guard occasionally but she's easily broken out of her "trace" and the crazy eyes with a reminder that when she's nice, good things fall out of our hands and right into her bowl. A little morsel of something tasty is enough to remind her that we're buddies.


    She also doesn't ever guard against our son. She's never growled at him, only at me when he's doing something to her that he shouldn't (rough hands or going for her food). She makes eye contact with me or my husband and lets us know that she's unhappy, it's so strange. It's like there's an immediate off switch to her attitude when it comes to that baby, he's her person...

  14. Yes, soon to have two under two...I'm not sure how to actively work on it if I was advised to make them eat separately. Should I be creeping them closer and closer and ensuring that they mind their own bowls? I'll take all the advice I can get!


    PA = Potential Adopter! Sorry, I get into acronyms easily because we used the same at the shelter and I work in IT for a living. :P

    You have a young child, no? "Avoiding the issue" could lead to some nasty consequences if you're not proactive about working with this now, before it's an ingrained behavior that could easily spill over to small people in the household.


    Congrats on the rescue volunteerism. What's a PA?

  15. Whoo! I'm officially a rescue volunteer and processing my first PA. :)


    It's an equally slow process on this end of things too, but nice to know that I can help a dog go to a great home.

    Our girl is settled in nicely. She's insane, hyperactive, and brings out the worst in Callie. And Cal ADORES her now.


    They constantly touch noses and they've started grooming each other. Panda even laid directly on top of Cal the other night and Cal didn't growl. She just gave her a look like "wtf are you doing, brat?" and laid back down.


    Cal also goes up and bites Panda's ears when she wants to play. To reciprocate, Panda bites Cal's scruff and throat HARD, and then Cal lays her out with a headlock. It's a very disturbing version of sibling wrestling but they both seem to enjoy it and they actually take turns being the aggressor, so all's well.


    The guarding is still an issue if we don't watch closely, but separating them to eat is working out great. I guess we can just avoid the issue altogether!

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