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Hooper2

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  1. Best wishes for you and your beloved dog. I know it doesn't really do any good to say this, but I'll say it anyway - don't feel guilty. You didn't do anything malicious or negligent. Sure, in retrospect you feel like you should have kept your sealed bottle of pills in a locked safe that can only be accessed by a fingerprint scanner. But really, keeping pills in a bottle on a shelf that your dog was only able to access by using a kitchen towel (theoretically, dogs aren't tool users) as a sweeper isn't something that I would expect someone to automatically recognize as a hazard. I once had lightning strike behind my house and start a fire on a hot windy day. When I called the fire department, I couldn't remember my house number - I had to find a piece of mail on the counter and read my address off of that. So, yeah, you forgot about peroxide to induce vomiting because adrenaline doesn't always facilitate clear calm thinking. I'm really sorry this happened to you, and I'm hoping for a full recovery for your dog - but you did nothing negligent or stupid or malicious. You just failed to be omniscient, and you have lots of company there.
  2. Up to 2 hrs of your dog howling, crying, and screaming every night? Yowza!. After about 15 minutes of listening to that and being helpless to do anything to stop it, I'd be howling and crying right along with Stanley. I have no real idea of what might be going on so I'm just throwing out some random thoughts here. It's free advice, and worth every penny of it Can you videotape a portion of your dog's "fits" and send those to a veterinarian or, better yet, a behaviorist? It might help if whomever you are seeking help from can actually see what you are dealing with. You say you feed him around 5:30. Experiment and try not feeding him at that time and see if he still has his episode. I promise he won't starve if you have him skip a meal, and maybe he's reacting to something in his food? Or the combination of exercise followed by a meal? If he still has his fits even without the food, then maybe try not exercising him before he eats. Really think about your daily routine, and try changing just one thing at a time, and see if any of it makes a difference. It could be something really subtle, but what the heck, go for the obvious first - when he eats, when he exercises, when you eat... Another possibility is that something is routinely happening at around 6 that you aren't aware of, but that is triggering the outburst. I once had a dog who would run to the window and start barking uncontrollably (and she was normally a pretty placid dog) at 7:30 every morning. I finally figured out that it was the arrival of the school bus about a quarter mile away that was causing the barking. I could only barely hear it myself if I listened very carefully and the windows were open, but she could hear it everyday, and got to where she would start pacing in anticipation about 10 minutes before the bus even arrived. I have no idea why she reacted that way to a school bus, and I only figured it out when the behavior gradually diminished over the summer, and then suddenly came back with a vengeance in the fall. In retrospect, the fact that she did the pacing, and some mild barking, but was less intense on weekends should have been an obvious clue as well, but I can be pretty dense. Once I identified the bus as the culprit I started taking my dog for a walk about 15 minutes before the arrival of the bus, and as long as she was outdoors and engaged with me, she didn't care much about the bus, and after a couple months she stopped reacting to it even when she was indoors. It was just a habit she had gotten into, and once I broke the habit, she never regressed back to it. If your Stanley is being triggered by something like that you may never figure out what it is, but if you can be doing something completely different, in a different location, maybe you can break the pattern. Another possibility is that the trigger is the time of day itself. Pretty much every living being, including some bacteria, fungi, and probably every plant and animal has an internal clock. If something traumatic happened in Stanley's past early in the evening, then he just may become really super stressed by the approach of early evening. His behavior stresses you out, he senses that, becomes more stressed as the "evil hour" approaches the next day.... Consider better living with chemistry and consult with a holistic vet about possible medications that could calm him. Melatonin comes to mind because it is involved in maintaining daily internal rhythms, but there may be other sedatives that would help, and don't limit yourself to "natural" remedies. You don't want to drug your dog forever, but there may be tranquilizers or other medications that could be used short term to break the probably self-reinforcing cycle he's now in, and then he could be weaned off the drug. Best of luck with this, and keep us posted. I know it would drive me bonkers to have to deal with this, so I applaud your efforts to find a solution.
  3. In rereading your posts, I realized that the super smelly poop was specific to one instance of overeating chicken, so maybe my giardia hypothesis is a long shot. But giardia is pretty ubiquitous. It's not uncommon to get false negatives from stool samples because you have to catch the giardia at just the right stage to have it show up in stools, so I still think it might be worth while testing her a couple times before completely ruling out the possibility. But, my new hypothesis is that you are just overstuffing her. Kibbles vary in their usable calorie content but 4 cups of kibble a day for a 28 lb dog sounds like a lot to me. I have an 18 month old male that is nearly twice the size of your girl, and I've recently cut his food back from 2 cups twice a day to 1 1/2 cups. My Fitbit says I average about 6 miles of walking a day, and my guy is racing circles around me the whole time, so he's reasonably active, and 4 cups a day was starting to make him a bit more cushiony than I like. If any of my dogs ever ate so much in a single meal that their abdomen was visibly distended, I'd be at least considering the possibility that my day might include a visit to the vet. I certainly don't expect my dogs to routinely have a distended abdomen following a meal. It may seem counter-intuitive to cut back on feeding a dog that you think is underweight, but feeding her to the point of diarrhea is not going to enhance weight gain. It's going to irritate and inflame her intestines to the point that she can't absorb the nutrients you are providing. I'm not a gastero-enterologist, but my go-to method for treating diarrhea is to fast the dog for a day, and then give the dog reduced rations for a couple more days. Trying to stuff more food into a dog with an upset GI tract never helps, no matter how many probiotics, prebiotics, antibiotics, and/or robotics get thrown into the mix. But if you are absolutely convinced that your dog is too skinny for the amount of food you are feeding, you might want to Google Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
  4. I would check her for Giardia again. Skinny and absolutely revolting smelling feces are classic signs of giardia which she could easily have picked up from eating other animals' poop. Once she's had it she infests soil anywhere she defecates and can become reinfected if she then frequents that same area.
  5. Yes, I'm referring to the pellets made to be burned in stoves. Just so I don't build up your hopes too much, I only overwinter a two or three ducks, and I don't put tons of water out for them in the winter. But still. Stove pellets are by far the most convenient thing I've found for soaking up mud. They are just very fine saw dust, but compressed into handy little 40 lb bags that are available everywhere and are about 7 times denser than the same weight of baled sawdust. And they aren't nearly as messy as sawdust. I think some cedar wood shavings could be toxic, but lots of different trees are called cedars, so that may account for why there are conflicting reports about cedar toxicity. But you can get stove pellets that are strictly hardwood which would eliminate cedar. I wouldn't worry about fungi on wood pellets. The reports I've seen of Aspergillus contaminating wood chips were done on large storage piles of composting chips. A thin layer of muddy sawdust doesn't provide anything like the same temperature, moisture or nutrient conditions that compost piles do. Keep your stored pellets dry (duh!), and don't apply a deeper layer of pellets than you actually need to your mud pits.
  6. I also recommend using wood pellets instead of chips. As they soak up water they will disintegrate into sawdust, which puppies are far less likely to chew on. Look for pellets made from hardwoods, with no added glues. You don't have to use any special type of "bedding pellet" or pellet designed to be kitty litter. Those are just the waste crumbles left over from making stove pellets, and in the spirit of capitalism, cost even more than the stove pellets do, because, why not? Put down WAY less pellets than you think you will need. WAY less. A 50 lb sack will last half the winter for my duck pen, and ducks are seriously messy. The first time you try them, dump maybe a quart container worth into a particularly sloppy area, and wait a few hours to see how much the pellets have broken down and absorbed. That will give you an idea of how much you need to put down in your entire yard.
  7. This is a long shot but if you live somewhere where there is a vet optometrist within driving distance you might consider having her eyes checked. Some vision problems are more obvious at night. Not everything you describe is related to darkness, but I'm thinking about the basement stairs possibly being less well lit, and her literally not being able to see the light at the end of a longer tunnel in a location where she's not navigated a tunnel that long before. Plus, of course the fact that her issues seem more intense at night. Will she do the stairs to and from your bedroom if you really dim the lights? Could just be a fear period as D'Elle suggested, but those don't usually last for months. If you think a vision problem could be a possibility, it really is worth seeking out a vet optometrist. General practice vets just don't have the specialized training to detect many possible vision problems.
  8. One important way to keep your dog's teeth clean is to choose the right parents. I've had as many as five dogs at one time, all fed the same thing, all drinking the same water, and they ran the gamut from consistently nice white shiny teeth to chronically brown teeth, and it wasn't entirely age-related. I used to give my dogs raw knuckle bones and nylabones to chew, and I think both those things helped clean teeth. But after one $1700 bill for a doggie root canal, and another $700 for an extraction of a slab fracture on a different dog, and I decided no more large bones. My dental vet told me if it's too hard to dent with your finger nail, it's a hazard for cracking teeth. They still get raw turkey necks occasionally, but not often enough to keep the teeth clean. I tried the stuff you add to drinking water briefly, but it's expensive and I was ending up pouring half of it down the drain whenever I freshened the water bowl, so I didn't continue using it long enough to tell whether it helped. I now have one dog whose teeth were already turning brown by the time he was a year old (while my 13 year old's teeth stayed nice and clean with maybe a weekly tooth brushing). So I've upped my tooth brushing to daily, and it definitely makes a difference. It was kind of a pain at first, but really it only takes about 2 minutes, and it's now just as much a part of the daily routine as feeding and cleaning food and water bowls. On the advice of a breeder of papillons, a breed notorious for terrible teeth, I've also started adding a good sized splash of decaf green tea to their food every day. There is a bit of evidence that green tea may affect the growth of mouth microbes, although I'm skeptical that the nano second that the liquid is in the dog's mouth before it is gulped down can really make a difference. But, her dogs do have lovely clean teeth, green tea is cheap, and so I put it in the category of "can't hurt, might help".
  9. I agree with both Riika and GL. A dog with good working instinct certainly enjoys getting to act on those instincts, but I don't believe they then spend their days thinking "Damn, I wish I could do that again". Of course they need some sort of mental and physical stimulation and lots of interaction with you on a regular basis, but it doesn't have to work stock, even if they are talented at it. On the other hand, if you and your dog enjoy it, and you can do it in a manner that doesn't unduly stress the livestock just for the sake of you and your dog's entertainment, then take advantage of the opportunities you have. If your dog likes herding chickens, can you convince your parents that no hobby farm is complete without a flock of a half dozen ducks? Ducks flock together more readily than chickens, and can be a lot of fun to work dogs on if you and your dog learn to do it properly.
  10. Specifically in regard to your question 1) about whether barking is something you can work on, my answer is YES! Sure dogs bark, and barking is being part of being a dog. Dogs also pee and poop and chew and mouth things and roll in smelly stuff and jump on people and chase things. Those things are all part of being a dog, but we teach the dog when and where those things are appropriate, and when and where they are not. The same principle applies to barking. You've gotten good advice above on applying the same excellent training you've done individually to now extending that to teaching Kev that the rules apply when their are two humans along as well as when there is just one. But you should absolutely feel that teaching Kev to control his desire to bark is every bit as reasonable as teaching him to control his desire to engage in other unwanted behavior.
  11. Just a thought here that may be way off base ... In your original post you mentioned that this behavior has started recently. In your second post you mention cleaning feet in the current weather. Is there any chance that this behavior started when the weather changed and you started cleaning paws more frequently when she comes in? I dunno. Maybe you've been wiping paws all along. But, lots of dogs hate having their feet messed with, and even if they have been conditioned to accept it, that doesn't mean they like it. So, IF her reluctance to come inside coincides with her having to have her feet messed with more than she had previously been accustomed to, maybe that's why she's avoiding coming in. Just something to think about, but if you think there's been a change in the foot cleaning that coincides with her starting to evade coming inside, maybe you can adjust your foot cleaning procedure. Some people are more fastidious than others, but unless the feet are really bad, I just let my dogs in the door, and figure that god gave us Swiffers for a reason. I don't mean to suggest that you can never clean your dog's feet, but if suddenly every, or nearly every, time she walks through the door she's faced with something she dislikes, well, that is sort of like punishing her for coming inside. Again, I could be totally off base here, but give it some thought, and see if you think there could be an association in her mind.
  12. I think you are basically on the right track, especially with calling her in the house and then rewarding her with a quick treat and letting her go right back outside. I would do that A LOT. The other thing I would do is play with her ("play" meaning possibly a fun training session, or a game of find the hidden treat, or something else she finds really enjoyable) for a couple minutes after you call her into the house for the last time. You want to instill two thing here: a) calling inside doesn't necessarily mean the outdoor fun is over, she may get to go right back out, and b) even if she doesn't go right back out, there's even more fun stuff that happens when she does come inside. Also, until she gets really, really, really reliable about this, a 50-ish ft long line attached to her collar whenever she is outside is your friend.
  13. Well, I wouldn't count on them becoming more manageable at 5 or 6 months. That's sort of like expecting your adorable 8 year old child to become more manageable as a teenager. It's at least as likely that they will become less manageable - faster, stronger, more independent, more inclined to test boundaries, and hormone-poisoned . Over the years I've taken my dogs on unleashed walks on my mostly fenced 10 acres starting when they are a couple months old. The walks are pretty short at first, and I'm keeping a good eye on them, and as they get older they drag a long line until they learn that "come" is a command, not a suggestion. But yeah, they get to run around, and stop and sniff, and roll in the dirt, and yes, occasionally snack on some deer poop starting at a young age. I throw a nice soft toy or, better yet, a precious precious plastic jug for them to fetch to remove the temptation of carrying small potentially pokey sticks around. Yes, there are risks. They could step in a hole. They could roll in something more odiferus than dirt. Although I keep a good eye out and only take them for these walks in broad daylight, I suppose they could encounter a porcupine, or skunk. Coyotes have been known to jump or dig under the fence. I dunno. One person's "being cautious" is another person's "helicopter parent", but whatever level of risk you are willing to tolerate, those risks aren't going to go away when your pups hit their adolescent years.
  14. You say you've talked to your vet, but has he been checked for a bladder infection? Those are less common in young males than in females, but certainly not unheard of. My senior bitch recently started needing to go outside like three times per night, and after a couple more or less sleepless nights for both of us, it was off to the vet. One day on Clavamox, and poof!, she's clearly feeling soooo much more comfortable, and able to control her bladder for much longer. If your vet hasn't already ruled that out, you should definitely consider treating for a possible infection.
  15. You don't say how old your dog is but I'm guessing somewhere between a year and a year and a half? If that's the case, the wild destruction may wane on its own in a few months. I've read, and had this confirmed by my vet, that dogs go through two teething phases. The first one is the one in which the teeth emerge through the gums, and lots of pups become compulsive chewers at that point, presumably because chewing relieves the discomfort of teeth poking through gum tissue. And then teething is done, and many compulsive chewers become much less compulsive, or lose interest in chewing all together by the time they are about 9 months to a year old. And then, just when you think it's safe to leave a shoe on the floor for a moment, dogs go through a second teething phase somewhere around 15 months, give or take a couple months. This is the point at which the teeth are becoming fully anchored in the jaw bone. and lots of dogs will resume their constant need to chew for another month or two or three at this point. Your dog certainly sounds more extreme than most, but, well, he is a border collie. Anyway, out of the 10 dogs I've owned, two came to me as young adults, and 6 showed the pattern of becoming chewing monsters at about 5-6 months of age, then seemed to outgrow it, then one day when they were about 14-16 months old, suddenly needed to destroy my couch, carpet, shoes, whatever. I'm a slow learner, but for my last two dogs, I've been pretty vigilant about keeping them crated when I couldn't directly supervise them until they were over 2 years old. As for the humping... Lots of times when people ask about what to do about dogs that constantly bark, they are advised to reach the dog to do the undesirable behavior on command, and then teach an stop command as part of that. So, uhm, maybe you want to teach your dog to hump on command, so that you can then teach him to stop??? Probably not. But the concept amuses me. Because I'm 12.
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