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nancy in AZ

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  1. I've said it time and again, it's the toughest ones (behaviorally speaking) that teach us the most. It is a feeling like no other witnessing a formerly traumatized dog go from constant high alert/fear/anxiety to developing trust, feeling relaxed and gaining confidence. It's all on a spectrum of course, but every bit of progress is cause for celebration. Congratulations!
  2. This is one of the older threads I was looking for. Check out this thread that has been pinned under FAQs heading
  3. I feel compelled to respond to your post because I have been in your shoes. My first thought when it happened to me was, This dog is a huge liability-- what if I lose my home and everything I've worked for due to a lawsuit. The dog (an adult aussie) did do damage; multiple bites on more than one occasion...mostly to the so-called "trainer" that was recommended to me by a vet who in turn had been recommended to me by my regular vet when I sought professional counsel. I felt entirely out of my depth and overwhelmed. Ultimately, I initially found help from a renowned professional applied canine behaviorist. She pointed me in the right direction, but because she had just taken a hiatus from her practice I couldn't take Boo to her. I went to a veterinary behaviorist with whom I left my dog for a day for an assessment and obtained psychotropic meds along with a detailed program for counter-conditioning known as "Protocol for relaxation" by Dr. Karen Overall, while we worked on behavior modification techniques. This is a long road and takes unwavering commitment. Most people w/jobs and families and other responsibilities are frankly not typically up to the task. I also recommend doing as much research as possible if you plan to continue on the path to work with Tucker, because not all the advice you get will be good or appropriate so the more you know, the more you can separate the wheat from the chaff. I found an abandoned aussie in the National Forest and after he was turned over to AC I continued to check to see if he'd been claimed. When he was still in the shelter after 10 days unclaimed, I decided to adopt and re-home him myself. It became apparent early on that he was too aggressive to be reliably re-homed. He lived out his entire life with me and taught me more than any other dog I've ever had and as difficult as it was I wouldn't have changed that experience. He was never fully reliable with strangers but I was able to manage him effectively. He was reliable off-leash on trails and he was also the most biddable dog I've ever owned. I was able to call him off in mid-charge more than once. I was offered the opportunity to have Cesar Milan work with him and declined (long story, maybe for another time). I won't pretend to offer a solution but perhaps my story will help you determine what you can and can't or will and won't be willing to do to keep Tucker. First--you are no doubt still in a highly aroused state, as is Tucker, so take some time before you make any decisions to gather options and think them through. As Journey wrote, the most immediate thing is manage your dog's environment. No one is allowed on your property without your prior knowledge and permission. Your situation is a double edged sword in that you are isolated which means that Tucker's issue is only an issue rarely when someone else is present. The other side of that is you have fewer opportunity to work with him on his triggering behaviors. Second train an absolutely 100% reliable "flying lie down" or recall. I don't have the time at the moment to relate my entire experience and what worked or what didn't with Boo just now. Feel free to PM me if you wish to pursue further and I can suggest some resources and my experience for what it's worth. Your mileage may vary. Also, do a search on these boards for some of the older topic posts about aggressive dogs (there were many many very experienced handlers that frequented the boards back in the day--before FB lured them away to other social media some of them are still around somewhat but don't post as often) Sorry of this post is a bit disjointed-I really am a bit hurried here.
  4. It's hard to believe Mouche has been with me for 6 months already! We've become great pals and she clearly feels right at home. When I brought her home from the shelter in Feb, she was skeletal-- her coat dull, dry and brittle. She's filled out nicely to I'd guess about 30lbs, and her coat looks shiny and lustrous. She always makes me laugh with her antics. She pulls a toy of choice out of the toy basket or the jolly ball in the yard and amuses herself until exhausted (temporarily!). One of her favorite amusements is "hockey". She has a disk shaped nylabone about the size and shape of a rounded-edged hockey puck. She'll proceed to play with it on the tile floor, grabbing it in her teeth and tossing it in the air, then batting it around with her paws until it eventually disappears under the furniture-game over. When she gets zoomies" (I encourage her, exhorting her "It's time for zoomies! when she starts acting like she's ready to jump out of her skin and begins to pester Bing)she's so comical cause she'll race around the yard and then dash inside the porch, through the dog door into the house, run a circuit around the sofa, then back out the dog door, out the porch door and around the yard again. She loves it when I ask her " Mouchie, is it cuddle time?". She responds, tail wagging wildly with excitement and anticipation, as she races me to the dining room where I haul out the massive dog bed that fits us both. I've barely gotten it to the floor before she flops down on it where we spoon and I give her a neck massage and her eyes close, squinty with delight. If I stop, she bumps my hand with her muzzle or grabs it with her paws to signal "more, please"...the oxytocin flows! She and Bing have bonded nicely. He was dubious at first after the initial excitement wore off, but especially within the last couple of months he is on board, and they amuse themselves with games of bitey-face ...until he's done and she isn't and I have to act as referee and tell her to go lie in her crate. Mouche has been an apt pupil, but is still a work in progress when it comes to her people skills. I swore I wasn't going to get another "project" but...here I am again. Her reactivity is still on full display at home when I have guests. She's a bit better out in public, but we still have a ways to go. We've had some very nice play dates with savvy owners and their dogs at their homes. It's been difficult finding time and appropriate people/circumstance to work with this behavior due to Covid and the summer heat. Now that her basic obedience foundation is decent, I'll sign her up for a class so we have more opportunity for the right kind of exposure. Her obedience, manners and trick training are coming along nicely. I've been using a long-line on our morning walks and working with her on whistle training for a solid recall at distance. She's so funny, when I stop walking and ask for "heel" when she's out on the long line, if she offers me a sloppy sit (not in heel position), I need only look at her and wait and she'll scoot herself into the proper position and look up at me for praise and the intermittent treat. I don't always insist on a constant heel position. I just want it to be there when it's needed. Well, I've rambled long enough so here are some recent snaps of Mouche and Bing is in there as well.
  5. Mouche, to my delight is coming along so well. Most of the time, she behaves as a normal, happy, engaged young dog. She is just the right balance of affectionate without being needy or constantly at my heels. She gets super psyched for our long walks, yet she has an off switch. She is content in her crate and handles alone time in the yard or behind the baby gate but leaps and dances and wags in greeting me. She’ll sometimes squawk half-heartedly in brief protest, but settles soon after. She occasionally enjoys toys at her whim, and roots around in the dog toy box, or wrestles with the soccer ball in the yard, but is not obsessively driven. Her confidence has improved to the point where situations that had proved alarming for her in the recent past (e.g. the ball made a loud noise when it bounced against the closet door as she was chasing it) she’ll now turn to check in with me. When she sees my reaction --meh-no big deal, she concurs and proceeds in due course. With regard to training, Mouche came to me a blank slate so we’re starting from scratch. Unlike nearly all dogs I’ve worked with previously, she didn’t naturally lure with a treat and my body position into a sit. I dug out my clicker and with a brief session of shaping reinforcement she learned “sit” in no time. “Lie down” came as an easily grasped extension of that. She is reasonably reliable with these commands even out on our walks as long as there is a minimum of serious, up-close distraction which for the present I avoid whenever possible. A few days after I brought her home in Feb, she developed persistent diarreah. The shelter provided me with a baggie of her kibble so I was gradually changing over her food. I added canned pumpkin and a bit of pepto and she improved some but not entirely. She presented no worrisome symptoms-activity, brightness, appetite, hydration, gums etc all appeared normal. She went on the boiled chicken and rice diet with some pumpkin added. Then a few days later she threw up a couple of nights in a row. I dreaded having to wrangle her into the car-- no uh-huh I’m not getting back in there! – was her reaction when I first casually tried to drive her to a trailhead for a hike. A vet appt where she would likely be super-stressed and require a heavy hand for an exam was likely to set her back. She was still in a fragile state of mind. So I began muzzle training her in anticipation of the inevitable, just to be safe. I smeared a small amount of peanut butter inside the basket muzzle and she eagerly put her nose in. How’s this for irony…when I removed it she snapped at me. The next time, I had something at hand to “trade up” when removing it and problem solved, and hasn’t re-surfaced. She hasn’t demonstrated any similar guarding behavior, but I always try to anticipate problems before they develop so she and Bing are fed in separate areas and I take up their bowls after. They do steal toys and nylabones from each other with no adverse consequences so far. There are plenty to go around. For a situation involving high value item, they are separated. Then I had the forehead slap moment. I realized her symptoms were consistent with giardia. A week of meds and she was good as new. Our latest project is working on getting comfortable with car travel. We had our first session a couple of days ago. I knew based on the first attempt I’d need to lift her into the cargo area of my car, so the muzzle went on for this task and was removed for the remainder of the ride. I drove a very short distance to a local nature trail that meanders through gravel, tree-lined paths and climbs among giant boulders. She has yet to be around many people, other than those few individuals we pass and briefly greet on our walks, which she takes in stride now. Unfortunately, immediately upon arrival at the nature trail (she exited freely from the car) there were several groups of voluble school children exiting the gate, which was overwhelming to her and sent her into panic mode. We moved a safer distance until they all passed, but her stress level, now well over threshold prevented her from taking in the new sights and smells. We stuck with it until she started expressing interest in her surroundings, sniffing and moving furtively along the trails at first, my arm stretched from its shoulder socket. We stayed long enough for her to gather herself to the point where her surroundings now piqued her interest rather than her terror. I employed some wisdom that always stuck with me from a horse trainer I formerly worked with. He related that whenever he mounts a colt for the first time, he only stays on his back for a few moments before dismounting “so the colt doesn’t come to think he’s going to take up residence up there on his back”. So whenever I approach something new and potentially scary with an insecure animal, I take just the time it takes to achieve an improved attitude, a little progress— and then quit on that high note. Another area that requires attention is her delight in pouncing on Bing to induce him to play, especially when we’re out in the yard. I have not taught her the dog door yet, so Bing escapes inside when he’s had enough of her antics. Inside the house I strive to use as little correction as possible, but as much as is necessary to discourage and re-direct her, always followed by praise when she makes the right decision. Other than a now and again foster dog, I haven’t done any hands on work with a new dog for nearly a decade. Many things are coming back to me. But one that is most priceless is that rewarding feeling that comes with seeing a shut-down dog emerge tentatively at first, and then enthusiastically from their shell. Mouche is a joy! First pic-Mouche initial muzzle training
  6. It’s been a few years now since I’ve frequented the boards here. I lost my beloved Jill a year ago last month—a loss I continue to grieve, and typing this, emotions that surface are raw. My little Bing dog, the sole remaining survivor from my original pack of 5, and the only non-herding breed member, still provides his magical anti-depressant powers (I refer to him as my little Prozac)... especially helping me weather many dark days over the course of the pandemic—he has been my salvation. For a long time I was on the fence about acquiring another border collie, vacillating back and forth. Periodically I would peek at rescue websites and Craig’s List for potential candidates. Last Spring I was approved and first in line to adopt a lovely young adult female, but the timing was bad. I had already committed to fostering a reactive young sheltie mix who was scheduled for spay surgery, so I didn’t feel up to taking on both simultaneously. Over the past year I had made around half a dozen inquiries, all having been adopted out by the time of my contact. Well, long story short, 3 weeks ago today, I drove two hours to Phoenix and came home with this little cutie. I had promised myself I wasn’t going to take on another “project”, having previously acquired two dogs with significant aggression issues, and another with major fear/socialization issues, all of whom lived out their entire lives with me. This time I just wanted a happy, well-adjusted, uncomplicated hiking companion (Bing has many wonderful qualities, but trail dog is not one of them!) My new girl, now christened Mouche, (phonetic pronunciation, Moosh-- like a lush slurring “Moose”) did not fall into that desirable personality profile. Like many of us, I have a type--petite and pointy and at 26lbs she checks those boxes. She definitely needs some groceries. I find myself singing Boney Maroney to her. When I arrived at the shelter at opening (first come, first serve) and she was brought into the small play yard for our meet and greet, she just couldn’t bring herself to engage with any human. She paced the fence line, avoided interaction (I initially sat very still and didn’t apply pressure her), moved furtively, ignored high value treats and generally wouldn’t acknowledge my presence nor that of any of the shelter attendants. Inquiring about her background, I learned she had been at the shelter for over a month and a half, she was an owner surrender, was about a year and a half old, and had spent the first week plus at the shelter cowering under her bed. Though there had been a lot of prior interest in her, there were no takers, likely due to her inability to engage. This shelter does no adoption screening. I was not asked a single question about the suitability of my home-- you plunk down your money and you take home your dog--I just couldn’t leave her there. I figured if she wasn’t an acceptable fit in my house (and Bing would have final approval) then I would do what I could to re-hab and re-home her to an appropriate situation via the local rescue I volunteer for. That first day as soon as we arrived home, I took her for a long walk to expend some of her anxious energy. She tried to cower in the drainage ditches and crawl into the culverts, and then flattened herself onto the street. Without facing her I continued to walk forward, gently urging her on. She was like a fly on a string. Then I introduced her into my segregated smaller fenced area within the larger fenced yard where she cowered frozen against the fence. Within 72 hours she was seeking me out for attention and affection. I waited a few days to introduce her to Bing other than through a baby gate or the fence, to give her time to decompress. Within moments of their first face to face, she play-bowed and it was on. Her progress has far surpassed my expectations! Now, though she is still timid and often furtive, she dances at the door when I ask her if she wants to go for a walk, puts herself to bed in her crate at night and greets me with a wagging tail and joyful expression every morning. She is somewhat reactive to other people we occasionally see on the street while walking, but I’m sure as her confidence improves this will resolve. Meet Mouche: Day 1 and Day 3
  7. Has anyone here had any experience with the electromagnetic pulsing "Assisi Loop" ? It's been recommended to me for Jill by the holisitic" vet we saw recently, and only sold thru vets or by prescription. My bullshit detector is going off, big-time. At a cost of almost $300 for an item with component parts that likely cost under $20, (yeah I know, R&D costs, marketing, packaging etc) I am not willing to purchase without a money-back guarantee, which of course is non-existent. This vets patient intake form discloses that "while there is mounting scientific evidence as to the effectiveness" of many of their treatments, "much of the evidence is anectdotal" and "many do not have scientific evidence as to their efficacy or long-term safety" . Jill recently had saw our regular vet which included rads. She has spondylosis and spinal issues commensurate with what is likely to be seen in most 12 year old dogs experiencing similar issues. So I made an appt for acupuncture/chiro to address her steadily deteriorating hind-end issues. She can no longer rise on her own power, and her mobility is severely compromised. From personal experience as well as those of family members who have had extensive experience with these modalities, I am very skeptical about many of these "alternative" treatments, but am willing to try, within reason to see if she benefits. I have been down this road before with prior companions and am all too familiar with how this will likely progress. I am just not yet ready to come to terms... TIA
  8. Maybe inquire about Selegiline=generic. Eldypryl brand name for humans. Veterinary brand is Anipryl if you want to be massively ripped off. I had Minnie's compounded at a vet pharmacy so it was 1/4 the cost of the brand name that my former vet hospital offered. I'm going back 10 years since I used it so there may be something better. There were no dangerous side effects as I recall. A dog may or may not respond but it may be worth a try.
  9. Bing's healing is coming along nicely. I am fortunate to be in a position to take him with me to my office, so I can keep an eye on him. He appears to be bouncing back to his former buoyant, effervescent self. This after a period of having to be coaxed out of bed every morning, trembling, and reluctance to venture into the backyard unless I am right there with him. We had a vet appt Mon to remove the drains. The more serious wounds on his lower right side were still draining quite a bit, so we returned yesterday for that. I feel so stupid and frustrated. It didn't occur to me until it was suggested at the Mon vet appt (by another dog owner, no less) to put a T-shirt on him to prevent his scratching at his sutures, something I had done for Jill when she received sutures several years ago, but hadn't occurred to me in this instance. So all that time he was wrestling with, and feeling immobilized by the cone or towel neck brace I fashioned, was unnecessary. While at the vet yesterday, I made certain to maintain a large bubble around him from other dogs in the reception area. He was shaking just being there. When the vet tech brought him back out to me in the reception area, a poodle came right up to him and they wagged tails and sniffed noses. I was a bit put out that she wasn't paying attention and allowed this to happen, but relieved that he doesn't seemed to have generalized fear of other dogs now, and ultimately, glad that I wasn't the one holding onto his leash, as I'm sure I would have reflexively jerked him away. Oh, did I mention that Jill suffered a brief attack from a lab mix that was off leash just 2 weeks prior? The dog charged out of it's driveway and without hesitation jumped her. The dog's elderly owners just stood there watching. Fortunately, that dog decided it didn't want to tangle with Jill after all (she fights back--fiercely and unrelentingly) and so the encounter was brief, and I believed, at the time, harmless, but just a few days ago I found a healed bite wound on her back. Tues evening I took Bing for a brief walk. He was prancing down the street with his tail up and a smile on his face--such a welcome sight brought tears to my eyes. Thankfully, he has not demonstrated any reluctance being around Jill. They continue to greet each other affectionately, and initiate play, just as they always have. Actually, she had been kind of freaked out by him when he was wearing the cone and preferred to steer clear. So last evening a friend and I were walking Jill in the neighborhood, and I see a woman walking an older yellow lab without any leash heading in our direction. They were about 75 feet away and the dog was out in front of her by a good distance, so I shouted for her to get her dog. She calls the dog and of course it starts trotting away from her and toward us. I shouted repeatedly come get your dog, NOW!! GET IT! GET YOUR DOG NOW!! And it wasn't until I brandished my aluminum walking stick that she finally started to move her feet faster to retrieve the dog, who continued to ignore her calls. I know the dog is friendly (of course--we know that is completely beside the point). This morning I see the owners walking the same lab off leash (as they do every morning) right past the front of my house. I approached them and explained the reason for my attitude last night, and why I was so adamant (it was the property caretaker walking the lab last evening, and she had evidently informed them of the incident) and they thanked me for the explanation, expressed sympathy and said they understood. But it's obvious that they think because they have an elderly, friendly dog they are entitled and will change nothing <sigh>. I think I'll print out the "He Just Wants to Say Hi" article (thank you Liz--and I have read it here previously)--and leave it at their mailbox. Thank you all for the advice, well wishes and support. I am not as active on this board as I once was, but it continues to be the first and most valuable place I turn to in a crisis.
  10. My little blond guy, Bing, was attacked by a neighbor's pitt Wed evening. Thankfully, his injuries, though serious, are not life-threatening. I was also bitten, though superficially, trying to protect him. Most of my injuries (and they are relatively minor) came from the other dog throwing me to the ground after I managed to fend it off momentarily. It spun around and returned for a second attack, and I grabbed it by the collar. Bing may well have been killed, if it hadn't been for another neighbor riding by on his bike and intervening by pushing his bike into the pitt, getting it to back off (I was on the ground by this time) and then positioning the bike between Bing and the offending dog. So the dog is impounded, and the owner, who feels horrible, and is taking full responsibility, has informed me the dog will not be coming back. I learned afterward, it had not been the first time this dog had escaped his yard and attacked and injured another dog in the neighborhood. Bing received deep punctures on both sides of his thoracic region and has sutures and drains. I kinow his physical wounds will heal. It's the psychological damage that concerns me even more. Under normal circumstances, when I wake up he is joyful and greets me enthusiastically with lots of kisses. This morning I had to coax him out from his bed and he was trembling. Naturally, he is fearful of going outside now. And to add even more tragedy to the situation, his little buddy who lives nearby, and who we have play dates with, perished the next night in a truck fire. He doesn't have any other well known pals to ease his transition back to socializing or even accepting being around dogs without feeling terror-stricken. Obviously I'll be paying very close attention to his body language and maintaining a keen eye on any future potential interactions before permitting them. I sure could use some feedback on the best way forward.
  11. Do you notice any dark or rust colored gummy residue in between the pads? It has a distinctive odor as well. It is common for yeast build up to cause irritation in conjunction with allergic dermatitis. Nizoral is an over the counter medicated shampoo that addresses yeast/fungus.
  12. You can fashion a sling out of a towel to help support him go out to potty. Best wishes to you both for a speedy recovery. You may want to consider implementing an action plan to deal with any fear repercussions this ordeal may have induced.
  13. My (now deceased) little 30lb heeler chased after a coyote she saw while we were hiking the local forest trail. She raced out of my sight barking ferociously...way different from her bunny or squirrel bark. I didn't know what she was after until I heard a yelp and seconds later she came running back toward me on 3 legs with the coyote hot on her heels. When It saw me it stopped pursuit and sauntered away. There wasn't too much blood, but her hind leg had been torn from the socket. Talk about narrow escapes. She made a full recovery. A few years ago I was hiking with Jill on our trail. We came around a bend and not 30 feet in front of us, standing on the trail was a large coyote. She chased it up the hill into the brush and they both disappeared from view. The longest 30 seconds of my life. After shredding my voice calling her in a panic, I blew the wrist whistle I carry on hikes and she came back, apparently none the worse for wear. I checked her over thoroughly and she acted like it was no big deal. My knees were shaking. Later that evening at home, she had a teeth chattering, drooling, quivering episode. And ever since then, she tends maintain a closer proximity to me on hikes. My sister's chinese crested was nearly taken from right in front of her house in suburban Chicago a few years ago. She had let him out in the (unfenced) front yard for a potty break late one evening. It was dark and she heard him scream but she couldn't see what was happening. The coyote dropped him when she ran toward the sound. Her dog nearly died from several puncture wounds. We do get the occasional big cat come around in some of the subdivisions from time to time. I live in a neighborhood with wildland interface that backs to the National Forest. A neighbor up the street whose property backs up directly to the National Forest heard a commotion in his yard one evening and turned on the porch light just in time to see a cougar take down a deer. The story made the local paper. I suspended my evening walks with the dogs for some time after that. Around here, on more than one occasion I've heard folks say they watch as their dogs "play" with coyotes. They think it's cute. I can only shake my head.
  14. Many years ago, when I had a senior dog exhibiting hind quarter weakness, I found acupuncture and therapeutic massage provided some relief for him. IIRC, as he continued to decline with age, the last ditch remedy was prednisone. That did forestall the decline for a time, but there may be newer, better protocols available now.
  15. Just as a point of information, many years ago, my dog Minnie was on selegilene for Cushings disease. When I initially scoped out options for pricing, I learned that the same medication, Anipryl, marketed to the veterinary industry, is marketed to people as Eldepryl. They are both selegilene. The human version was priced at about 1/2 the cost of the vet one. But, I was able to save 1/2 off the Eldypryl price by purchasing from a veterinary compounding pharmacy. One other important note for those who considering this route. I learned that due to potentially dangerous drug interaction, dogs on selegilene should not be taking SAM-e.
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