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Everything posted by pansmom

  1. This is so common there should be a local vet who can handle it. You just really need the Xanax (generic: alprazolam) first to get the dog under threshold. Then the other stuff will start to help. Please read Dr. Overall's article. My vet wanted me to try the other stuff first because Xanax is such a controlled substance; many vets down here won't prescribe xanax for animals because of that. Your vet may not have tried that. Since you've tried everything and nothing has helped, you could print out that article from Dr. Overall and bring it to your vet to see if he will prescribe xanax. As far
  2. Do you live in Lafayette? That's where I am. I have a 4 yo thunderphobic BC rescue (and have a great vet here, who has prescribed Xanax and Clomicalm). This has helped Vala a lot. She used to dig in the house during storms; now she just trots into the bathroom (the safe place we made for her) and sucks alllllllllllllllllll the peanut butter out of a kong. Yesterday, for that storm (which for us was mostly rain) she was fine and not upset all day -- maybe you're southeast of here? Who's your vet? Was your dog also upset during the fireworks? Could be a bunch of stuff is freaking him out lately.
  3. I haven't read all the comments, so maybe others have already said this, or maybe I'm misunderstanding. But regarding your first description of the aggressive nose bump, according to the veterinary behaviorist I consulted a year or so ago, that sounds like what is called a muzzle punch and it's low-level aggression. It's lower than snarling - the showing of teeth you said she did to you before. I know it sounds kind of disturbing because she hit ya in the face, but a muzzle punch in general can be a pretty low level thing. Nose bumps can also be friendly (my totally non-aggressive Vala does it
  4. Vala has started being better about thunderstorms because she gets a peanut butter kong now during them in the bathroom, but it took the Xanax and Clomicalm to bring her down into a place where she could enjoy the kong and start to change her associations. And she still always wants to be in the bathroom with her peanut butter when they occur. She did okay on the 4th and doesn't seem as scared of fireworks as thunderstorms. Although when they started going off July 3rd while we were walking she did want to turn around and go home--she wasn't freaking out. So we went ahead and walked the sh
  5. That very same thing happened to a very unlucky squirrel in my backyard a week or so ago (somehow, even though she is never out there for more than 10 minutes at a time)! Vala has recovered from her heartworm treatment and is doing well... Good for her, bad for the local squirrel population, apparently! She didn't know what to do with him afterwards either!
  6. I groom Vala myself. I wash her every two weeks and then brush her out afterwards (using a regular dog brush--but she only gets mats under her ears where she has a lot of ruff, and if I am diligent about this routine she doesn't get them at all). I also check her toenails then and brush her teeth... She gets a treat before and after I work on a mat, just like the way she gets a treat before and after I cut each of her toenails. She seems to feel better afterwards; either she is glad I'm done or she likes being clean and the attention. She prances a little afterwards and her tail is always way
  7. Vala loves dachsunds! There's one named Oreo who she loves to visit every day on our walks! Of course I love dachsunds and corgis so she may just be picking up on my excitement when I see them! (Not hard, since I'm an open book to people, and we all know how intuitive BCs are!)
  8. Agree with this. I have a BC with a very strong prey drive, who initially wanted VERY BADLY to help me teach the cats not to get up on the counters. I worked with her a great deal, and used a combo of methods, so that now we can all lie around calmly together on the bed. Had to have a few "Come to Jesus" moments, as well as crating my one very dog-savvy cat who likes to taunt Vala. I also used the one thing my BC is deathly afraid of (the clicker--I KNOW--but what can you do--when I tried to load it she got scared of the treats) to teach her not to focus on them (I'd click when she went after
  9. Adding another update for future reference when people search this issue: after being on 25mg clomicalm daily and 0.5 mg stormphobia interrupting xanax for two weeks, 30# Vala's thunderphobia is seriously improving. No more storm-predicting at all. No more digging. About a week ago she was calm enough when she started to dig out of fear that I felt I could tell her "no ma'am" and she'd understand and not freak out--so I did and after two or three "no ma'ams" she actually stopped digging because she was no longer panicking enough to do something she knew I didn't like. Also she doesn't storm pr
  10. Kongs are THE. BEST. THING. EVER. Seriously. Get thee to a kongery. Also start randomly throwing Cerbie tiny treats off and on when you notice him relaxing on his own in the house. You have to teach relaxation to a teenage dog. And yes--eight months. Before 8 months, Pan had zero behavioral problems. REALLY smart, high drive wanted to train puppy, but NO behavioral problems. After 8 months, it was like a switch flipped. Honestly, I think they do--genetic switches--quite literally, when the hormones flip on.
  11. Oh I agree! They *should* pay the OP! But I'd want to exchange something with them (even if it was only a check for the equivalent of a dollar) to provide a paper trail before I got attached and put time and energy into the dog.
  12. This dog sounds great! I was just reading about Pal, the rough collie dog actor who originally played Lassie... He was apparently turned over to the Hollywood animal trainer who trained him because of his behavioral problems... went on to live to be 18 doing all kinds of film/acting work/tricks and loving it. He just needed a job... Smart dogs really do get into serious trouble when left to their own devices! As for the legal question, I agree it could be an issue (at least here). At the very least, you might write the daughter a check for the equivalent of five dollars, or something, with
  13. Congrats on rescuing such a handsome guy and welcome to the boards!
  14. Liz, that is such a beautiful picture and story! Thanks for sharing!
  15. Thank you for giving him a chance. From the way you describe him as a pup, I bet he would be so grateful for structure and the chance to be useful. Please do keep us posted...
  16. P.S. I also meant to add, you probably shouldn't let Lando control your cats' movements. It isn't fair to/safe for the cats. At the risk of embarrassing myself, here is a thread about Vala doing something similar when I first brought her home... I was severely trounced for allowing it at all...
  17. Oh... It was a very hard decision. She wanted very much to be a good dog, but just didn't know how. She was just so smart, and not wired right. I really wanted to help her. I loved her very much. I still miss her intelligence a great deal -- I'll be the first to admit my sweet Vala (a post-Pan rescue) has nothing on her with smarts. And yeah, I do think Pan's story would've made a great book... if I had been able to help her. That was the book I wanted to write. Who wants to write the sob story, that someone could use as anecdotal evidence for the stupid idea that all dogs with problems should
  18. Well-bred is key, or for a first border collie, maybe an older rescue (3-4 years) with lower drive. This is why I say well-bred is key: I had a poorly wired BC-lab cross puppy who needed 2-3 hours of training and behavior modification and a 6.5 mile bike ride daily... and it still didn't really help with her anxiety and aggression and energy, poor thing. Super high energy dog. She was really really smart, but we couldn't teach her to relax in the house, she was sound reactive and bouncing off the walls and fear aggressive. She also barked at everything and wouldn't stop. But she was an "a
  19. Vala does this too. I think sometimes the peanut butter gets on her legs out of the kong, so she licks it off. And I think, because it takes so long to get peanut butter taste out of her mouth, she keeps doing it, because it tastes good... It's cute. She keeps switching back and forth calmly between legs and Kong.
  20. Hi Barbara! Welcome to the boards. Lando is beautiful! I want to second the call a behaviorist suggestion--more specifically, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (BCVB). In 2008, I got some bad advice from people who called themselves "behaviorists" with a severely fear-aggressive BC/lab cross who eventually ended up having to be put down... Hindsight is twenty twenty, but I wish I had known to call a BCVB -- and no one else -- the FIRST TIME she bit at 8 months. It is great that Lando always seems to trust kids. And if he's not snapping at YOU ever that's great news too. Also, al
  21. Update on Vala's progress that might be helpful for the OP and others when working with vets on this issue: we started Vala on clomipramine (generic Clomicalm, a small dose, 25mg/daily) last week, with supplementary alprazolam (generic Xanax) for just before thunderstorm onset. For the first three days, I immediately gave Vala the Xanax (she needed .5 mg for it to work, @ 30 #s--but my vet said this is dog-specific) anytime she exhibited the frantic digging behavior she had started exhibiting an hour or two before storms (when the pressure changed? or she heard distant thunder I couldn't?) and
  22. You can use "yes" as a marker to do the same thing as Click to Calm. But the book is still worth it. As for what Meg did in class, ok so Meg is really smart and eager to please. That's good news! I had a really smart dog with this problem too... Just an idea: I used reduced fat cheese whiz and peanut butter on walks (as soon as the frustration happened, I told her to sit and then down, giving her the chewy gooey mess as soon as she did). Something about the chewy gooey yummy goodness of these treats helped distract and therefore desensitize her to triggers (the gooey treating was on t
  23. How great! Vala, um, well, we had thought she might have done some cattle-herding before she came to us. But the other day when I went to Dallas to pick up nursery furniture, I was driving her to my in-laws to stay there for the weekend, and there were some cows in a field. And I was early. So I stopped the car, and took her out, up to the edge of the fence, within about 30 feet of the cattle (on leash of course). Expecting the same reaction you get when she sees a squirrel... Um, no. Zero interest. She wanted to sniff the flowers. Then she wanted to pee. Then she wanted to get back into t
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