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Ruckus is a 2 yr old sheltie (yes i know, not a bc) He is neutered and we have been through obedience class, and we do agility. Despite working with him, he has many many issues. I talked over the phone with a behaviorist that suggested putting him down, which of course is NOT EVER an option.

His issues are

 

As a puppy if you said a “V” word his eyes would get big and he would run and hide. Luckily he does not respond like that anymore

 

When a visitor comes over he gets so worked up that he sometimes blows his anal glands

 

Around some men he gets so nervous that he pants really really hard and is visibly stressed out

 

He has a noise phobia and I very afraid of gum shots (not so much thunder)

 

Outside he normally barks non stop, and runs around with his hackles raise while outside (he does play and have fun and is normal too, he just has his moments when he gets worked up)

 

He reacts easily

 

Recently started becoming aggressive with visitors

 

Tries to attack car wheels (not so much now, since I have been working with him, but he still gets worked up when he sees a car)

 

He is scared of unfamiliar objects, barks and tries to bite at some new objects

 

He will not come near you, and actually sometimes leave the room if you are chewing too hard or loud.

 

He is will run and hide sometimes when you blow bubbles from bubble gum

 

He HATES motorcycles. He tries to attack them, and if one passes while he is outside he sometimes runs across the yard and bites, jumps on my other dog. He will even tear down the curtains and pound on the window to get to a motorcycle.

 

He is afraid of a drinking glass, or soda/water bottle. He will not come to you if you have one in your hand.

 

I just dont know what to do anymore. I live out in Kentucky, and I cannot find anyone who has ever dealt with this sort of behavior before! Whats even stranger about this behavior is that it only happens about 3 or 4 days a week. He litterly has his "days"

 

We have a vet appointment this afternoon to talk about putting him on BuSpar (anti anxiety) and then i guess i will get a bunch of good books and try to work with him. I am serious, I cannot find any trainers out here that can help me out.

 

Is it really that bad?? Has anyone ever seen something like this before? I am very worried about his fate. He bite someone last night.... It didnt break the skin, but i think that was because I pulled him away right in time. And this is not the first time this has happened.

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I don't know about the biting issue but all my dogs have little quirks.

Some are gun, thunder phobic, we work though it and have xanax on hand if it's a bad storm.

Some are afraid of weird noises like making fart noises with your mouth, not real farts. She is also afraid of other noises that people make but we manage. I don't chew gum but I know if i did, I have one that would totally freak out. No biggie, I don't chew if I did I wouldn't blow bubbles. Again, no biggie.

Some were car chasers, it can be worked out with training. Same with all moving objects.

Some are nervous around strangers, I manage each situation and keep them or the strangers safe, not that big a deal anymore, it's habit for me now.

 

At least you know when he's going to blow his anal glands. One of my dogs has gland issues and I have to express his glands about every other week or he gets impacted. Bummer but I'm an expert anal gland expresser which is a sought after talent with my friends who can't do it :rolleyes: Learn to express them and if you know there's a stressfull situation coming up, express them first then you can be in charge of where the stink will go!

I have one that's a bit afraid of the dark. Won't go out if it's dark unless I go with her. Don't have to worry about losing her after dark.

 

Shelties are known for barking. If it gets out of hand put him in a crate when it starts to esculate. Be proactive. I have used a bark collar but don't konw if it'd work on a sheltie, they are barkers, bc's aren't known for barking. The bark collar worked quickly for out of hand barking. She still is a barker for a bc, but as long as she quiets when I tell her to, it's ok with me. I think she's actually taking not barking. She doesn't bark when I'm not around. If she did I'd probably crate her more.

 

All your issues seem dealable except the biting part. I wonder if your nerves about the whole issues thing is making it a bit worse. If not, I'd just be sure to put him up when I know strangers are coming over or make sure the strangers know to not look at or fuss about the dog. Maybe he'll come round if givien a chance on his own time. IF it were me I wouldn't forse him to face things, let him take them on his own time.

I don't consider fear to be the same as car chasing. That's something that you have to train to control, fear has to be dealt with more thought.

 

He doens't sound that bad cept the biting part. I had a fearful dog, she's almost 10 now and you'd never know there was that many issues, I never babied her, just kept training her on sheep and hauling her around to dog friendly places, not to socialize with other dogs, but to get used to them. She is not a playful dog and hates other dogs in her face, Her choice, so I keep other dogs out of her face.

 

there will be lots of advise, listen and take what works for you. But I don't think anything you mentioned calls for being PTS, just good management.

 

Good luck.

Kristen

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It occurred to me that some of Ruckus' odder fears could be part of sound sensitivity. It could be mainly an extreme case of that. The book I have heard of is Through a Dog's Ear by Joshua Leeds. I have not read it because I have never had to deal with this problem. Gum bubbles do make a loud pop when they break. Motorcycles are loud....well, you get my drift. Good luck with helping Ruckus. If he has hypersensitive hearing the world can be a very disturbing place. Anti-anxiety meds will not diminish the sound, so you would just have to try them and see if they help. I CAN tell you from personal experience (a relative suffers from this condition) that the hypersensitive hearing person suffers great pain when hearing certain sounds. I would expect it would be the same for dogs. The condition is called hyperacusis.

 

Kathy Robbins

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Daisy also has her quirks. She is reactive to strangers, men mostly and kids, other dogs in her face, the vaccuum cleaner, but not the central vac.?!, thunder, people leaving the house, even if she wouldn't come near you previously, it's the end of the world, door bell, the debit machines that pizza delivery guys cary...the list could go on...

 

I have learned that every one of these things is managable with a good trainer (if you can find one) and some good books! The faciltiy where I go with Daisy has at least two or three trainers that know how to handle reactive dogs and have some of their own and they offer classes that are for reactive dogs. So if you can find something like that, this is where I would start. I would also reccomend reading any of Patricia McConnell's books and read Turid Ruggas' book on calming signals. I would also recommend Click to Calm and Control Unleashed. Both books I have read the beginnings of but have not started using them in day to day life as we are currently in a class and it might be too much for me (not the dog!) to handle. If there is an underlying medical condition that can be helped with meds, it might take some of the edge off, but it will all come down to good management.

 

good luck!

julie

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Contact Tufts Veterinary School, they do a long distance behavioral issues treatment program that might be helpful for you. Putting Ruckus on an anti anxiety drug may help not at all, a little, or a lot. With Shoshone, there was a noticeable lowering of her overall anxiety in 6 weeks.

 

You do need to keep working with him, but it will be a lot easier.

 

Good luck!

 

Ruth n the BC3

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What sort of "behaviorist" did you talk to? No responsible person would recommend euthanizing a dog s/he did not personally see.

 

Ask your vet for a referral to a certified veterinary behaviorist specifically, and get some in-person help. No one can diagnose your dog online.

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Thank you so much for everyone's help. Today at the vets I asked where i could find a behaviorist and the closest they knew of was in Nashville. I just simply can't drive 3 hrs twice a week in their business hours. I hate it, i wish i could, but I cant.

 

Either way, they have a "trainer" there at the vets office that I spoke with. She has had 11 years experience with dogs. Anyway, she said it sounded to her like Ruckus has a chemical imbalance and gave us a prescription to Amitriptyline. Its an anti anxiety, and OCD medication. She did offered advice on training him to be calm, but I really didnt like what she was saying. She said to leave a leash on him, and give him a correction with the choke chain, and make him do obedience exercises.

 

Here in my part of the sticks, no one seems to know squat about dog training. I am NOT following her instructions, however i will keep him on the meds to see how they do.

 

Would anyone here recommend the following books to help me? Click to calm, Focus not fear, and Control Unleashed???

I thought about ordering all three online today.

 

Thanks everyone! I'll keep you posted

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Would anyone here recommend the following books to help me? Click to calm, Focus not fear, and Control Unleashed???

I thought about ordering all three online today.

 

Thanks everyone! I'll keep you posted

 

YES!!!!!

I don't know Focus not Fear, but have heard nothing but bad about the other two. (see my other post to this thread).

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Have you contacted the behaviorist in Nashville? The one I've gone to, (who is only an hour away) had us submit a detailed history before the visit, spent an hour and half with us, and sent us home with very complete instructions. She offered follow up via email and phone. We went once for Buzz and a few years later once for Shoshone.

 

There's a good chance that you would only need one or two visits, not a visit a week for 6 weeks like a training class. If you haven't already contacted them, you could find out.

 

If that doesn't work out, get in touch with the folks at Tufts Veterinary School, you should be able to google it and search for the behavior department. I know of several folks who did the long distance program with them and it helped them a lot.

 

Click to Calm and Control Unleashed are excellent books, but I'm thinking you may need more specific help for Ruckus.

 

Good luck,

 

Ruth n the BC3

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Either way, they have a "trainer" there at the vets office that I spoke with. She has had 11 years experience with dogs. Anyway, she said it sounded to her like Ruckus has a chemical imbalance and gave us a prescription to Amitriptyline. Its an anti anxiety, and OCD medication. She did offered advice on training him to be calm, but I really didnt like what she was saying. She said to leave a leash on him, and give him a correction with the choke chain, and make him do obedience exercises.

 

I am NOT following her instructions, however i will keep him on the meds to see how they do.

 

I find it interesting that you would rather accept the diagnosis/opinion of it being a chemical imbalance and shoving pills down his throat than trying the obedience exercises. There's no quick fix. You have to be willing to put in the time to train your dog. Listen to people who have been there before. Coming here is a good start. Reading the recommended books is good too. But, if you're not willing to follow through, it will just be a waste of precious time, and money. Just my opinion. :rolleyes:

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Some dogs do need medication to help them get better. While meds without training don't do a whole lot of good, training without meds in a dog who really does have a physical component to their anxiety doesn't do any good either. Meds can make it possible for a dog to learn. I also used to think meds were a cop out, until I saw what a huge difference they could make.

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I believe that Control Unleashed could help, but you would need to take it slow and follow through on the training.

 

Doing this in conjunction with the medication is probably your best bet.

 

I would not use leash corrections with a dog like yours under any circumstances.

 

Hope that helps.

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I find it interesting that you would rather accept the diagnosis/opinion of it being a chemical imbalance and shoving pills down his throat than trying the obedience exercises.

 

I find it interesting that you think medical intervention and behavior modification are mutually exclusive. Veterinary behaviorists prescribe medication when warranted as an adjunct to a behavior modification program, and will stress that the first will not be successful unless the owner is committed to following through on the second. Not all behavior issues are simple training problems. It's not about "shoving pills down his throat." There's nothing in the OP's first post to indicate that she is not willing to train her dog or is looking for a "quick fix" -- on the contrary, it sounds like she has done a lot of training work with him. No veterinary behaviorist would advocate punitive training methods for an anxious dog, which would be totally counter-productive; prescribing an anti-anxiety med (which would indicate that you think the dog is anxious) and then recommending jerk/choke corrections (which would make the anxious dog more anxious) makes no sense whatsoever, unless you know absolutely nothing about dog behavior. When a dog is reacting adversely out of fear or panic, he is usually not "misbehaving." Would it help you get over a phobia of heights if I made you stand on a high ledge and then whacked you over the head every time you said you wanted to get down?

 

I don't see why dogs who could benefit should suffer just because some people out there think behavioral meds are "icky." Usually these are the same people who think that folks with profound depression or other psychiatric disorders should "just snap out of it," so I guess it isn't that surprising. All I can say is, being accusatory and superior does not help the OP at all. Putting a smiley on it after you say something mean doesn't make it not mean. Your reply was totally unhelpful and sounded as though you did not even read the original post.

 

We can all sit around and armchair this but really, someone who has a clue needs to see the dog in person.

 

To the OP: As for this behaviorist in Nashville, is this a certified veterinary behaviorist (i.e., a veterinarian with a specialty in behavior), or just some trainer calling him/herself a "behaviorist?" Veterinary behaviorists typically see you once or twice, not every week.

 

IF your dog has an anxiety problem, a program of meds and behavior modification can be a godsend. One of my dogs is on behavioral meds. He has also been through more behavioral modification exercises than, like, EVERY dog out there. The average dog owner will never understand the amount of work that went into making this dog what he is today, which is a happy dog with excellent quality of life who also happens to be my canine soulmate. Do I know about "following through," hell yeah I do. It tends to ruffle my feathers when I am accused of just "stuffing pills down his throat," especially when such accusations are usually leveled self-righteously by people who would not recognize a genuine behavioral problem if it came up and bit them in the face.

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I find it interesting that you think medical intervention and behavior modification are mutually exclusive. Veterinary behaviorists prescribe medication when warranted as an adjunct to a behavior modification program, and will stress that the first will not be successful unless the owner is committed to following through on the second. Not all behavior issues are simple training problems. It's not about "shoving pills down his throat." There's nothing in the OP's first post to indicate that she is not willing to train her dog or is looking for a "quick fix" -- on the contrary, it sounds like she has done a lot of training work with him. No veterinary behaviorist would advocate punitive training methods for an anxious dog, which would be totally counter-productive; prescribing an anti-anxiety med (which would indicate that you think the dog is anxious) and then recommending jerk/choke corrections (which would make the anxious dog more anxious) makes no sense whatsoever, unless you know absolutely nothing about dog behavior. When a dog is reacting adversely out of fear or panic, he is usually not "misbehaving." Would it help you get over a phobia of heights if I made you stand on a high ledge and then whacked you over the head every time you said you wanted to get down?

 

I don't see why dogs who could benefit should suffer just because some people out there think behavioral meds are "icky." Usually these are the same people who think that folks with profound depression or other psychiatric disorders should "just snap out of it," so I guess it isn't that surprising. All I can say is, being accusatory and superior does not help the OP at all. Putting a smiley on it after you say something mean doesn't make it not mean. Your reply was totally unhelpful and sounded as though you did not even read the original post.

 

We can all sit around and armchair this but really, someone who has a clue needs to see the dog in person.

 

To the OP: As for this behaviorist in Nashville, is this a certified veterinary behaviorist (i.e., a veterinarian with a specialty in behavior), or just some trainer calling him/herself a "behaviorist?" Veterinary behaviorists typically see you once or twice, not every week.

 

I read the OP. I must have misread, or misunderstood. I apologize for sounding accusatory and superior. Lord knows, I'm no expert. Probably shouldn't have posted this evening at all. Traumatic weekend. I'll shut up now.

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Ruckus has completed both basic and advanced obedience. we also do rally and agility.

 

I dont think choking my dog for being scared will make his fears go away.......

 

I have worked with him in the past with my obedience trainer, with not much luck. I AM going to search more for a behvoirist and I WILL be doing training with him when the medication takes effect.

 

Sorry if there was a misunderstanding. But BC4ever, that was extremely out of line.... you oviously do not know anything about me, or the work that I have done with both of my dogs.

 

Thanks everyone for your help! he is on day two now of his pills

 

I am unsure if the behaviorist in nashville that i spoke with was just a trainer or what. i found him in the yellow pages and just basically wanted someone else to tell me "yes, sounds like he needs to be mediacted"

I forgot to mention that the trainer I spoke with at the vets office who told me to do corrections.... she talked about flooding him. Making him hear the noises, or be in a stressful situation until he calmed down. I know she is a crack pot and I know better than to do that bull s***

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I forgot to mention that the trainer I spoke with at the vets office who told me to do corrections.... she talked about flooding him. Making him hear the noises, or be in a stressful situation until he calmed down. I know she is a crack pot and I know better than to do that bull s***

 

Ok, good, so you are well rid of that person. Both my Shelties had issues with fears and shyness, one of them quite severe. With a lot of (positive, kind) work and patience, they both made great strides. I didn't have Click to Calm for the first one, but I've used that book with the second and it's been a fantastic success. A clicker approach also got her terrible nuisance barking under control. As an aside, a no bark collar barely made a dent in the problem.

 

You have a lot on your plate with this pup. I second getting a good vet. behaviorist and think it's great you are trying medication for the level of anxiety you describe. Absolutely do NOT use corrections, do not flood and in fact do not put the dog at threshold if you can avoid it. These fearful dogs can make wonderful progress but it can take a while. Patience and gentle persistence are your only realistic options.

 

Also, you need to be philosophical to a certain degree that they will always be who they are. So for instance, my Sheltie is no longer frightened of thunder (much) or firecrackers (at all), she now walks beautifully past dogs, children on bikes and other disturbing sights, and is by far the quietest of my dogs. But... she still becomes anxious if she thinks I'm upset, she is still prone to odd fears like her worry about the reclining sofa and she is a wreck about riding in the car. That's who she is. She's a fine little companion. For a while, she was a good little performance dog but showing didn't really suit her temperament. Now she is my Backyard Dog Excellent.

 

Good luck with your boy and please keep us up to date with his progress. I will send good thoughts your way that the meds help take the edge off his anxiety.

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Sorry if there was a misunderstanding. But BC4ever, that was extremely out of line.... you oviously do not know anything about me, or the work that I have done with both of my dogs.

 

Very true. I can't know all there is to know about you from a few paragraphs posted on a board. And you obviously don't know anything about me either. I would never intentionally put someone down for what they're trying to do for their dog. As I said before, I'm no expert. I'm still learning too. There are all sorts of methods for dealing with all sorts of problems. Not every one works for every dog. I apologized for my insensitivity to your post. I hope you find the answers you're looking for. What more can I say?

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As long as folks are posting about aspects of this thread that they "find interesting"...

 

I find it interesting that in the list of problems that the dog has, the OP doesn't clearly list the most obvious, serious problem: he bites. This is mentioned as an aside afterward, but it needs to be front and center in your mind. In my opinion it's far and away your most serious issue. If your dog bites, you don't have as many options as you think you do. First and foremost, you have to make certain that he doesn't bite again. Dog bites can can get you into big time financial and legal trouble that will make your current worries look quaint and charming by comparison. You may not have made a decision yet about what kind of program you are going to use to fix the dog's problems, but I think that as a first step you have to create an environment in which he won't bite someone that will order him killed and then sue you.

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I feel for you! I'm experiencing the same problems with my 14months BC. I tried everything until I read "The Dog Listener" by Jan Fennell. Al I can say is do yourself and your dog the favour of a lifetime by reading this book. Get it as fast as you can and start doing what she says. I've given this advise to someone else on the Boards and I wonder if they are reading this now?

You might think that while reading it, that what she's saying doesn't have anything to do with your specific problems....but it DOES. I promise you this.

I saw a very very big improvement with my BC within less than a week. I have now gone on to purchase the follow up book called "The Practical Dog Listener. he 30-day path to a lifelong understanding of your dog" ISBN number 9780007145706

I think it is important that you must read it in sequence. So don't try taking a shortcut by reading The Practical Dog Listener first just because it says it is a 30-day guide.

 

I hope this book will help you and your dog to be happy together for years to come in a stress free situation.

 

Best of luck!

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