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Julie, I must apologize then. I am sorry you have the impression of me that you do. I have taken the advice or board members and I value that advice. I am fully aware that many board members are far more qualified than I. I have notes from this great advice. Please understand my frustration and that it can at times lead to an outburst. As a result of all the advice I have received and partly due to my non-productive meeting with the behavior specialist I have made arrangements this morning for Dave and I to go to a SW Ontario University next week and meet with a real behavior specialist. They are looking forward to meeting Dave and I am looking forward to helping him. I am looking forward to working together with them to give Dave a great life.

I am no expert but many of you have I believe hit it right on and I expect this will be confirmed. If so and with a little human training I believe I can help Dave. In certain situations in public as Liz P points out I believe Dave is fearful and he has assumed the role of managing his world with aggression. He lacks confidence and I have not given him the proper direction. I also believe as Debbie Meier points out that Dave in situations where he knows people is being a spoiled brat and he is assuming a dominant role. Outside of his own family Dave has developed the attitude that he can manage his world and get what he wants by crashing and banging. I still don't understand this behavior or the why's and how's and I do not yet know exactly what I can do to correct this. But with your input so far, the input I will get at the University along with some knowledge and common sense I will find out how to deal with this and get it done. Thanks for all your help. I will let you know from time to time how things are going.

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DTrain - I think planning to get truly qualified help, as you mention here, is the smart thing to do. Your previous "behaviorist" may have had some ability or experience, but didn't sound terribly capable.

 

We get so tied up with these wonderful dogs that it's hard to be subjective - or is that objective? I never can remember. Any Border Collie probably knows the difference, though. At least I'm dumber than "the world's smartest dog" and not something as lovely but air-headed as (insert breed of choice here).

 

Best wishes taking good advice and running with it!

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Please keep an open mind about medication should the veterinary behaviorist recommend it. It can make a world of difference in the process to fix your dog.

 

I second that. You might do a search on medication for fears/aggression and find lots of good info. I know Melanie (SoloRiver) has posted her experiences with the impact medication had on the quality of life for Solo.

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I second that. You might do a search on medication for fears/aggression and find lots of good info. I know Melanie (SoloRiver) has posted her experiences with the impact medication had on the quality of life for Solo.

 

Thanks Liz, I know this subject is going to come up and I will need to ask a lot of questions and perhaps we will need to experiment with Dave. I am not likely to get an answer concerning working dogs and medication, I am not anticipating anyone I will be speaking with will have direct experience in this regard. I do have a concern about putting Dave on stock while he is taking medication. I want him to have all of his speed and skills in case he gets into trouble and I am not so sure I want to take the chance. Any experience in this particular situation. Thanks.

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Aside from a slight reduction in heat tolerance there is no problem with working a dog while it is taking medication. In a cooler climate you shouldn't notice a difference at all, except on unseasonably warm days. I can speak from experience having worked a BC on sheep daily who was taking a cocktail of drugs almost identical to what Melanie's Solo is on.

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I also believe as Debbie Meier points out that Dave in situations where he knows people is being a spoiled brat and he is assuming a dominant role. Outside of his own family Dave has developed the attitude that he can manage his world and get what he wants by crashing and banging.

 

Please don't use the words dominant or spoiled. Dominant dogs do not use aggression towards non pack members to try to influence their behavior. Dogs who use aggression towards non pack members have an underlying level of anxiety. Dave is using the only tool he understands to try to control the situation because he probably feels out of control and vulnerable. If Dave shows aggression it means he did not feel that you controlled the situation well enough. You may be asking too much of him. He may not want to be meeting these people or having strangers come into his home. If that is the case he needs to be crated when you have visitors until you can read his behavior well enough to know when he has passed his threshold and should be removed from a situation.

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Aside from a slight reduction in heat tolerance there is no problem with working a dog while it is taking medication. In a cooler climate you shouldn't notice a difference at all, except on unseasonably warm days. I can speak from experience having worked a BC on sheep daily who was taking a cocktail of drugs almost identical to what Melanie's Solo is on.

 

Pan is now on carbamazepine (200 mg daily) and citalopram (10 mg daily) and she is JUST AS ACTIVE when we go bicycling/running for example as she always was. And she's not dumber, or less intense. It's just the medicine (combined with all the behavior modification we've been doing--another thing a true board-certified VETERINARY behaviorist will advise you to do) helps her be able to focus better mentally, be more confident, and be less reactive. Although the carbamazepine (a pretty strong drug) made Pan lethargic at first, there don't seem to be any long term physical effects or effects on interest in play and herding-like behavior. While some psychoactive drugs can cause lethargy and over-relaxation, in general antidepressants are not that way - they are not like taking Valium or Xanax. (This spoken by someone who truly needed antidepressants to get her through a series of deaths in her immediate family, but is no longer on them... part of the reason why I'm not averse to trying chemicals with Pan. They really helped me, and I was nowhere near as abnormal as my dog is!) I think if you told a true veterinary behaviorist what it is you want Dave to be able to do, she would surely only prescribe medicines that would not interfere. Besides, meds like Valium and Xanax from what I hear tend to make dogs cranky, so the only things they would prescribe I bet would be the more consistent daily-sustained effect (time release) anti-depressants which are mood altering in a more stable way. In other words the good medicines may actually HELP Dave work.

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