Jump to content
BC Boards
Sign in to follow this  
Leeworthy

At a total loss, thinking of giving him up

Recommended Posts

So, out 4 yr old BC has been getting progessively worse. He has come to the point where its putting to much stress on us having him around. I don't know what to do anymore.

 

He suffers from severe seperation anxiety, barks non stop if you leave, will go after your feet to try and stop you, and then growls at you.

 

He is terrified of thunder storms, to the point that he climbs the railing at the top of the staircase to get up there and then barges into our room and hides under our bed all night, keeping us awake.

 

You cannot pet him for any period of time before he starts to bar teeth at you, growl and run away.

 

If you try and scold him for anything, he immediatly runs to his food dish, woofs everything down, and then proceeds to bark again.

 

I have tried training classes with him, and that failed, we had to pull him out, as he couldn't stay focused to learn anything.

 

what can I do? I don't want to give him up, but I am at a loss. Should I seek out a behaviourist? or am I being naive to think he will change from this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what can I do? I don't want to give him up, but I am at a loss. Should I seek out a behaviourist? or am I being naive to think he will change from this?

 

Yes. It sounds like he has a lot of anxiety and issues and his needs are exceeding your abilities. Its time to get some help for both of you. Do you know someone you can call?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a trainer down the road from us who use to teach police dogs for 30 yrs, and is a recognized behaviour assessor. I was thinking of contacting him and bringing Phoenix there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest a veterinary behaviourist, someone that can work with you and prescribe meds as needed. He sounds like he's got some serious anxiety...

 

For anxiety related issues, I would not recommend using any sort of punishment techniques, but positive reinforcement, counter conditioning and desensitization. The only reason I bring this up is that you mentioned the trainer down the road has been training police dogs and those training methods are usually punishment/correction based training, which would likely be worse for a dog with severe anxiety problems.

 

Just my 2 cents. I hope something works out though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really sounds like some meds are called for while you're working through his issues. And just an FYI, police dog training has changed over the years. It's not as punishment based anymore. If the guy down the street can help with assessing the situation that could be a start. You don't have to use him as a trainer if he's to hard of a trainer. But an observation from someone who knows dogs could be a good start. What ever the answer don't waste time with personal blame, doesn't help at all and I know its easy to do.

Good luck.

Kristen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the meds, do I just bring Phoenix to the vet and let them know what has been going on and they give him meds? Or is there something else that needs to be done?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medications do NOT work unless used as part of a training plan. Most (I would say less than 1%) general practice vets don't know the finer nuances of using a wide range of medications for complex behavior cases. Do not go to the police dog trainer! Speak with a board certified veterinary behaviorist. If there is not one within driving distance you can use their remote consultation services (which some offer).

 

http://www.dacvb.org/resources/find/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: meds: Generally you'll need to see a veterinary behaviorist to be prescribed the kinds of meds that will help relieve Phoenix' anxieity while you work through his behavior issues. These are often the same sorts of drugs that are taken by humans (like Xanax or Prozac) and because of the potential for abuse many regular veterinarians won't prescribe them. The key will be using the meds in combination with behavior mofification. A board-certified vet behaviorist will work with you to come up with an individualized plan for your dog. Usually there's an initial consultation and then follow-ups can be done via phone or e-mail. This is not a magic fix--it will still require a lot of work on your part, but it is a way to prevent you from having to give up on Phoenix. It sounds to me that there are several anxiety- and aggression-related issues going on, and a vet behaviorist should be able to help you sort them out and work on getting them corrected.

 

Unfortunately, if you give up on Phoenix, he doesn't sound like a good prospect for rescue/rehoming, so you may well be his last chance. A behaviorists isn't cheap, but the folks I know who have used them have been extremely satisfied with the results.

 

I don't know that I'd bother with the guy down the street since he can't prescribe meds and given your description of the issues he has I really think Phoenix is going to need drug therapy in addition to behavior modification.

 

ETA: I was going to post a link to a list of board-certified behaviorists, but I see Liz was posting at the same time and has already done so.

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medications do NOT work unless used as part of a training plan. Most (I would say less than 1%) general practice vets don't know the finer nuances of using a wide range of medications for complex behavior cases. Do not go to the police dog trainer! Speak with a board certified veterinary behaviorist. If there is not one within driving distance you can use their remote consultation services (which some offer).

 

http://www.dacvb.org/resources/find/

 

I second this! A veterinary behaviorist was very helpful for us. Medication helped take the edge of off my dog's anxiety.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, if you give up on Phoenix, he doesn't sound like a good prospect for rescue/rehoming, so you may well be his last chance. A behaviorists isn't cheap, but the folks I know who have used them have been extremely satisfied with the results.

 

I was going to say something like this, but Julie beat me to it. I've been rescuing and rehoming border collies for over a decade now, and can tell you that no rescue wants your dog, because no adopter wants your dog - dogs like this are virtually impossible to rehome, so you really are his only chance.

 

RDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I checked out the link, but there are no behaviourists in my area. I am going to contact my vet and ask them if they can recommend anyone local. The closest one is in Toronto, which is a 2 1/2 hr drive from my home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two and a half hours is actually very close! Many people live 8+ hours from a veterinary behaviorist. There is a big difference between a trainer that calls ones self a "behaviorist" and a board certified behaviorist.

 

If you can't go see one in person (which is ideal), many offer remote help. http://www.tufts.edu/vet/behavior/vetfax.shtml

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, as I noted in my first post, you might have to make a long(ish) trip just once, for the initial evaluation. After that, you could do consults by e-mail or phone, so it's not like you'd have to make the trip on a regular basis. A one-time (or once a year or whatever) 2.5 hour trip is a lot more doable than a weekly or monthly trip of that length.

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taking the risk of getting fried...

I would seriously consider putting the dog to sleep. Based on what is said in the opening post is this a very unhappy dog, making everyone around him miserable.

I could not justify putting so much money in a dog that most likely will never get "well" probably only (just?) managable, and that with medication like xanax or prozac.

I do realize this is a cold assesment, not taking into account the emotional investment that went into this dog.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smalahundur,

You won't get fried. Those of us who have noted that the dog is unadoptable have alluded to that very fact. Choices are pretty much limited to two if the dog is unadoptable: keep it and try to treat it or put it to sleep (well, there's a third choice, which is to take it to the shelter, where someone else will be forced to make the decision to PTS). So the discussion of veterinary behaviorists is simply the one option we can offer that allows the owner to avoid putting the dog down, and since the owner asked, it's only fair to offer all possible solutions, one of which is treatment.

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i'm going to agree with smalahundur. i realize treatment is one option and may be a good one in some cases. but when i think of all the "good" dogs in shelters and foster right now, i have trouble rationalizing the stress and cost of trying to make this dog just managable. the guilt either way must be devastating. you've done your best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do realize this is a cold assesment, not taking into account the emotional investment that went into this dog.

 

Yeah, that is the kicker. Loving a dog makes this sort of decision a totally different ballgame. I've never had a dog with this severe an anxiety problem, but I did have a dog that was extremely shy/fearful. Lots of people didn't think he was worth the effort I put into him and a few said so to my face. But I learned so much from that one dog who faced a scary world with his own brand of bravery and I bonded more with him than any dog I've owned. His progress and successes brought much joy and satisfaction.

 

So I wouldn't say this dog would be better off PTS any more than I'd say the OP must go the lengths his pup will require to achieve a decent life. It's "only a dog," after all. But when it is your dog, it's a whole lot more complicated, heart-wrenching and wonderful than that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we will see what happens. I bought a calming aide drop for Phoenix last night and it helped him tremendously with the thunder storm we had last evening. Let's hope this accompanied by a new routine and a behaviourist can make him a changed dog. I will keep everyone posted on the outcome and the Phoenix's progression.

 

Thank you for all the words of advice, although hard to hear, they are exactly what I expected and understand all my options that are on the table. I will work with the dog until I am no longer able to, PTS is the last thing I will consider.

 

He has never bit me, or anyone else, so for now, he is not a threat to anyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish you well. Its a very tough situation. Thank you for asking for help. I hope you are able to find a behaviorist who can help you!

 

Jennifer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sticking around and listening to everyone's suggestions.

 

Good luck as you begin this journey with your dog; I think he is the same age that my dog was when his SA began. I will reiterate....do not settle for a dog "trainer", you need a veterinary behaviorist. This is a veterinarian whose expertise is animal behavior. This is the person who can get you started on the proper dose of medicine that can help your dog enjoy his life again. My dog takes the generic form of Clomicalm and I get it at the Walmart pharmacy; it is very inexpensive. I don't know your life or your finances, but I hope you can manage the 2.5 hours to have a consultation with the VB.

 

This is a process that takes a while to get a grip on but it is worth it to have your dog back so he can share your life as a companion, the way it's supposed to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regardless of his bite history he is a danger to himself. W/O the proper professional help PTS is one of the kindest things you can do for him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you do go the vet/behaviorist route(and having done so myself for a fear aggressive dog, I highly encourage that) it would be helpful to have captured the behavior on video to show the vet.

 

I would also suggest doing as much research as possible on separation anxiety and thunderphobia. You may start by looking up articles written by Dr.Karen Overall. Best wishes to you. I hope you are able to find a workable solution. I will also reiterate that most general vets are not familiar with behavior mod protocols used in conjunction with psychotropic meds, and will suggest using inappropriate drugs like Ace. Don't cave in to that!

 

Here's a link to get you started:

 

http://www.k9aggression.com/Aggression-Treatment/behaviorMod.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might also want to check out a thread Liz P started in the Health and Genetics section on a medication she has used successfully for noise phobia. I plan to ask my vet about it the next time I see him.

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...