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Old 07-19-2011, 05:18 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
9,353 posts, read 18,075,391 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gigimac View Post
Oh, I think tranqs as needed would be okay, just the regular kind like Valium. When you and husband walk your dog, I think it would be a very good idea to RUN your dog part of the way, keep him behind you so he knows that he is to follow you or go right next to you, that IS his place instead of wandering everywhere. Smaller dogs have lots of energy and it must be expended daily, with a run included in a long walk. Get a tennis ball and in the house or yard, spend time each day throwing it and having him bring it back to you, another way to expend energy and bond with the dog, too. These are non-threatening ways to show your dog who is the leader, and this will lessen his fear-induced crazy behavior everywhere. Make him sit for his food, keep treats around and teach him tricks and reward him, another way to be his leader, which will give him confidence.

Now, we were taught this in a training class, and it comes in handy when in a vet office, and that's to occasionally lay the dog down on the floor, lay your arm from shoulder to hip, holding him down so he cannot get up, and just hold him there a couple minutes beyond what he wants, he'll struggle and carry on, but you just keep him down, and eventually he'll calm down, and when he is perfectly calm, then you immediately release him and give hm a treat. That way, when you get in the vet office, he MAY do a little better at being held down. I think he does all that stuff at the vet because of his injuries from the hit and run. That was a scary, painful time, so naturally he doesn't want to submit when he's there, because he's so afraid. But your holding-down training should help that somewhat. You could even add a command when you do the hold-down practice, "Calm," or "Still" should do it, and use it when you're at the vet.

On the biting, he must be stopped and told "No" as soon as he does that, that's how we've done all our puppies over the years, eventually they realize our hands are not chew toys. Oh, and one more thing, if you have to leave him for long periods of time in the house, to prevent him from getting bored and then restless and then creating bad behaviors to cope, get one of those hard red rubber pyramid-shaped but round toys, they are treat holders with holes on either end, you put peanut butter inside it, and he spends hours trying to get it out. Also, most dogs like to chew on carrots, which Nylabones are the same idea, and give your dog either one of those to chew on, another stay-busy item. Hope some of these tips help you out.
pinning an already terrified dog is an absolutely SURE way to get yourself and possibly others bitten.... not to mention causing additional psychological damage.... sounds like the trainer you used subscribes to the Cesar Milan method.....

and the red toys are called Kongs.....


Quote:
Originally Posted by subject2change View Post
Is it possible she had head trauma in the accident? Some of the things you mentioned sounded like a physical problem with the brain, like a tumor (which could well be benign), or some other kind of damage. Perhaps you could consult a specialist in this area?
THAT was another thing I was wondering about.... PLUS, you don't know what she survived before she was even hit by the car......
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:30 PM
 
9,238 posts, read 20,368,492 times
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We have no idea what her life was like before she was run-over. She had fleas, worms, she was not spayed and just coming out of heat, her ribs were showing, and when she was coming out of the anesthesia, she vomitted up garbage--Mc Donald's wrappers, paper towels. I'm sure she had some traumas even before the "squish & run driver."

It's actually quite amazing that she could bond with us so quickly, that she can actually follow some commands, and that she likes to be petted and played with.

I just believe she was put in our path for a reason, so we're not going to give up on her.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood, DE and beautiful SXM!
12,054 posts, read 21,254,976 times
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You and your bf are angels on earth. Thank you for taking her in and making such an investment of money and time with her and giving her the love that apparently she never had. I am sure that she will reward you with much love.
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:34 PM
 
1,257 posts, read 4,247,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
She had X-rays of every part of her body after the accident, including the skull. No head trauma.
X-ray can't detect soft tissue damage. On the other hand, if I were living in constant fear during the first year of my life and hit by a car, I don't think I will be normal even my brain isn't structurally damaged.

I think it will take time for her to completely feel safe without overreacting. I don't think forcing her to calm down or in a down position is a good idea.

I admire you for saving her. Best wishes. Oh, I just read LTTP's response. I agree with her.
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
4,033 posts, read 9,208,295 times
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Agreed that you shouldn't pin her; with an untraumatized dog, maybe. But with this dog, no way.

If she has already run the testing gamut, then you are probably right that it isn't nerver damage; it sounds as if it is just trauma, plain and simple. As such, she is a dog that should not be subjected to the same training methods as a non-traumatized dog. I would get in touch with a behaviorist that has experience with traumatized dogs, and I would sedate her in the meantime so that she can be examined, when necessary, by a vet.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:15 PM
 
2,873 posts, read 5,161,252 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post

For anyone who might think it's horrible to put her on meds:
1. I work in the mental health field, and have seen meds transform many human lives for the better, and I understand the risks & benefits.
2. She clearly cannot benefit from training until she is able to calm down & focus at least a little.
3. Almost anyone else would have had her put down. So to me, "better living through pharmaceuticals" is preferable to the needle.
4. We won't give her up, as she would not be considered adoptable, considering her behavior.

I'll keep this thread updated on how she does on the meds, in case anyone else has a mentally ill dog and has given up hope. Please share if you've had similar experiences.
It seems like you might have had some bad experiences with people telling you putting her on meds is 'wrong' or 'cruel'. I'm a vet tech, and I've seen many animals with severe behavioral issues. Step one is always checking for a medical cause. Step two is a behavioral consult and training. But when all else fails, the right medication can save a life, and you shouldn't let anyone make you feel guilty for going that route.

I can remember a young golden who have some behavior similar to your dog. This dog was adopted at 8 weeks from a breeder, so there was no trauma. Most of the time the dog was fine- but sometimes a switch would just flip in her head and she became a different animal. Being bigger than your girl, this dog was becoming increasingly dangerous and put her older owner in the hospital.

The owners were committed to their pet and even did a MRI to check for structural changes in the brain. Eventually they did go with medication. It was still hard- it wasn't an overnight change, and they still have to put in a lot of training, but the aggression was basically gone by the end of six months.

I myself had a female cat who had issues urinating outside the box and major issues with misdirected aggression. This is a very dangerous form of aggression in cats in which they don't recognize their owners and can inflict serious injuries. She was put on Prozac for 6 months, after which we were able to wean her down and then off of it. The misdirected aggression bouts went from every other day to maybe twice a year.

And you're absolutely right that she can't learn while she's so afraid and anxious. She might not have to stay on meds forever, but a short term course might help her turn the corner and get over her trauma. I would suggest seeking out a behavioral therapist, not a trainer.

Okay, I'm stop rambling- I just don't want you to feel guilty for trying to save her life.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:19 PM
 
2,873 posts, read 5,161,252 times
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Sorry, sorry, one more thing- some of what you describe sounds almost like petit mal seizures, or absence seizures. These can be hard to detect, because it doesn't 'look' like a classic seizure- they don't fall down and thrash. Sometimes they just space out, and sometimes they exhibit strange behavior like licking the air- or sudden, severe aggression. My cat has a form of this, in which he'll suddenly turn a complete somersault or wheel in circles. In his case, he did suffer brain damage from cardiac arrest during surgery.

You might want to talk to your vet about this, or see if you can get an episode of unprovoked aggression on tape. If you go to a behaviorist, that will be very useful.
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Mississippi
6,715 posts, read 12,653,555 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
Wow thanks for the validation! I was expecting the first few responses to be anti-meds people. I'm sure they'll be along shortly; they might be busy right now, advising people to not have their kids vaccinated or catching up on Tom Cruise movies.

I'm not too keen on Cesar Milan, I'm more of a Victoria Stilwell (It's Me or the Dog) fan. She's more into the positive training, and Cesar seems to be more into the "dominating the dog" thing. Still, they've both had good results with lots of problem dogs. I realize I can't be too picky at this point.


Here's the thread with Winnie's pictures:
Our Dog DNA Results
If what you get out of Cesar is "dominating the dog" then I hate to be so blunt but your approach to your dog is flawed from the very beginning. Cesar's approach to behavior is to approach the dog at the dog level - not the human level. To get inside the mind of a dog you have to "think" like a dog and not like a human (which is obvious since you're looking at the meds).

Evolutionarily, dogs developed in an entirely different way than human beings with the only caveat of our (humans and dogs) shared ancestry going back to similar mammalian homologies, i.e., similarities in skeletal structure (five "fingers," two "arms", and "two legs", etc...). My point being that humans and members of the dog family separated a long, long time ago on the evolutionary chain. As a result of that, their brain structures, their behavior, etc... is entirely different which is why you approach a dog like a dog and not like a human. Or, if you prefer, approach a dolphin like a dolphin, a tiger like a tiger, an elephant like an elephant - not like a human. That is the root of Cesar's approach.

That being said, dogs evolved as pack animals as a means of survival. One only needs to watch any brand of pack animal (jackals, wolves, etc...) on the Discovery Channel to get an understanding of how that works. In any pack there is an alpha male and an alpha female. All other members of the pack play by the essential rules and regulations of what the alphas set forth - most particularly the alpha male.

Believe it or not, the majority of dogs do not want to be the alpha. It is a stressful position to have in the animal kingdom because there will still be those vying for it. Yet, in a dog's mind, it cannot function without an alpha in its pack. So, if push comes to shove and there's no apparent alpha present, the dog will take it upon himself or herself to become that alpha even if he/she really doesn't want to. Again, in his/her mind it is MOST beneficial for the pack (meaning you, your family, and your dog) for him/her to become the alpha when no clear alpha is present.

The symptoms your dog is experiencing sound like a mixture of neuroticism caused by extremely high stress. That stress could certainly be induced by certain environmental factors (being hit by a car, certain noises, etc...) but the feedback you pass back to your dog when he reacts that way is what triggers him to keep carrying on.

Being the alpha is so much more about how YOU handle yourself with the dog rather than how the dog is reacting. It is not about "dominating the dog" much to your misunderstanding. It is absolutely about being the alpha and allowing the dog to understand that you are in control and that he has nothing to worry about. Trying to hug him when he's scared is the complete opposite of what you want to do because it only instills a sense of reward for his behavior. But a true Alpha doesn't punish the dog for his behavior he only makes a correction and moves on. Dogs do not live five minutes ago or five minutes ahead. They are looking at you now and they are watching what you are doing right NOW.

Try this for starters:

Get him on a leash and find a small fenced backyard or some space that is somewhat limited (perhaps 20 ft x 20ft). This will keep his attention limited to this small space and not the "open horizon" of every smell and sight of the neighborhood you walk. If you don't have a small backyard, then find a long hallway in your house and do it. Practice walking with him by your side and any time he strays (head or body) even the slightest, make a quick correction (a firm but non-aggressive pull toward you on the leash) and say "Heel." Walk with your shoulders back, with confidence, and with a nice positive feel about you. Don't lose your patience with him. Don't lose your mind. Just make the correction and keep going and ENJOY it. When it's time to turn around, just make the correction with the word "Heel" and keep going. Try it for a couple of days and see how he responds on the leash in that small area. If he starts to respond well then you will know that it's not an issue that requires "medicine" but a positive alpha lead.

Typically, I do this with my dogs as puppies when we practice leash walking but I use a "choke chain." If you're not familiar with the choke chain and don't know how to use it properly then I wouldn't use it. It does work better with the choke chain but stick with a regular collar and leash for now.

I promise you that taking the alpha lead is so much less about "dominating the dog" and far more about taking a positive leadership role that the dog instinctively knows how to relate and react to.
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:43 AM
 
27,068 posts, read 26,294,783 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latetotheparty View Post
pinning an already terrified dog is an absolutely SURE way to get yourself and possibly others bitten.... not to mention causing additional psychological damage.... sounds like the trainer you used subscribes to the Cesar Milan method.....

and the red toys are called Kongs.....




THAT was another thing I was wondering about.... PLUS, you don't know what she survived before she was even hit by the car......
there is nothing wrong with Ceasar's techniques...and yes, it is about dominating and being the pac leader...I've seen way to many animals in my lifetime, left go and were red zone dogs with severe physcological problems...my uncle trained horses, rode and showed...I once saw him use the same technique on a horse, he had to, otherwise the horse would have bullied anyone who rode him...after that, the horse was fine, it's not a pretty sight, to pin an animal, however, there are cases in which it must be done to let them know who is boss, and that what they are doing is wrong...and it's ok for you not to like that or to disagree, I'm simply projecting my thoughts...an animal is still an animal, unpredictable and can be very dangerous to others...I loved all my dogs, all my life, however, we implemented daily training with all of them...every single day, so that they wouldn't forget what was expected of them. And most animals love structure, as do children, they need rules, and need to follow them, to live harmoniously...

sometimes, it's ok to be harsh, and I'm not talking about this case here, b/c I don't know...but it wouldn't hurt to contact him and get some feedback, doesn't mean he would be able to correct the problem...I don't agree with meds...b/c there is always that one time where the dog could hurt someone, a child, a neighbor, friend or family member. I would say, try and correct the problem first, and then if there is no other way, but I'm just saying I don't think the poster has yet tried every avenue...and if that dog bites anyone, she is libal regardless. Animals are wonderful, cute, helpless and certainly loyal, but when you have a problem dog...or any animal for that matter...you have more chance of hurting another person...the dog is certainly tramatized, and the longer it's left go, well, I don't think it will better itself...I'm just saying, and mean no disrespect...but I would contact several well known trainers and get feedback before I resorted to meds. ? But that's my approach...not yours or the op...

at any rate, I wish you luck...you've done a wonderful thing for this animal...which is a huge liability...as my uncle always taught me, an animal is an animal and you can never predict what it will do...so it's best to seek out the best training possible and never let down your gard, b/c when and if you do, that is when things happen. You cannot reason with an animal...all you can do, is not spoil it, or allow it to get away with bad behavior...

I'm no expert, and certainly don't claim to be, you must do what is most comfortable for you.

Creme
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:15 AM
 
7,058 posts, read 14,576,457 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subject2change View Post
Is it possible she had head trauma in the accident? Some of the things you mentioned sounded like a physical problem with the brain, like a tumor (which could well be benign), or some other kind of damage. Perhaps you could consult a specialist in this area?
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
I think most people would normally steer you away from meds b/c a lot of people use meds inappropriately and/or unnecessarily. However, in your case, it sounds as if the meds are absolutely necessary, so don't feel badly about that. When meds are about maintaining a dog's life, they are a good thing.

I also agree that it sounds as if she has been traumatized by a vet and her accident. Is it possible for the vet to make housecalls? You might get a different reaction from her.

I also agree that it sounds as if something more major is going on. One thing about dogs is that their tails are connected to their spines, which are connected to their brains. It's possible she suffered nerve damage (her tail was most likely involved in the accident) and/or a concussion that was overlooked or not noticeable during her initial diagnosis.

If it were me, I would get a second opinion, perhaps from a specialist, if possible. And thank you for saving this dog's life and for giving her a good one to boot!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParallelJJCat View Post
Sorry, sorry, one more thing- some of what you describe sounds almost like petit mal seizures, or absence seizures. These can be hard to detect, because it doesn't 'look' like a classic seizure- they don't fall down and thrash. Sometimes they just space out, and sometimes they exhibit strange behavior like licking the air- or sudden, severe aggression. My cat has a form of this, in which he'll suddenly turn a complete somersault or wheel in circles. In his case, he did suffer brain damage from cardiac arrest during surgery.

You might want to talk to your vet about this, or see if you can get an episode of unprovoked aggression on tape. If you go to a behaviorist, that will be very useful.

Terrific posts, all. And yes, as I was reading and multi-quoting and preparing my reply, I was wondering about seizures too.

I am definitely not anti-med. If it improves quality of life, then it is a good thing. And I mean quality of life for everyone in the family.

I would give the Clomipramine a try. Not the Ace. She's already shown that won't help her. (I have an irrational dislike of that medication anyway haha)

It's is good for anxiety and cognitive dysfunction among other things.

Keep us posted on your dear little Winnie. She was indeed put in your path for a reason, though you may never know the reason, you certainly are her Angel.
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