I'd be careful about moving as solving all the problems with this dog. A new environment might have the opposite effect, for a while. Dog might become more protective in a brand new environment. It should help though, if YOU feel better there.
If the dog is super protective of the kid, then it's going to have to learn to back off when the child has friends and their parents around.
We don't really have a choice as far as moving going. We have to move for DH's job. I'm praying that it doesn't make her problems worse, that is a big fear of mine and one of the main reasons why I'm so concerned about getting things fixed properly, instead of just drugging her into submission.
I don't know how she would react to another child. They are certainly less threatening than an adult (unless they are my nephew...).
I didn't mean to imply to not move for the dog- just that a change in environment might not improve things. In the best case scenario, it will and I'm hoping for that.:yes:
Your dog is a hero and seems to have taken the baby under its' wing as part of the family very seriously. Sometimes pets bcome jealous instead but this is one saint of a dog. I hope things improve for all of you and that the dog can learn to relax again.
I understand now. :)
I have a bit of a frustrating update. DH and I had to go away this weekend for a mandatory work function. We were gone from Fri-Sun. Dixie went and stayed with my father and their JRTxPit. Baby stayed up here with my Mom.
My Dad is more than competent with her, and she likes him. He came up Thursday and had dinner with us/hung out for a few hours and she was fine with him after some inital growling. He ignored her, and she settled after about 20 minutes.
Dad reported that she was great all weekend. Played with their dog (who she is good friends with) was totally relaxed at the house, etc.
She was beyond overjoyed when we came home, however. She was so excited that she was falling over herself to say hi. Then I had to pee (god forbid) and all he** broke loose. I didn't even shut the door, just walked away when she was saying hi to DH. She noticed I was gone and lost her mind. Whining, slinking around, crying, etc. When I hollered her name from upstairs, she came flying up, sniffed me all over and tried to jump in my lap (thanks for that...)
This morning she wouldn't even go outside to pee unless I stood in the doorway. She almost fell off the stairs because she was trying to walk backwards to see me. She's gone from velcro dog to superglued. I took a shower this morning, and she sat with her head around the curtain, just staring.
We didn't have a choice over leaving (one does not just simply tell the Army 'No, thanks.') but I feel like the problem just got worse. We have an appointment with her vet tomorrow to get her something to help her relax, and we have our first session with a pro on Wednesday.
I'm so frustrated! It's not her fault, but I want to go kick that stupid asshat in the teeth!
Sorry, but I had to laugh.
Originally Posted by Superminion
I can just imagine her staring you down in the shower "hey, you missed a spot"
It's probably compounding but not necessarily a combined issue.
(I TOLD you to get Rescue Remedy!!!:yes:)
Momma Dog is in overdrive and needs her pack together.
You will get it sorted out!
It was a bit unsettling to have these two beady little eyes staring me down the entire time. I tried to close the curtain and she opened it right back up. She is currently laying across the back of the couch with her head on my shoulder... "helping" (i.e. guarding my popcorn from the cat. ;) ).
Originally Posted by Alagirl
We don't have any place local that I could find who sells it. My next move was to do an online search, but in the exhausting madness that was this weekend, it just didn't happen. I will resume my shopping when I get done. Promise! :)
I felt more guilty leaving her than I did the baby since I figured that this would happen.
I'm sure it did make her anxiety worse. This kind of fallout is why I suggested meds to begin with.
I do think you will find that there are going to be things that she's not good at handling now, and you are probably going to have to train through them.
Does she get tremendously anxious if left in the house alone when you go for short trips (grocery store, etc)?
It may have been a combination of a place that wasn't home AND you being gone for several days. That's scary w/o the trauma she experienced.
I fully support medicating her. Hopefully we will get that sorted out tomorrow.
She has always gone with us, no matter where we go.If she can't go, she would just sleep on the doormat until we came home. The hubby says that when I've left to the barn at night, she paces back and forth from the front door to the kitchen window (where she can see the driveway) to the garage door, and back. She doesn't whine, just paces. He can distract her with hot dogs for a moment, but she'll take the food and carry it around on her trips. Before everything happened, she would just sleep on the mat until I got home.
I haven't left her home alone, for fear of what would happen, honestly.
We were concerned about leaving her. She respects my Dad more than my Mom, so we made the choice to have her go stay with him so that the baby was out of the picture. I thought that she would be less protective in a new environment, with a friend (my parents dog) to distract her, than she would be in her own house, where somebody that she didn't respect was not only in her space, but taking care of 'her' baby.
Dad said that she settled well, he took both dogs for walks together, and never had a problem with her.
Now that we are home, she's back to work, so to speak. I hate to see her so stressed out. DH has said the "R" word (re-homing) since she did so well with my Dad, but I feel like we can get through this with the right people to work with us.
the R word is certainly not a bad idea should you not get a handle on it.
But I am confident you can get it to work.
(I am surprised that your healthfood place did not stock it.
But online is cheaper anyhow)
But it does make me appreciate my cats:
'Yawn. Wake me up when you finally get around to put food out, will you'
But doggie only made sure you would not flush yourself down the drain!
I think I suggested the Relaxation Protocol? If not, look it up. It's tremendously boring for most people, but it *will* help your dear little dog if you can work through at least 1/2 of it.
In the meantime, I think I'd start working on hubby holding a party for her when you leave, and you holding a party for her if hubby has to go somewhere so she's not so worried you'll just disappear.
Have you done any formal training with her? If not, now is a great time to start and use only +R. I'd also suggest using food as the adrenalin will drop if she can eat.
We are working on the relaxation protocol, I do think that it's helping a bit. I don't have a very firm grasp on it, and I'm hoping that bringing in an outside set of eyes, who doesn't know the day to day will help. I had DH film her tonight while out for a walk, so that ya'll can see what I've been talking about as well, but our camera died and I'm not sure it saved. It's charging now.
Originally Posted by threedogpack
A bye bye party sounds lie a good idea. Just lots of positive excitement and food rewards? She could care less if hubby is coming or going. ;)
We haven't taken any formal classes, I've been able to do everything myself. We were thisclose to passing our CGC, but I don't think that it's in the relm of possibility now. We have a meeting with a pro trainer on Wed.
We would think about rehoming, if that's what best for her, but I think that she will settle down. If her actions were towards the baby, than she would be out the door, but she's a sweetest girl ever at home and to DD. I have faith that she'll get over it, we just need the right team of people! Thank you all so much for your suggestions and encouragement as well. :)
A bye bye party only happens when the Bad Thing (thunder storms for example) happen, so that the association with the Bad Thing becomes, over time, a more positive experience.
it is also called open bar/closed bar, as the bar (food treats and party time) closes when mom gets home. It does not always work like expected and it can take a long time to reduce the anxiety, but the thing is that if it doesn't work, you have not *increased* anxiety.
I feel so bad for you and your dog....I really hope you can find your way back to a happy, relaxed dog.
You might want to keep Dixie on calming drugs through the move and for a month or two afterwards.
I deal with my somewhat timid dog on walks by taking charge of scary situations before he feels he needs to step in. Basically, I tell him with my actions: I see something unusual, I have decided the unusual thing isn't a problem, and I have something else I want us to pay attention to.
Knowing that he sometimes gets skittish around strange people, I make a point to watch out for joggers and people out in their yards. I yell a cheerful greeting to the person as soon as we get within reasonable range, say fifty feet or so. My call to the other person tells the dog that I am dealing with the situation. My friendly tone of voice tells the dog I consider the other person a non-threat.
A lot of times joggers are in their own little iPod world and won't respond to me at all. The good part of this is that zoned out joggers don't normally make any sort of eye contact. It's therefore really easy to convince the dog that joggers are utterly boring and beneath our notice. I deal with them by asking the dog to do some tricks as the jogger comes into view: sit, shake hands, spin in a circle, etc. I give the dog some treats or let him play with a squeaky tennis ball as a reward for doing his tricks. Meanwhile the jogger just motors on past us.
People in their yards can be a little harder to deal with. Sometimes they stare at us, which makes my dog tense. I can't just distract the dog by having him do tricks on the sidewalk until they decide to go in for the evening. So, if the dog seems tense even after I have called out the greeting, I start telling the dog what a fool he is in a loud cheerful voice. "Yes, Pookie, it's someone taking mail out of his own mailbox. You don't need to make a federal case out of it. No, I won't let you borrow my cell phone to call 911. It's really not worth getting spun up about. There will be more junk mail tomorrow." This ridiculous commentary has two effects. First, it draws the dog's attention back onto me. Second, it usually sets the person in the yard to giggling. My dog knows that giggling people aren't threatening.
For the fear issues at home, you might want to try to recruit some of your hubby's army buddies for help. Invite one of the guys over for beers. Act like it's the greatest thing in the world that he's come over to visit when he shows up at the door. Don't let him approach Dixie or touch her initially. Put him in a chair and just start chatting with him. Bring him the beer and some cheese & crackers & other goodies. Apart from making sure she's not going to nip him, ignore Dixie yourself.
Once Dixie has calmed down, have the guy casually drop a piece of cheese within Dixie's reach. Continue your conversation as if Dixie doesn't exist. Continue having him toss her the occasional piece of cheese as long as she remains quiet. With luck, her mercenary side will take over and she'll sidle over to his chair in hopes of more cheese. Have him offer her more cheese from his fingers, but don't let him pat her unless she seems comfortable nosing and touching him first. Only let him touch her if she's soliciting attention.
^ This is something that the trainer suggested to us, and we did. It worked very well.
Originally Posted by carp
I just wanted to update, we met with the vet who suggested an SSRI, Fluoxetin. I am not familiar with it, other than it is more long-term, than fast acting. I am doing my research.
We saw the trainer as well, who made a few interesting observations. He met us with one of his older dogs (a GSD) in hand. Dixie remained alert, but non-aggressive. He was able to approach me, shake my hand, and carry on a conversation. After our conversation, he was able to shake my hand again, and walk away. Dixie remained in a sit-stay at my heel.
He then approached us again, without a dog. Dixie went nuts, placing herself between me and him growling, barking, hair standing on end. I was not able to heel her or otherwise regain her attention.
He then brought his older dog back out and switched leads with me. Dixie remained relaxed while he walked her away. He had me put the older dog in a down-stay while he took a few turns of the room, with Dixie in a heel position. I was able to walk out of the room, with no sign of Dixie's anxiety. It was amazing to see the influence of the older dog on her. She was her normal Dixie self.
He then worked with me to better understand the relaxation protocol, which I feel much more confident doing on my own now.
We 'borrowed' my parents dog for the week, a 4 y/o JRTxPit. She's been her normal self. We invited one of Mike's soldiers over to the house for dinner, and she was fine. Barked when he arrived, because my parents dog barked. We ignored her, and had him feed her kibbles of her food periodically. By the end of the night, she was snuggled up with him in the recliner, watching the news.
So, do we get her a friend? We've been thinking about it for some time now, but put our search on hold, not wanting to introduce a new dog into the current situation, it seems though, from what I've witnessed, to be the easiest fix. Then begin to work on taking her out solo? Our trainer wanted to see how things went, with my parents dog over and having a new person over for dinner. Both went fine, but we can't keep my parents dog forever, they miss him!
I would not get another dog. If it goes well, then great, but if it goes poorly, then you have *2* dogs who have issues. Some of which might crop up after the other dog has been there awhile.
Originally Posted by Superminion
Good point! Thanks threedogs!
I would hold up on the dog for other reasons.
You have your hands full with MiniMinion, you are about to move and all the good stuff.
Do they still print Barbara Woodhouse books?
She suggested that parents (mothers, really) of small children make the worst dog owners....
No SM, that does not mean I think you suck as dog owner, that only means that moms have their plate full without having to train a dog.
I totally get that. Juggling a baby, plus Dixie has been a struggle (that I have, mostly, enjoyed.) She was doing SO well before all this crap that we did feel ready to hang out the open sign. I guess I was only seeing it as a help, but y'all are right. :)
Getting our oil changed. In public! THANK YOU Alagirl and threedogs!! This is with the rescue remedy and relaxation protocol!
Originally Posted by Superminion
glad to have been able to give you a tiny piece of the puzzle!