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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 26, 2002
    Posts
    440

    Default new dog, wit's end!

    So my beloved scaredy-Beagle died unexpectedly a few weeks ago and I ran out and replaced her with another elderly hound with issues. I've had him for almost three weeks and he is driving me up the wall! He's required a whole different skill set than her and at first it was going okay but the last week has been rough.

    He's a 9-10 year old Basset/Beagle mix. Totally deaf. Blind in one eye. Very weak musculature in his hind end (and lots of atrophy in the muscles on his head too) and often requires help with the stairs, which is fun because he hates being touched on the belly so I have to do one of those back-straining "lean down and scoop around the shoulders & hips" maneuvers. The shelter was not exactly upfront about some of the physical issues, which is fine, they probably didn't know about the blindness for example. (But after they brought him out and I met him they said "oh, you might have noticed he's deaf..." Well, no, actually. I just thought he was being really inattentive and was kind of dumb. Good to know.) Here’s a basic list of the issues I’m having with him, I can provide more detail as necessary but in three short weeks I’ve acquired so many tales of woe that this would be a very long post.

    -The barking. In his crate, out at the barn, when he’s bored or wants something. I bought one of those citronella spray collars today but it doesn’t work on him. It came with the ‘scentless’ canister and I’m not sure if that makes a difference, if the regular citronella would be more effective, or if he’s losing half of the correction by not being able to hear the hissing noise as it sprays. Not sure where to go from here. The barking has been an issue from day one but I wanted to give him a few weeks to settle in before trying something else, as I’m absolutely flummoxed as to how to teach “quiet” to a deaf dog…am I just going to have to suck it up and buy a shock collar?

    -Potty training. He was great for 2 weeks and I’m not sure what happened. I started to give him more freedom, such as sleeping out on the dog chair or being loose in the room while I was gone. Obviously he lost those privileges after the first incident and went back to being crated (see “barking” above). However, now he’s even having accidents while under direct supervision (although I’m not sure if you can really call them ‘accidents’ when it’s clear he just doesn’t care). I had to stop typing and take him out while typing this because he decided he didn’t want to play with his toy anymore and wanted to crap on the floor instead. He is a bit shy about going on the leash, but I try to give him time tied out while at the barn in addition to walks so he can have some privacy. He will go on walks, just takes a long time and he tends to just ‘drop and go’ rather than sniffing around and taking his time like a dog very comfortable with it would.

    -Busybusyness/lack of awareness. I can’t really have him out of my bedroom because he is so destructive! He is into everything. If it’s in his way, he goes through it. Furniture is for climbing on and pawing at and glass things are for knocking over…he just doesn’t care, in part I would think because he can’t hear the world crashing down around him. So if I take him out in the rest of the house, it’s on a leash which gets hazardous for me (ask me how many times I’ve gotten wrapped up and tripped!) not to mention inconvenient. There’s no way to correct him or distract him without a leash as he can’t hear me and can barely see me! Plus, he often has trouble going up and down the stairs and often requires a ride (muscle atrophy & weakness = falls = fear)

    -Living arrangements: my previous dog was terrified of the world and was perfectly content to stay in my bedroom behind a baby gate. He plows the baby gate over. Plus, I had to C-clamp it to the side of my desk to prevent him from leaping onto it from the chair, after an incident in which he got tangled in computer cords, fell between the furniture and almost dragged the monitor and speakers down with him. In my room, I keep him occupied by giving him all his meals in a Kong or Busy Buddy. Despite being 9/10+ years old, he can play with his toys for hours, go for a 2 mile walk, and still be ready to go go go. He loves people and I think he’s been getting anxious just being in the room by himself when I’m gone, despite toys and exercise and so on. I can set up a run for him outside, but worry about the disruption to the neighborhood from the constant barking and also him feeling insecure being outside by himself (since he can’t hear or see very well…)

    I could go on. But basically, I am sleep deprived (not good for a girl recovering from longterm health issues) and cranky and frustrated, and need some good creative solutions and ideas to help this work out!

    (Oh, and the positive…he is very, very cute and always happy. Today when he decided my pop-up travel crate needed an extra door and got stuck in the hole he chewed in the front, he was very cheerful when I finally found him and had to cut him out. Took some hilarious photos of him walking around dragging the crate as it was stuck around his belly, one of those very very lightweight nylon things so I don’t think he suffered too much in the time it took to grab the camera)



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2008
    Posts
    4,724

    Default

    "-The barking. In his crate, out at the barn, when he’s bored or wants something"

    hounds bark and bay. It's a breed trait. If he's doing it because of Seperation Anxiety punishment won't work. If he's doing it because he's a hound....punishment won't work. What I would try if he were a foster here is to teach him to stay in his crate with the door open, ala Shirley Chong. www.shirleychong.com keeper pages. I would also start him on the 10/60 training routine. That means that every 60 minutes you are around him you train him for 10. Actively train him. If he's like most hounds he is also a bottomless pit for food and I'd use that.

    "-Potty training. He was great for 2 weeks and I’m not sure what happened."

    it's probably that he doesn't know .how. to tell you he needs out. #1, I'd tether him to you or crate him near you and set a timer. I'd treat him like a brand new little baby puppy and get that boy outside every 20-30 minutes till he learned to empty himself out there and he would NOT be loose to mark at will. He'd learn to pee. If he holds himself till he comes in the house and immediately or nearly immediately poops, get some baby gylcerian suppositories and insert one just before you take him out. They gently and safely stimulate bm's. Dogs generally learn to urinate and defecate on certain surfaces. If he was never taught to go on grass/outdoors then he probably accidently learned to go on carpet or in the house.

    "-Busybusyness/lack of awareness. I can’t really have him out of my bedroom because he is so destructive! He is into everything."

    tether him so he can't .get. into everything. Use plastic covered wire with a snap at both ends. Available by the foot at TSC. Tether him to a table leg, your desk, the couch....where ever you are by looping one end around the leg and snapping back onto the wire, the other end of course gets snapped to his collar.
    Kongs are your friend, layer it with kibble and canned food, then freeze it. This should be a "only when you need him to be occupied and supervised" toy. He does not get this all the time and you need to put it away when you are interacting with him or when he is sleeping.

    "Plus, I had to C-clamp it to the side of my desk to prevent him from leaping onto it from the chair, after an incident in which he got tangled in computer cords, fell between the furniture and almost dragged the monitor and speakers down with him. In my room, I keep him occupied by giving him all his meals in a Kong or Busy Buddy. "

    He needs to be taught to settle quietly. This is a learned behavior. Put him on lead at your feet, step on the lead so it is slightly uncomfortable to stand and far more comfortable to lie down. When he goes into a down, count to 3, and drop a small treat to him. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Good luck, he sounds like a dear!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2008
    Location
    The Great Northwest!
    Posts
    1,361

    Default

    Kudos to you for giving this dog a second chance!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2000
    Location
    El Paso, TX
    Posts
    14,506

    Default

    How often are you walking him? He should be going for a couple brisk leashed walks a day for about 45 min or so, to release energy and fulfill his need to wander (You may need to work up to it if his muscles are atrophied). Consider a joint supplement like Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM. The exercise might reduce nervous energy which may help with the barking.

    Hounds are usually very food motivated. Try using pieces of hot dog to motivate him. Stomping on the ground may get his attn thru vibration. Or consider a shock collar on the lowest setting. Do they sell collars that just vibrate? Maybe put a cheap pager on his collar on vibrate, and page him! LOL. You want something that won't hurt but will let him know you want his attn. Use like a clicker...vibrate, get his attn, when he looks at you then treat.

    What caused his muscle atrophy? Cushings can cause muscle loss and a pot bellied appearance, ravenous appetite (they will start trying to get in trash cans/counter surfing), increased water intake, increased peeing/accidents.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2008
    Posts
    4,724

    Default

    "Maybe put a cheap pager on his collar on vibrate, and page him! LOL. "

    I am SO stealing this idea



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2001
    Location
    Center of the Universe
    Posts
    7,806

    Default

    they DO sell collars that vibrate, many people use them to communicate with deaf dogs. Dogs pick up on hand signals really fast too, faster than to verbal commands. Teach the dog to look at you when "paged" then teach some hand signals- a good dog signal, a quiet signal (why not?) etc.

    Poor dog doesn't know how to behave; pretend he's a clueless puppy and start from scratch.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2008
    Posts
    4,724

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    they DO sell collars that vibrate, many people use them to communicate with deaf dogs. Dogs pick up on hand signals really fast too, faster than to verbal commands. Teach the dog to look at you when "paged" then teach some hand signals- a good dog signal, a quiet signal (why not?) etc.

    Poor dog doesn't know how to behave; pretend he's a clueless puppy and start from scratch.
    I know they sell them but I bet the pager is cheaper.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 26, 2002
    Posts
    440

    Default

    Some websites with deaf dog resources actually give instructions on how to deconstruct a remote control car and turn it into a vibrating collar if you don't want to pay the $100-200 for a real one. It's on my list of projects. Stomping on the floor, clapping etc. don't get his attention. They also suggest using a laser pointer but given his limited vision, I doubt that will get his attention very well either.

    The shelter thought the atrophy stemmed from being chained out, he was picked up as a stray. My vet suggested a wasting muscle disease of some kind but didn't think it would be worth testing for due to expense and lack of treatment options (wait and see approach, and she's very thorough so I trust her judgment). No pot belly so I don't think it's Cushings.

    I try and get him out for a 1-2 mile walk daily, plus shorter ones around the property and time spent tied out at the barn with me. I'm getting over Lyme & mono (simultaneously!) so that's about the max I can handle. We both come back from our 'big walks' dragging ass like you wouldn't believe.

    We do some small training sessions a few times a day, trying to work on hand signals. We've got sit about 80% of the time and stay about ... oh, 10% of the time. We do a 'thumbs-up' sign for 'good boy.' He is indeed very food motivated and just the kibble makes him practically do backflips. I measure out his food in the morning and he gets it either by playing with a toy or training throughout the day (a sort of 'nothing in life is free' approach).



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