• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Barn Dog getting more paranoid as she ages

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Barn Dog getting more paranoid as she ages

    I have three dogs...my oldest is 8. She is a golden/gsd/border collie mix. Super sweet, but has always been stubborn and a very high prey drive.

    She's always been afraid of storms...but in the past year this has escalated to just about any noise that mimics gunfire or thunder. Even if someone is hammering in the distance, she will cower and run for cover in the barn/won't come back out. If a dump truck makes a loud noise, she takes off.

    The other dogs act normal...I've tried to ignore it, I've tried to encourage her...nothing works

    Now she has started a new thing in the past week...obessevily licking her front legs. Food hasn't changed (we feed either raw or grain free), today.I washed them, thinking maybe she has a mosquito bite, etc...she came home and her legs are drenched yet again. I'm worried she's going to chew a hot spot.

    Any wisdom/advice....I'm beginning to think I need to consider doggie prozac.

  • #2
    Only your vet is going to be able to tell you what's going on of course.

    But dogs can develop dementia as they get older.

    I hope it's nothing and the dog is back to normal soon. Maybe it's just the heat, or some other stressor.

    My beloved basset had this trouble towards the end of his life. Looking back, I realize I missed signs that he was going senile. We just adjusted little by little so I never really noticed.
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by JSwan View Post
      Only your vet is going to be able to tell you what's going on of course.

      But dogs can develop dementia as they get older.

      I hope it's nothing and the dog is back to normal soon. Maybe it's just the heat, or some other stressor.

      My beloved basset had this trouble towards the end of his life. Looking back, I realize I missed signs that he was going senile. We just adjusted little by little so I never really noticed.
      Your small animal vets must be better than ours here. I know this is going to be one of those, hmmm.not sure..try this.


      • #4
        Considering Prozac might be a good idea, or at least considering approaching this problem with the help of a veterinary behaviorist.


        I don't know where you're located, but board-certified vet behaviorists are listed at the DACVB website. If you tell me where you are I can also try to get a recommendation for you.

        One of my dogs has serious anxiety issues (including noise phobia, but also separation anxiety and extreme fear of strangers) and he's been on behavioral medication for most of his life. On the meds and with a lot of behavior mod he has excellent quality of life and seems unremarkable in most situations, without them he is a very anxious dog. He is not sedated at all and his "normal" is the same on drugs and off. He can, however, be more normal in more contexts with the meds.

        If dementia is playing a role there are medications for that too. You may also look into giving a supplement like Focus Factor, after asking a vet of course.
        MelanieC * Canis soloensis


        • #5
          The front leg licking can be something unrelated to the paranoia/dementia/anxiety, etc. I've had and know several dogs where that was an allergy related behavior. You could try some benadryl to see if that helps with the licking, at least.


          • #6
            Yeah, it could be so many things.

            My GSD mix had some temporary damage to his sight and it made him extremely anxious. Licking, very afraid of noise, that sort of thing.

            After his vision improved, he stopped the behavior.

            Your vet would do a thorough exam, right? Including vision? Maybe the dog has trouble seeing - that would certainly be frightening.

            Just throwing stuff out for thought. Good luck.
            Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
            Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
            -Rudyard Kipling


            • #7
              It's true, the front legs might be allergies. A veterinary behaviorist is still a vet first and foremost, so one would be able to help you rule out alternative explanations like that.

              If the noise phobia is worsening it is worth it to look into treatment anyway. It normally escalates over time and is very common in Border Collies. Noise phobia is commonly related to other anxiety problems.
              MelanieC * Canis soloensis


              • #8
                I've got an aging coonhound (9.5, I think, but that's getting up there for a coonie) who is start to get some dementia, I think. He's going after the other dogs for no reason, seems to go out of his way to do it, and just isn't quite right. But he's still happy, healthy, eating, so I'm not too freaked out yet. I haven't taken him to the vet yet, waiting to see how he does the rest of the summer, but doggie Prozac may be the answer for him.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dalpal View Post
                  ... oldest is 8... She's always been afraid of storms...but in the past year this has escalated to just about any noise that mimics gunfire or thunder. Even if someone is hammering in the distance, she will cower and run for cover in the barn/won't come back out. If a dump truck makes a loud noise, she takes off.... Now she has started a new thing in the past week...obessevily licking her front legs....I'm worried she's going to chew a hot spot.
                  It sounds so familiar. My dog - also a collie mix - developed a thunder/fireworks phobia and skin allergies (and a delicate stomach) around age 7-9. For the first few years we had her (adopted her around 9 months old) she didn't really mind thunder or loud noises, and she had zero allergies. Ate anything, and everything. Cast iron stomach, skin was fine. Then she got stomach problems. Then noise phobia. Then a hot spot that went from an itchy spot to an actual wound in about 3 hours. Happily, these are all just maintenance issues. Expensive maintenance issues, true, but not life-threatening.

                  From what I've learned since, allergies and phobias are both notorious for hitting adult dogs (and people) who didn't have them in youth or early adulthood. I think you have to eliminate possible physical causes before exploring possible behavioral/mental causes. Prozac won't work if the dog's allergic to pollen.


                  • Original Poster

                    We're in Raleigh, NC.

                    I can rule out vision....this dog can spot a squirrel in the middle of the woods about 1/2 a mile away. Well, maybe she has super sensitive hearing, thus making the phobia????

                    If anyone knows of any good behavior vets in the area, let me know.


                    • #11
                      Odd Dog Behavior

                      My GS/Husky mix is 9 years old and has some of the same strange behavior. For a week she would Not go outside without help and once outside she'd constantly be looking up and sticking close to the buildings. At first I figured she got in an agruement with Turkey Vultures or hawks over some poochie perfume. I'm now convinced that UFO's tried to take her since she growls and barks at planes. Getting her out on a cloudy day is difficult and on clear days the sight of a planes exhaust is enough to send her under a bush.


                      • #12
                        My Border Collie became senile as he aged. We treated him like a senior. We read his body language...if his eyes where bright and he was happy we would interact. We live near the lake so many big electrical storms roll in. After the first clap of thunder he would gently jump on my lap and curl up for security. This is a medium sized dog. If he was sleeping on the couch and was woken abruptly by a noise he would wake up a different dog. We would leave him alone and had him on ignore. We let him decide when he wanted to socialize with us. It was difficult seeing him act in an aggressive manner at times for no reason. I had to keep telling myself he still loved me but on his terms. I'd let him come to me. He passed in February at the age of 16. He was a great dog! I did discuss things with my vet yearly and he said it is common. He was dealing with the same thing with his dog. He didn't suggest medication.


                        • #13
                          I could write a book about my akita...her fear as she aged became destructive...destroyed the entire interior of 4 vehicles...yeah, you'd think I would learn. Some were destroyed within 15 minutes.

                          Anyhow, my dog vet kind of just thought I was exaggerating, the horse vet saw the damage and asked if I wanted to put her down. Fianally, I got online, and found zanax(alprozoloam) and prozac were the recommended meds. I had another vet recommend kava kava, but my response was this is serious.
                          So....the dog vet finally gave me elavil...which made things horrible, she got so jumpy and everything was a fear.

                          I was out of my mind, many friends telling me put her down(I didn't get into what she did to the house), and I just could not.
                          The animal behavorist at the local shelter told me I was a horrible leader, and to do the whole separate protocol so highly recommended, ie don't make a scene, leave for a few minutes, come back, again don't make a scene...I know you dog has noise issues, and so did my akita amongst a few other things like separation.

                          Long story, but finally someone recommended an phd animal behaviorist, so off we went to tufts...and honestly, I had no hope. We saw Dr. Dodman and Dr. Niwako Ogata, and I will tell you, my life, the dog's life has been changed.

                          First off, he told me to forget all those other idiotic advise, and to make a big deal when I leave, etc. I also was given medication...elavil he told me just amped her anxiety, and he started us on zoloff(I should have take it too!LOL), and I the alprazoloam/zanax. That was ok, but she seemed groggy, so then he put her on buscoprine, which was fabulous!. She was on it for about 2 years, and I finally took her off. I did give her zanax when I would leave, or a bad storm, fireworks, etc.

                          She is not on anything anymore, mostly because she is almost 14 and well, just too old to destroy things or now mostly deaf that she doesn't hear. But, I also think her patterns of fear were altered, and although she still worries when she hears fireworks, it isn't the running off or if in the vehicle or house...destroying it.

                          I spent 2 years trying to get this dog help. I no longer use that dog vet...he refused to even fill Dr. Dodman's prescriptions and thought I was some kind of junkie, or at least made me feel that way.

                          So, if no results...keep looking elsewhere. The buscoprine is a drug to reduce anxiety, and honestly I think it worked. I did not try the clrormiprazole the other common drug for dogs because she was older, and Dr. Dodman felt that worked better on younger dogs with training. With older dogs, he felt there was some dementia involved, and not as much a training issue but a real mental condition.

                          Good luck, sorry about my book, but it took me 2 years to find help, and 2 years of meds and now my girl is aging and will die when its her time physically, rather than putting her down because of her fears, and the destruction they caused. I understand some people need to make that decision, but I knew it wasn't her, but her response to life circumstances and amplifying her worries. (my mom died who she was very close to, and the destruction started within a month, prior to that she was fearful, but not destructive...don't know if that was a natural progression or a response to the loss of my mom).

                          Best to you.
                          save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                          • #14
                            Dalpal, go to PhD clinical animal behaviorists. I know UGA has a good one, and that lists all the docs who are animal shrinks...I would tend to avoid lay animal behaviorists for a few reasons. Unless they work with your vet, you can't get meds, and sometimes training works, but sometimes meds are needed.
                            save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                            • #15
                              i had a lab with the front paw licking......it was a form of OCD, and anxieity based........
                              she would like her paws as a comfort, the same way a kid will thumb-suck.........BUT, the constant licking made raw spots and terrible infections.........her foot would swell to the size of a softball, and still , she would lick.....called granular lick syndrome

                              the endorphins released from the pain caused by the licking made her feel good, so she would lck it again.....getting her endorphine "high" , but also causing more tissue damage....

                              she was on a couple of meds til we found one that worked...the first one made her insane..she chewed through doors and stuff, looked like we had an alligator living here..

                              it's like dealing with non-verbal special needs kids.....the body language is ssoooo important....and the stressors need to be addressed, if possible, not just the behaviors

                              good luck, it's a tough one


                              • #16
                                Right, you need to work with a certified veterinary behaviorist, or a veterinarian who is working with one (there are some vets who function very well in the vet behavior role but are not certified yet). These clinicians will sometimes hold PhDs but all will hold DVMs/VMDs. There are excellent behaviorists out there with PhDs, but they cannot prescribe meds.

                                Two DACVB-certified vets in NC, one in Cary and the other in Greensboro:


                                It isn't clear what causes noise phobia (I spent three years studying this: www.k9behavioralgenetics.com) but it is fairly common in herding breeds and nearly always becomes worse, not better, over time. Dogs (and people) with phobias, unlike normal conditioned fears, tend to become sensitized by exposure rather than desensitized. To properly desensitize a dog (or a person) to problem stimuli, you need to present those stimuli below threshold level (i.e., at a level low enough so that the full-blown fear response does not occur) and with phobias, usually such a low level of the stimulus is necessary to cause the fear response that it is basically impossible to present it at an acceptable level. Thus, you end up with dogs who will not go outside if it is very humid during thunder season, or dogs that totally flip out at the sound of a firecracker many miles away.

                                It is true, some vets will think you are raiding your dog's stash. But most enlightened vets, and especially those who have more recently graduated from vet school, will have at least some knowledge of appropriate behavioral meds for anxiety-related behaviors in dogs.
                                MelanieC * Canis soloensis


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by caper View Post
                                  I did discuss things with my vet yearly and he said it is common. He was dealing with the same thing with his dog. He didn't suggest medication.
                                  Just because something is common doesn't mean you don't treat it. I would want someone to take me to the Dr. if I started acting strangely or odd when I got older. Some vets don't want to get involved or bother with tx. Shame.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by chaltagor View Post
                                    Just because something is common doesn't mean you don't treat it. I would want someone to take me to the Dr. if I started acting strangely or odd when I got older. Some vets don't want to get involved or bother with tx. Shame.
                                    Well my dog was seen and visited by my vet yearly. My large animal vet also works with smalls too. He vaccinated barn cats, dog and horses for me. He didn't feel at the time that meds were necessary BUT if things changed it was an option.

                                    My dog didn't really suffer from anxiety so much as getting spaced out and kind of moody like many senior folk. We just gave him his space and didn't crowd him. He came to us when he craved attention and loving.

                                    You know like the saying 'let sleeping dogs lie'. He lead a very happy and very long life.


                                    • #19
                                      Our Aussie is afraid of thunder, gunfire, fireworks and anything that makes
                                      a bang except the TV. He was like that when we got him at age two. Our
                                      border collie was terrified of fireworks and gunfire but storms were okay. Our
                                      lab/aussie is afraid of thunderstorms--fireworks and gunfire okay. Plus she won't stay in her bed against an outside wall during a thunderstorm--she moves to the throw rug in the bathroom. Go figure...


                                      • #20
                                        Get a complete thyroid panel done to rule out thyroid issues (very common in dogs)
                                        -scroll down on the linked page until you get to the thyroid testing

                                        It's often cheaper to go through Hemopet than have your local vet lab run thyroid tests, especially as most do not test enough parametres & many dogs go undiagnosed: you can listen to Jean Dodds on Animal Talk

                                        Anti-anxiety meds should only be considered after the physical has been ruled out - sometimes you need to start the meds inorder to even examine the physical but your dog does not sound as if she's in this category

                                        Obsessive licking is often due to allergies (even if she has been on the same food for years, allergies can develop/flare up) , examine the webbing between her toes for redness, also her ear canals: common allergies in dogs are chicken & grains, so switching her to a grain free, lamb or bison or elk or venison for at least 2-3 months is frequently cheaper than allergy testing (depending where you live). You do have to make sure that she does not have any treats etc that are not also free of suspected allergens (much harder than controlling the actual food).

                                        Past programs "Talk" page - very worthwhile to listen to Dr Dodds Vaccination & Rabies Challenge programs as well