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*UPDATE* Older farm dog not adjusting well - how to help him?

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  • *UPDATE* Older farm dog not adjusting well - how to help him?

    My husband and I bought a farm with my parents a year and a half ago. In addition to merging the human families into one property with this move, the animals had to adjust as well. We brought our 10 year old spayed yellow lab (Hoser) into the mix, they brought their 8 year old neutered golden retriever (Midas). He and Hoser have always been great friends as "cousins". Midas was raised with my folks on a country property without horses, but he was very happy there with his own house/people/pond. Hoser has done pretty well with the move, other than eating copious amounts of apples and pears from the orchard and pooping a lot as a consequence. Midas, on the other hand, has gotten a bit neurotic. He is a very sweet dog, but can be jealous of other dogs and even people getting attention. He is cool with the horses now, which took a while, but he acts very needy with people. He has begun scratching, which appears to be psychosomatic as he has been treated, shampooed, examined, etc. The vet did a full blood panel on him earlier in the year that showed he is mildly hypothyroid, so he is on medication for that. My parents take impeccable care of him - he was their baby before grandkids, and really want to help him adjust better. Just noticed today he scratched one of his elbows raw. He'll go in to the vet this week, but in the meantime can anybody share ideas about helping this old guy?
    Last edited by hoser1; Jan. 23, 2009, 07:03 PM.
    Second Fiddle Farm

  • #2
    The poor puppy might be allergic to something. My previous Min. Schnauzer licked her paws and I thought it was just a habit, then I tried a different type of dog biscuit and the licking went away immediately. I believe she was allergic to the milkbone ingredients, and the other brand that had totally different ingredients stopped the itchy paws. I'm not sure allergies will showup in a blood panel, but ask the vet. And if the dog gets baths make sure all of the soap is washed out-a little soap left behind will itch like crazy. If you have a self-dog wash nearby you can take him there and rinse him very thoroughly. It's very easy to leave a little soap behind on a big, hairy dog like a Golden.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White

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    • #3
      Midas, on the other hand, has gotten a bit neurotic. He is a very sweet dog, but can be jealous of other dogs and even people getting attention. He is cool with the horses now, which took a while, but he acts very needy with people.
      Unless he's bothered by something physical, it sounds like he's insecure and unsure of his place in the pack, what with the merging of the two families - jealousy is a ticking time bomb, it sounds like he needs some pretty strong leadership to tell him what to do, where he fits, and who's in charge. Pay careful attention to the interaction between him and your dog, there may be subtle body language clues that tell you he feels intimidated or insecure. They might have been good "cousins", but that's a whole different ballgame when you actually have to live together.

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      • #4
        Could it be because the pecking order that he knew and loved has shifted, and he's not sure where he stands?

        I've seen similar traits in some Golden Retriever bloodlines - slight jealousy and anxiety.

        I don't really have a solution, except perhaps to make it very clear to him exactly where he stands in the new pecking order, eg if he's at the bottom, all of you make sure you treat him the same way consistently, which may mean virtually ignoring him .

        I could be totally wrong - no doubt the dog experts will chime in with more useful suggestions - these are just my initial thoughts!

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by AiryFairy View Post
          They might have been good "cousins", but that's a whole different ballgame when you actually have to live together.
          Exactly. Hoser is actually a very passive dog and Midas has always been the dominant one over her. In this setting though, Hoser is very confident. She grew up around horses, is used to the farm dymamics and feels great in this setting (aside from the apples and horse poop that must be rumbling around in her stomach most of the time!) Don't know enough about doggy psychology to know how this would make him "feel" or how it would change his pack order, but I definitely can tell he is out of sorts.
          Second Fiddle Farm

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          • #6
            has the dog gone from being an inside to an outside dog?

            did the food change?

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Not sure about the food, will have to ask. I know they used to feed him Purina One but the vet up here told them she thought it was awful and they switched to something better - but that was a while ago.

              His in/out schedule hasn't changed but allergens in the environment could have since my parents lived 3 hours south of here previously.
              Second Fiddle Farm

              Comment


              • #8
                My 10 year old yellow Lab has grass allergies which lead to chewing and skin issues. He recently had to have a go round with steroids just like a person with severe poison ivy. Yellow, golden, blonde dogs, according to my vet, can be more allergic to farm life especially as they age. Shampoos and food and treats can also trigger allergic responses. Good luck!
                Anne
                -------
                "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by hoser1 View Post
                  Exactly. Hoser is actually a very passive dog and Midas has always been the dominant one over her. In this setting though, Hoser is very confident. She grew up around horses, is used to the farm dymamics and feels great in this setting (aside from the apples and horse poop that must be rumbling around in her stomach most of the time!) Don't know enough about doggy psychology to know how this would make him "feel" or how it would change his pack order, but I definitely can tell he is out of sorts.
                  The neediness is him constantly needing reassurance about his "place", he's unsure of the pack order now, his little 'pack of three' (assuming it was your parents and Midas) is now different and there are two more people and a farting dog in his "space". I'd bet money on the dynamic of the family being his problem. Don't envy you with the eating habits of Hoser, LOL. That could get REAL messy...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sometimes wheat and soy allergies manifest this way. If you can, try him on a wheat and soy free diet for a week or so and see if it helps. It will not hurt.
                    Others have good advice on the behavioral aspect. I would just call Cesar Milan (the dog whisperer!)
                    Good luck!
                    Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Hey guys, thanks for all the advice. And yes, life with Hoser can be a little messy! I just got some more info. Midas has been a little anxious since we moved in, but apparently this scratching himself raw started when we had a neighbor's wild and annoying younger male golden retriever (neutered I think) making regular visits. Midas HATES him and actually got into a fight with him the other day. We try to chase him off but he doesn't care. I just feel so bad for the old guy - his sense of security must be so screwed up.
                      Second Fiddle Farm

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                      • #12
                        how about a bach flower remedy- most commonly known for Rescue Remedy- but there are others and I know there is one for this I just can't think of it:

                        http://www.herbalremedies.com/bacflowremfo.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My older now gone dog developed allergies when I moved into town. Vet said that often allergies come as the dogs get older, so not sure if her itching had to do with our new place or her age. We successfully alleviated the symptoms by putting her on a lamb/rice diet. No wheat, corn, soy...Now my daughters 2 year old KC Cavalier has major itching. I purchased a great homeopathic blend for dry skin/itch. A few drops in the water and her symptoms subsided. Darn, I don't know the name. If they call me with it I'll post it.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Midas saw the vet today. He has mange Good news is that the itching was not
                            "all in his head", bad news is that Hoser has to be treated, too. Seems like the old dogs have been keeping some bad company behind our backs....
                            Second Fiddle Farm

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hoser1 View Post
                              Midas saw the vet today. He has mange Good news is that the itching was not
                              "all in his head", bad news is that Hoser has to be treated, too. Seems like the old dogs have been keeping some bad company behind our backs....

                              What kind of mange, sarcoptic or demodectic?

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                I believe sarcoptic. They are treating him with Ivermectin as well as something else that has to be squeezed into the back of his throat. Hoser has to take that too, so I guess I better find out what it is! My dad took Midas in; I didn't get all the details from him. What's the difference between the two types of mange?
                                Second Fiddle Farm

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by hoser1 View Post
                                  I believe sarcoptic. They are treating him with Ivermectin as well as something else that has to be squeezed into the back of his throat. Hoser has to take that too, so I guess I better find out what it is! My dad took Midas in; I didn't get all the details from him. What's the difference between the two types of mange?
                                  Sarcoptic is very infectious and people can get it also, although is more dog specific.
                                  Demodectic would me more because a dog has a less than properly functioning immune system and other dogs would not be so apt to have problems with those mites, unless they too are not the healthiest around.

                                  It sounds like you have sarcoptic, if your other dog may also be infected.
                                  Our vet generally calls us in to look under the microscope when he finds something like that in some skin scrapings.

                                  Guess that now that you have a diagnosis and treatment, at least you are ahead and it will run it's course.
                                  Before ivermectins, those mites were very pesky to treat.
                                  Do many remember the sulfur baths and monthly Mitaban dips, until they had two consecutive clean scrapings?

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