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 Recommended "Therapy"...

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Barczewska
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Female Join date : 2014-07-21
Location : Ottawa, Ontario

PostSubject: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:06 pm

Hey all,

So Sinatra had a relapse with his anxiety Sad He broke two crate trays in two days and cut his face on them. It is also starting to affect him even when we are home. I was pretty concerned as he didn't poo or pee for 16 hours, so I had my fiance take him to the vet yesterday. I expected that it was behavioural, but wanted to rule out any medical issues like a blockage or UTI.

The vet said he is physically fine, but recommended that we do a training course with him and have him see a behaviourist. I am all for the training course (its about training me as much as training him to deal with his issues), but we will have to have the trainer come to our house, as I feel Sinatra needs to feel that the house is a safe place as well as getting a deeper bond with us through the training.

As for the behaviourist....I am not sure how I feel about this. Has anyone used one before? Was it worth it? Or was it just extrapolating on things an experienced trainer can tell us?

We have found out that Sinatra was abused, most likely by a man. If Steve disciplines Sinatra or Kesler, Sinatra will cower and tremble and will not come near Steve for hours or days. Obviously this is what his anxiety stems from, and we are working on keeping the home as positive as possible. Luckily he is very well behaved. Kesler....not so much, so we need to work on how we are disciplining Kesler so that Sinatra doesn't get frightened.

The vet also gave us a D.A.P. collar. I put it on Sinatra last night and am hoping it will aid in his freakouts while in the crate. We shall see what we come home today...hopefully he didn't manage to escape his crate again or hurt himself while in there. Does anyone have any opinions about these collars?


Thank you!!
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blueeyedghost
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:55 pm

I'm not sure about shipping laws between the U.S. and Canada on this stuff, but you should look into Canna Companion. It's made from hemp plants that have been modified to produce high levels of cannabidiols and virtually no THC, so it's legal here in the States. I was giving it to Shadow and we saw quite a bit of improvement in her seizures, and I've heard of people having success with anxiety issues as well. There are some other similar products out there, and I know some international folks through my canine epilepsy circles who use this stuff. Good luck!

_________________
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"Being the parent of a special-needs pet means living your life constantly poised on the edge of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you become a fierce defender of the ways in which your little one is perfectly ordinary — all the things he or she can do that are just like what everybody else does. And yet, you never lose sight of how absolutely extraordinary that very ordinariness is, how difficult, remarkable and rewarding that fight to be 'just like everybody else' has been."  -Gwen Cooper, "Homer's Odyssey"

Shadow - 03/01/2013 - 10/02/2014

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Barczewska
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:25 pm

I will have to do some research on that. Thanks!

I have also been told that ThunderShirts can help as well. Not sure I trust that these will not be chewed to bits within 5 minutes of it being put on him.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:23 pm

Kiersten,

I'm so sorry that Sinatra is having such a rough time. I can not give you much advice, but lots of well wishes to you. I understand that the dap collar is for calming, so it's worth a try. I did have a semi feral cat who was just crazy when taking her to the vet and he gave us something similar as the dap for cats and it did not work, she still would bash herself in her crate.

In the meantime, while you are researching a trainer and/or behaviorist, some things you can work on, have your fiance work more with Sinatra, get him to build a stronger bond and trust with him. If it's safe and practical try and socialize Sinatra more with men. My girl is not a rescue, however, early puppy hood imprints on an adult dog. She was alone with the man building our house, although I know he never abused her, she has always been timid towards larger men. When I encounter men I ask that they kneel and let Miya sniff their hand in order for her to know they are ok to her. One of the most difficult things to teach my husband was to not yell, even if it is not directly related to Miya, just yelling in general makes Miya nervous(my theory my house builder yelled at his helper, and Miya took it as a bad thing), to this day Miya is much more at ease when hubby yells for no reason, but even just saying the F word and she will run to me, not necessarily cowering, but definitely on alert. So I have been working with hubby on his potty mouth, lol. It's a long process, and although my issue was way more mild than yours, it will take time and work. Good luck, Sinatra is so handsome!

Again I'm not much help, but I think taking in Sinatra to a loving home is awesome, and your avatar is just the bomb, love it!

Renee
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Barczewska
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:49 pm

Thanks for your kind words Renee!

It is a little disheartening to see him relapse, even just a little bit. He was doing so well. I know it will take patience and effort on our part...it is just hard sometimes to hear him crying and howling when I leave. I know it is not in his best interest to run back in and comfort him, it is just so hard to keep walking some days. The time where I am home and he is acting "off" are hard as well, but he has been through so much that I refuse to give up on him. He is such a sweet and gentle boy.

I find myself thinking all day about his safety, so I am hoping we can at least remedy the anxiety when he is in his crate sooner rather than later, so I am not worrying myself sick at work every day.


Thanks again for your words and your tips! I have to make sure Steve is on the same page and realizes that even small actions on his part can make a world of difference.
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seattlesibe
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:12 pm

In terms of working on things to help correct the problem in the future, leaving aside her past for a second, it's important to build her confidence and trust now and ongoing.  The easiest way to relax a dog and build a bond ongoing is walking , hiking, working together, exercising together, etc. The physical release of energy and anxiety will allow her to move forward more quickly and easily.

While it is important to love her and treat her sensitively,  doing so is still holding on the the past and allowing it to prohibit growth moving forward.

I hope that makes sense and not read as minimizing her past.

Part of allowing her to move forward from being a dog with a scarred past is helping her now to be a different dog , and that involves encouraging her to physically move forward and physically engaging with you two in a bonding,  stress free way.

They are far less psychologically sensitive than we are in terms of the past. Which is to say that given the proper encouragement now, we can steer them in a new direction easier. That is done best with dogs through physically engaging their drive to work and exercise.

Just some food for thought.

Best of luck with your beautiful husky.
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Barczewska
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:10 pm

Hey Jeff,

I definitely don't coddle him when it comes to his anxiety... I want him to be confident, especially when it comes to his crate issues as he hurts himself sometimes when he is in there (he was kept in crates for over 18 hours a day in his abusive past), and while he is playing with Kesler. So we do lots of training involving the crate and letting him realize it is a positive place (also not giving in to him when he is crying for attention by letting him out or giving him attention).

I generally exercise our dogs quite a bit, and we have over 1/2 acre of fenced in yard for them to tear around with each other. Unfortunately this last relapse has made him terrified to go in the yard or want to go for walks. I actually had my fiance take him to the vet yesterday for a check up to make sure that he was medically/physically fine.

Thanks for your perspective Smile It is appreciated!!!
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seattlesibe
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:05 pm

I was wondering if perhaps the relapse would make him fear exercise type of stuff.

Seems like a tough, complicated case beyond the realm of forum advice.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:14 pm

I really hope that I won't get criticized by this, but as far as the crate is concerned (omg, 18 hours a day, poor boy), if you and/or fiance wear cologne or perfume place a dab on his bedding, it will be your own scent that he is smelling, should be a comfort to him. If he is not a destroyer try placing a blanket partially on top of his crate so he has more of a cave feel to it. They are only suggestions, but it is worth a try.

Teach fiance to speak in a soft, steady tone of voice, it should promote a more calm reaction to what is requested of Sinatra. Lastly a great way to build trust and bonding is for your fiance to hand feed Sinatra, sit with him, doesn't have to be a whole meal, and have him talk to Sinatra while feeding by hand. Jeff gave some great examples of bonding through walking, hiking, working it indeed promotes moving past a troubled beginning.  Sometimes with a fearful dog, you must take extreme baby steps. I am no expert, I am merely trying to give some alternate ways to help Sinatra to get out of his shell. When going outside make it fun and exciting and play with the two, have them chase you and you chase them. Having Kesler, I'm hoping anyways, will give encouragement for Sinatra, with all 4 of you interacting with each other it may promote a more trusting environment to Sinatra.

Jeff I agree, this is beyond any of our forum advice, however, giving positive feedback to Kiersten, at least gives her the moral support that is needed, trying our suggestions until finding a trainer/behaviorist I'm hoping can at least help.
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Barczewska
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:29 pm

Thank you both!

It is good to have some support for sure and I really appreciate it Smile

And little tips always help. It could be a combination of 9 different things that works for him. I will just have to do a bit of trial and error and then be consistent when we find something that works.

I definitely will be having a trainer come to our home for a couple of sessions (like I said, to train us, as well as him) and will keep working at it. It will be a struggle, but he is worth it Smile
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Barczewska
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:30 pm

Will update how the DAP collar worked today as well
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seattlesibe
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:39 pm

@MiyasMomma wrote:
Jeff I agree, this is beyond any of our forum advice, however, giving positive feedback to Kiersten, at least gives her the moral support that is needed, trying our suggestions until finding a trainer/behaviorist I'm hoping can at least help.

Agreed. It's just with an issue so dynamic and so open to misunderstanding and interpretation, assessing it via online is nearly impossible. All we can offer is baby steps taken to address some symptoms of the problem, unfortunately, not the problem itself.
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Barczewska
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PostSubject: Re: Recommended "Therapy"...   Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:22 am

UPDATE:

Sinatra did manage to escape from his crate yesterday, but as usual, no destruction in their bedroom. Almost makes me wonder if he is just claustrophobic from being in the crate all the time in the past. He was more responsive to go on our evening walk and did all of his *Ahem* Business.

I also picked up a Thunder Shirt for him. Just did the recommended 10 minutes of wearing it in a non-stressful situation after feeding him a treat on it. He responded by calmly standing still for 5 minutes and then laying down. This weekend I will be putting it on him periodically and putting him in the crate to see how he does with that.

Also, a big positive, he started breathing very deeply and calmly when he was in his crate when he finished eating his dinner (he gets fed in his crate most of the time), rather than the frantic and shallow breathing he does when he is having an episode. Good signs all around so far.

Going to keep on working with him and hopefully the ratio of bad days to good days swings in a positive direction Smile
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