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Thread: Major setback - feeling a bit discouraged

  1. #1

    Default Major setback - feeling a bit discouraged

    Hi all - I've been struggling with the dogs again the last few days. Two of them have isolation distress and had a big problem with house soiling and barking. With a diet change, anxiety wraps, classical music, rescue remedy and changing my routine I have got rid of the house soiling issue and the Brutus' behavioural problems (teeth chattering, attacking doors, biting and pulling my clothes when I leave etc). The other dog, Belle was doing great (barking a max of 5 minutes per hour) except for the last two times I left her. In the space of 5-6 hours on Saturday and today, she barked for 2 and 3 hours respectively. That's nearly half the time. I don't know how she did it.

    After all the work and time and money I have put into training aids and programs (at least $300+) I feel like giving up but I won't. It seems like she has worked out my new routine, figured out her new toys and is just the same as she was - stands there barking at nothing. I keep her inside with the air con on a timer to cool the house for a few hours in the hottest part of the day. All the dogs get over an hours' walk in the morning including about 15 mins in the dog park. When I am out they are visibly tired and they are middle aged toy dogs so if anything they are being over exercised. I guess I am not really looking for any suggestions - I feel like there is nothing left except to keep trying the training program. It's just very frustrating that it's pretty random whether she barks or not so leaving for half an hour or so and coming back is a bit hit and miss - maybe she'll sleep and not notice I'm gone (left her for about 5 hours last Thurs, only 6 mins barking, 25 mins on Fri when left for 7 hours, then all of a sudden it's back to 2-3 hours per day for no reason).

    The only possibility is that Belle is not anxious, just a high maintenance little cow. But then - I don't spoil her at home and she is usually obedient. I considered a bark collar but I am concerned that if she is anxious that will make it worse and that would be another $200 down the drain. She's 8 years old, why can't she just sleep :S Still, Brutus was really suffering alot and now he seems much better.

    Thanks for listening to my vent.

  2. #2
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    have you tried some prescription medication? It's not a cure all but in some instances can help the dog during the retraining process. Have you ever had Belle tested for neurological/eye problems?

  3. #3
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    Could they be picking up on your stress with the situation?

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  4. #4
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    No advice, but just wanted to say that I sympathise. I know how much effort you have put into trying to fix these issues. I am hoping that it is just momentary relapse...
    Last edited by Beloz; 04-11-2012 at 05:39 PM.

  5. #5
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    Have you tried crate training? Her own den with limited views out might be re-assuring to her.

  6. #6

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    Thanks!

    Nekhbet: I haven't tried prescription drugs for a few years - had her on clomicalm for a while which helped a bit I think but ultimately didn't produce any long term change. I'm not confident it's neurological because she seems to have all her marbles and doesn't act up as much if I am home. She doesn't fit the criteria for separation anxiety (barking is the only symptom) but I wonder if she feels more stressed when alone because she is the top dog. I do think even if I had no other dogs she would still act this way though.

    Di_dee1: I think she did today - I was worried about leaving today because she was so naughty on Saturday. She is very perceptive of my moods. I have a cardiac condition and she rests her paw or head on my chest and wants to stay near me if I am having a bout of heart failure or atrial fib - she looks really worried when this happens and totally freaks when she sees an ambulance.

    Beloz: Thanks - I hope so too!

    Hyacinth: Not exactly - there is a crate but she prefers to stand on top of it barking! - but she is attached to certain dog beds/ chairs in the home. If she goes to sleep before I leave, she seems to have a better day than if she's picking at food toys when I leave. When she's sleeping, this occupies her longer than if she's picking at a toy. She's pretty smart and usually figures it out in 20 mins and then it's like she doesn't know what to do so she barks. She loves my office so I will be cleaning it out and trying her in there!

  7. #7
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    all i have got to say is, that it is great to see someone that is really trying and not just throwing in the towel and sending them to the pound.
    a lot of people would have and it is good to see a responsible owner that is persisting.

    well done, i take my hat off to you. Don't loose heart.
    "He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion" Author Unknown

  8. #8
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    I was worried about leaving today because she was so naughty on Saturday. She is very perceptive of my moods. I have a cardiac condition and she rests her paw or head on my chest and wants to stay near me if I am having a bout of heart failure or atrial fib - she looks really worried when this happens and totally freaks when she sees an ambulance.

    This could be part of the reason.....I am not making an excuse for your dog, but dogs that "protect" their owners , like diabetic and epileptic warning dogs are very intuitive and protective and attentive to their owners.
    This might be some of the reason. I have done some training with some of those and they are never separated from their owners, they are service dog and always there. This might be due to the fact she is self-trained. Obviously you have been taken away whilst she was left behind

    thinking of you, I know you are trying hard, stick with it........
    Pets are forever

  9. #9

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    Nope - it's not a phase - had an early morning meeting and a medical appt today - there wasn't enough time to come home in between unfortunately - came home to another 3.5 hours barking. I can't understand how they were progressing really well and snapped overnight. I am wondering whether it's not an anxiety issue anymore, and the barking is just a bad habit? I don't know whether medication would really help - is there one that works on barking? Or is it possible to just get a mild sedative to use on days when you have to be out? I can't drive so sometimes I am held up when I go out because of train delays etc. It also takes me an hour each way to get almost anywhere - thinking of going back to the vet but I don't think they'll be able to tell me anything besides keep trying...

  10. #10
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    There are behaviourists that might be able to help.......That will cost some.

    Sometimes lots of basic Obedience can help too..nothing to do with what they are doing, but it sets a new relationship between you and the dogs. Often people who go to the classes i do in just basic Obedience tell me how different their dogs are at home after a few weeks. This means lots of daily short sessions. It is a Leadership thing........the dog figures out what is happening and how things work. I think that dogs enjoy some things to do and I have found most love the time they get with their owners doing obedience......training of any kind really, be it agility, flyball, water training or whatever
    Pets are forever

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