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Thread: Seeking Some Assistance from My Fellow Dog-Forum-ers

  1. #1
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    Default Seeking Some Assistance from My Fellow Dog-Forum-ers

    Let me just preface this by advising that this ituation is not about Rosie - I don't know this dog at all, and I have no background as to what led up to this current situation, BUT, I am sure that someone here may have something useful to contribute to this situation...

    A friend of my younger step-daughter owns a young adult choc lab, who, as a youngster, bit their tail relentlessly.

    The behaviour stopped for a while, but then resumed, and ended yesterday with the end of the dog's tail having to be removed. The doglet in question is very unhappy and no doubt very traumatised by what has happened.

    I am at a loss to provide any useful advice, let alone not knowing even anything half-decent to offer in terms of support other than "how awful"... can my fellow doglet carers offer any advice? Ideas?

    I am going to send the link to this thread to my SD, who can send it to the doglet owner, and hopefully they will join in to provide some background and ongoing info so that their doglet can receive 11/10 dogforum support and encouragement going forward.

    >>>>

    Mods, please feel free to move this thread to wherever you feel is most appropriate - it could be diet, it could be behaviour, it could be situational/emotional - or all of the above... so I thought it best to start in "general" and see where it leads.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    A professional behaviourist is needed and quickly.

    The behaviour is normally stress related. I had a rescue Pug in the that was the same. He bit the tip of his tail till it was red raw, hairless and bleeding. He was easily exctied, highly anxious and I needed preofessional help to get him through it.
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

  3. #3

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    Oh no poor pupper!!

    Sorry can't offer any advice other than maybe a mild psychological issue, maybe the tail was hurting.....very strange. Hope he/she is ok.

  4. #4

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    My first question is what kind of advice are the owners looking for?

    I think with more information about the situation there is bound to be someone around with something useful for it.

  5. #5
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    So I take it that the choc lab bit at its own tail until it needed to be amputated by a vet?

    ACD have a tendancy to develop compulsive spinning, where they chase their own tail for fun or stress relief - and my puppy would bite hers if she caught it. I checked her tail for injury - it had a few kinks in it but she didn't twitch or express any kind of pain when I felt up the tail.

    I stopped her from doing the tail chasing every time and any time I saw it. Often it would happen when I first came home - so without greeting her, I'd bump into her gently so she would stop or fall over and stop. And then I'd pat her after she stopped, but mostly I'd just wait for her to go to the toilet and not greet her until after that.

    The main thing was - without yelling at her or laughing at her - I'd stop her from spinning because I was worried it would get compulsive. So she doesn't do it now unless there is something wrong with her tail.

    It's a bit too late for the lab - but I would not let it do any kind of obsessive behaviour. And I'd make sure it was getting plenty of exercise for its mind and body, to encourage it to sleep when I was out.

    Post op - the vet should advise, but I'd expect no strenous exercise for at least two weeks or until after the stitches are out. In the mean time they probably need to crate it, when they're not supervising it or walking it on lead, and to give it loads of trick training ie exercising its brain.

    I hope these dog owners find themselves a dog training club - and take their dog there to learn more about how to keep its mind healthy and occupied. Hopefully the vet can do a check up for any physical problems (eg in the brain), that might have caused the compulsion. And it may be that if exercise and training doesn't sort it that the dog will also need medication. A vet behaviourist - someone who knows about learning science and operant and classical conditioning for training an animal - should also be able to help if there is nothing physically wrong. The regular vet should be able to recommend someone. And as always - the question "what would you do if it was your dog now" can get advice they wouldn't otherwise give. Ie some vets won't want to tell owners what they don't want to hear unless expressly asked. And you can't get mad at the vet for telling you their truth. It is sad the owners let the tail get to the point of amputation, I don't know if they did anything to prevent.

    I know my brother's staffy spent some time in a crate because she would wag her tail so hard against furniture, the tip would bleed. It happens, it's messy and you need to move the dog so it can't harm itself.

    I'm assuming this lab is in Melbourne - so you'd use dogs vic to look up a dog club in the sport of your choice. You can start with obedience - ie when the dog has a solid stay and recall, then you can look at other fun things for labs - like retrieving.

    Dogs Vic - source of all good dog things in Melbourne
    click on "get involved" then "activities" then anything that takes your interest
    Home Page: Welcome to DogsVictoria

    what happens if you don't train the dog
    http://www.dogstardaily.com/video-cc.../field_video_0

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  6. #6

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    My mum has a dog that chews her feet until they bleed.
    They have tried behaviorists, changing diets, putting deterrents on her feet and using an e-collar... nothing worked.
    Hers began about 4 years ago when she was bitten on the foot by a wasp, she has just continued to do it long after it healed.
    It's almost like she goes into a trance while she is chewing, we swear she actually can't hear.

    Unfortunately they still haven't found a solution short of physically going over and picking her up every time she starts doing it.

  7. #7
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    It's almost like she goes into a trance while she is chewing, we swear she actually can't hear.
    Yup. Obsessive Compulsive combined with classical conditioning (brought about by the original sting).

    The longer it continues the harder the habit is to break - the brain gets "wired" for it. And I'd have to agree that physical interuption might be the best way to stop the habit, but you'd have to do it every time not just sometimes. My fave "guru" says as far as a dog is concerned if it gets to do something "sometimes", it can do it "anytime" or all the time.

    CL - I take it this dog must live in an Elizabethan collar so she can't chew her feet?

  8. #8
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    Thank you everyone!

    I have sent through the link to this, so hopefully the owner can pop in and give some more info.

    Hy, I think you are spot on with your post... it's a shame there isn't a button for "More Than Thanks", because that's the button I'd like to hit!

    I'll keep adding info as it comes in... but thank you all for adding bits in!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    Yup. Obsessive Compulsive combined with classical conditioning (brought about by the original sting).

    The longer it continues the harder the habit is to break - the brain gets "wired" for it. And I'd have to agree that physical interuption might be the best way to stop the habit, but you'd have to do it every time not just sometimes. My fave "guru" says as far as a dog is concerned if it gets to do something "sometimes", it can do it "anytime" or all the time.

    CL - I take it this dog must live in an Elizabethan collar so she can't chew her feet?
    When they are home they just watch her and physically stop her doing it.
    When they go out they alternate between using an elizabethan collar or smothering her foot in dencorub (on the hair only, not the skin).

    If they use the dencorub for more than a few days at a time she gets used to it and ignores it and starts chewing again.

  10. #10
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    wow - what about alternating with vicks vapour rub? - different kind of smell. But barrier might be better. The chewing must not even start let alone have to be stopped.

    But several days of not chewing and then starts again. How long does it take to re-train a 4 year old habit. Susan Garrett (in Ruff Love) suggests at least a month maybe longer of correct behaviour with no lapses. It took one of her students 6 to 8 months to stop a habit of bolting (running away) that her dog had.

    I'm going to have to read up on brain plasticity - ie how long does it take for a new connection to be made and a very strong old one to be broken.

    that much obsession - I'm wondering if it's like missing limb syndrome that amputees sometimes feel - ie the limb they don't have still itches...

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