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Sa And Showing Teeth


Guest brandi007
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Guest brandi007

Hi All!

 

I adopted a dog out to a fantastic adopter October 2009, he's a first time adopter and has been working incredibly hard with his dog.

 

Gaston has Separation Anxiety and shows it by barking and destroying things. Whenever said adopter leaves his condo Gaston barks and barks and barks. We've curbed this a bit by doing the "ignore dog when leaving" and "ignore dog when getting home" thing, he's also done the leave for a minute, come back home, leave for 2 minutes come back home...etc thing. This has I guess decreased the length of time that Gaston barks but hasn't stopped it yet.

 

Currently Gaston is crated when the adopter leaves the house - he's not a huge fan of being in the crate but the adopter has done his best to make it a good place. He feeds Gaston in the crate and Gaston sleeps in it at night with the door open.

 

Gaston has to be in the crate as when left outside of it he destroys things. The adopter tried locking him in his bedroom and came home to eaten clothes, destroyed blinds and broken nick-knacks.

 

Any suggestions on what to do next that I can pass on would help. We've tried DAP and some other natural calmers and they don't work very well.

 

The other problem is Gaston bares his teeth at the adopter every time he tries to put the muzzle on. He's never snapped at the adopter but understandably the adopter is feeling a little hurt by this. He's never used his hands or really yelled at Gaston as punishment but wants to know what he can do. I've suggested making putting the muzzle on a happy thing...like we do with pee pee. Just lots of "ohhhh who's a good boy" and treats and all that. If anyone has some solid ideas I could pass on I would love too hear them.

 

I've suggested getting a 2nd dog to curb the SA but understandably he's a little hesitant due to Gaston's 'issues' and how hard they've been to work through.

 

This man loves his dog but I really want to help things go smoother for him...

 

PS: The muzzle is put on in the crate because he eats the crate door when it's not.....

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#1 - Locking in the bedroom isn't a good test of "non-crate" behavior. Many (tho not all) dogs hate to be behind a closed door and will react accordingly, even if they don't have SA. So, might be worth trying pupper out of the crate but in an area such as dogproofed living room, with doors to *other* rooms shut or baby gated.

 

#2 - To make the muzzle a great thing, smear the inside with peanutbutter, liverwurst, cream cheese, cheezwhiz, etc.

 

#3 - Is he sure the dog is bearing his teeth in a "leave me alone" way, or could the dog be doing an appeasement smile?

 

Hugs and best luck.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest brandi007

Thanks Batmom - Definitely great info to pass along, you rock!

 

I don't think he's comfortable leaving him un-supervised in his condo due to the destruction he came home too in the bedroom - I know I'd be hesitant too. I'll see if he has a space he's okay trying it out in though.

 

The muzzle suggestions rock and I'm also curious as to whether it's a warning or an appeasement smile...I know Gaston is a smiler as he did it when I was fostering him....Gaston is an extremely submissive guy, very sweet guy but really really submissive.

 

I know when he was at my house every time I'd approach him he'd submission roll and smile at me which is nuts as I'm like 5'2" and always approached slow and calmly. I ended up carrying him a lot of places :P

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Guest Annie

From what you've written, it does sound like an appeasement smile. Canyon does them and they do intimidate people that don't understand their meaning. ;)

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If he's hesitant to adopt another because of the SA issues, maybe just having a hound "visitor" for a few days so he can see if his pup is better with another dog in the house would be an option. Sort of a "short term foster" so to speak. If it fixes his dog he has his answer.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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I don't think he's comfortable leaving him un-supervised in his condo due to the destruction he came home too in the bedroom - I know I'd be hesitant too. I'll see if he has a space he's okay trying it out in though.

 

 

It would be better if the owner could start the alone training over again in whatever room Gaston seems comfortable in.

 

Jenn

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I was thinking appeasment smile, or something similar with the muzzle. My Henley has VERY sensitive whiskers. When they are touched, he curls his lip. He is not snarling, or even really smiling. But he does show his teeth, and if one did not understand, it could look like a threat. Maybe that's all it is?

 

As for the SA, maybe looking into drugs is in order. We used amitriptyline (Brand name Elavil) with a foster with very good success. As he settles in, the drug can be weaned down, and eventually out. (Just stay away from acepromezine, if the vet suggests it! Clomipramine (brand name Clomicalm)is another good one, though.)

Sarah, the human, Henley, and Armani the Borzoi boys, and Brubeck the Deerhound.
Always in our hearts, Gunnar, Naples the Greyhounds, Cooper and Manero, the Borzoi, and King-kitty, at the Rainbow Bridge.

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Guest brandi007

Thanks sooooooooo much everyone!

 

I was so scared to recommend that he was smiling when he might not of been. I saved a whole bunch of photos of greyhounds doing their biggest smiles and explained that unless Gaston was accompanying his teeth showing with other warning body language and sounds that it was more than likely he was smiling at his owner and not warning him.

 

Gaston's owner wrote back and was rather happy that his beloved little wuss-man dog was in fact showing affection and submission rather than signs of being uncomfortable and sending out warnings!!

 

He finished his email with:

 

That's most helpful! Thanks for the reference photos - here I thought

a smile would look more like panting. A little scary at first, but I'm

sure I'll get used to it!

 

Thanks so much again everyone, you're life savers!

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Guest twhitehouse

Well if he really is just smiling when he puts the muzzle on, that will make things MUCH easier. He needs to start alone training again. Leave him out of the crate, but muzzle him so the destruction won't happen. Sometimes crating can make anxiety worse, especially if he's not already the biggest fan. Does he leave a radio or TV on when he leaves? If not, then I would recommend that as well.

 

I also recommend he get "I'll Be Home Soon" by Patricia McConnell. It's a great resource, especially for a first time adopter dealing with SA.

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Guest Giselle

This is actually a *fantastic* opportunity to help the adopter learn body language!

 

As he now knows, it's not all in the mouth or teeth! Next time he's worried if it's aggression or appeasement, advise him to look beyond the face (a task particularly hard for us humans, I know!) and look at the way his dog is holding his body. Is it relaxed or tensed? Held forward or backwards? Is he hunched over? Is his head cringing back or hanging low, relaxed? Are his eyes soft or hard? There are so many other signs than just the teeth and mouth; this would be a great opportunity for the adopter to familiarize himself with body signals! (Turid Rugaas's photographic guide might be a nice, easy reference)

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This sounds so much like our Sobe when we first adopted him. Except for the teeth-muzzle thing. Unfortunately - Sobe couldn't be crated - he ripped the door off a wire crate, and luckily only had a broken canine tooth to show for it. Maybe muzzing in the crate would've been an option, we just didn't think of that one. Even if we had - his anxiety was so high, that it would've just been more of an inescapable hell for him.

 

We did EVERTHING. Every method I could find. It didn't work. And - we made the same mistakes. DH shut Sobe in our bedroom one day - the result was destroyed door casings - destroyed carpet - and destroyed door knob. Our mistake. But - you try everything.

 

I hate to say it - but Sobe only got to be ok when we started fostering greyhounds. I KNOW your adopter doesn't want another grey (who could blame them!). But maybe suggest fostering. Perhaps with a dog that is known to be calm, and easy-going. Not for your adopter to KEEP - just to help transition the dog. Once we brought a foster into our house, Sobe was a different dog. He was OK being home when we were at work. We kept fosters for a couple years straight, but honestly, after the first couple, he got settled and would be ok by himself.

 

For a racing grey - being ALONE - Is TERRIFYING. They need to do something drastically different - or you'll get that grey back as a bounce. And we've lost a potential great adopter - since they're working so hard - they MUST CARE. Not their fault. Not the dog's fault. Get them a foster. Quick. It saved MY Sobe....who turned out to be the BEST DOG EVER. Make sure it's an EASY FOSTER.

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Guest brandi007

This is actually a *fantastic* opportunity to help the adopter learn body language!

 

I totally agree Giselle, I was asking like 500 questions about body language and if there is a growl accompanying the teeth baring. I was just so worried that I was going to think it was a smile, recommend something and then it turn out that Gaston is actually sending signals and my advice would lead to a bite. If he was closer (he's a 3 hr drive away) I would of just went to his house and observed what was going on but I was going based purely on email descriptions.

 

This is what really made me think it's truly a smile :)

 

Thanks for all the info - no sound is made when I'm attaching his muzzle and Gaston

hasn't made any sudden or tense reaction to suggest he's warning me.

In fact, he usually rests his head against the side of the crate,

wanting a belly rub at that moment.

 

I feel like such a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders - I think things are going to be fine. Above is a huge reason I encourage adopters to contact me about anything (which I in turn contact you guys about...haha). It's so nice to have a great resource, especially when you think you're doing something wrong.

 

Thanks again everyone!!!

 

PS: Thanks to Hannah for teaching me all about body language too....all though her teeth baring isn't a smile but actual warnings she's taught me a lot about body language and I love her dearly (despite the snarl face...)

Edited by brandi007
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