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Fear Aggressive Grieving Dog?


Guest barnabybella
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Guest barnabybella

Hi, I lost my greyhound two months ago tomorrow and I asking for advice on how to help my surviving lurcher. (They were both rescues and have only been kept as pets.) They were together almost 8 years and I had him first for about 6 months.

 

He has had fear aggression problems all his life and has never been good with other dogs or people in the house. He is approximately 10. When my greyhound was put to sleep, he seemed fine for about two weeks and has gone downhill ever since. In the car he barks at everything, even stationary vehicles. (He has always barked at dogs, but not people.) He is beside himself with fear, ears flat against his head. If I try and black the windows out he is worse. On walks he is nervous, but not as aggressive. If he is left alone, whether it is 20 minutes or 2 hours he barks, even with bones, the tv on etc. I have tried to build up the time he is left, but it is as if he forgets he has ever been on his own every time you leave him. At the moment he is being looked after while I'm at work, but this can only be short term.

 

This is the first time I have experienced grief with an animal. Are there any tips you can offer? (Taking him to the vets is not feasible as he gets so stressed.)

 

Thank you in advance.

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I hope someone comes along here that has specific canine experience to help you, hon. Meanwhile, I'll suggest that you may need to persuade a vet to come to you if it's not feasible to take the dog to the vet. It sounds like he needs to be screened for medical problems. And if there isn't an underlying physical problem, he will probably need some medicine to calm him to the point where any behavioral intervention can even be attempted. Good luck! You've come to a good place in Greytalk.

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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You may be able to discuss this with your vet over the phone or in office without the dog present. It's possible your vet might want to try prescribing anxiety meds short-term to help this pup. If bloodwork is needed, perhaps the vet would consider a house call or recommending another vet who will do them.

 

My heart goes out to you, because this sounds like a very difficult and stressful situation.

 

I'm wondering if this dog did get along with the dog who has passed on? I honestly don't know if trying to introduce a new dog to him would help or not, given his current level of fear. It could be just plain dangerous.

 

Is there any time at all when this pup seems happy and relaxed now? You may be able to build on these times/activities somehow, but you'll need someone with more know-how than I have. A behaviorist?

Edited by SusanP
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Does he have any dog friends, and is there any possibility of you getting another? I'm wondering if he simply misses the presence of a more confident buddy to protect him from the big bad world.

 

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 Swifthounds

Does he have any dog friends, and is there any possibility of you getting another? I'm wondering if he simply misses the presence of a more confident buddy to protect him from the big bad world.

 

:nod That was my thought as well.

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Does he have any dog friends, and is there any possibility of you getting another? I'm wondering if he simply misses the presence of a more confident buddy to protect him from the big bad world.

 

:nod That was my thought as well.

:nod If he did get along with your greyhound (and I am so sorry he had to leave), it sounds to me that your lurcher took his confidence from your grey and now he is alone and floundering. Is there a buddy who could come in and keep him company?

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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Your dog doesn't sound aggressive, he sounds afraid and anxious. A lot of aggression is overcompensation for fear and lack of confidence. His expression of separation anxiety is a classic. He has just lost the one thing in his life that he trusted and doesn't have the skills to cope by himself.

 

He needs to be seen b y a vet to rule out any medical problem. Then you need to decide on a course of action that will give him confidence and help both of you cope better. Locate a competent animal behaviorist. This person can help you with training and any medical intervention that might be needed.

 

You can try melatonin, rescue remedy and other over the counter remedies in the meantime. Search the forum here for anxiety and thunder storm phobia as many suggestions will be similar.

 

Good luck.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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I'm sorry for your loss and for your current situation. Could you possibly call your vet and explain what is happening with your lurcher and maybe they could give you something to calm him down enough to get him there to check him out?

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I'm with Greysmom - he sounds alone and nervous and totally lacking in confidence. He's gone to pieces, poor guy. :(

 

You could try going around the rescues/adoption agencies to see if you could find someone he likes. Many greyhounds and lurchers need a companion for confidence and now he's alone he could be more forthcoming. My Renie ... well, it wasn't a confidence/fear issue she had after losing her companion, it was kind of the other way round. She was the bossy leader in our house, and when we lost Jim she stopped grumbling at other dogs because she had no-one to protect on our walks (she'd get between us and any loose dog and fend them off, snapping at their tails with her front teeth if necessary). After we lost him, she simply ignored them all until we got Jack, then she became our Defender again.

 

You may well find that your boy will accept a new dog in the house as a companion, providing he gets to pick one, even though he wouldn't tolerate anyone when his companion was still there. See if anyone locally is willing to let you take him in so you can introduce a greyhound who seems suitable - maybe a low key female? - and see if he will accept them.

 

Meanwhile, try plugging in a 'Comfort Zone' DAP diffuser. Sometimes it can really help in these situations. It can work like magic, or you may notice no effect at all, but it won't hurt.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Guest barnabybella

Hi thanks for all your replies, I decided to post on here after reading other posts and glad that I did. My greyhound was the dominant one, so I think you are all right that he used her for his confidence. I did take him to a behaviourist years ago when he first starting showing aggression, that is how I know it was fear based and not a dominance type. I also give him resuce remedy, I've never heard of melatonin so I will check that out (I'm in the UK so I don't know if your are a bit more advanced over there).

As for another dog, I don't know. When I found out my greyhound was ill I decided not to get another. I'm sure all of you you unlucky enough to have lost an animal know how guilty you feel just thinking about it. If it is the only way to help him though, it is something I'll have to consider.

He did except my greyhound straight away when she came but they have had their ups and downs, she did bully him sometimes which I think made him worse. Yet if they were away from each other they both couldn't stand it.

Silverfish, you said that many lurchers and greyhounds need companions (don't know how to quote text sorry), could his breed be part of the reason why he has separation issues? I've always seen him as a dog that likes to be on his own but perhaps that's where I've been going wrong?

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I also give him resuce remedy, I've never heard of melatonin so I will check that out (I'm in the UK so I don't know if your are a bit more advanced over there).

 

Not so much more advanced as different rules, I believe. There are some things the US people use which we aren't allowed to buy - many seem to have a stock of antibiotics on hand and simply decide to start their dogs on them without vet consults, but as you probably know, it simply isn't possible here.

 

I think you can buy melatonin in health food stores, but you need to check what other ingredients it has in it, because there are some things hounds can't take, like xylitol for example, which is found in many human foods, but it's toxic to dogs in quite small amounts.

 

As for another dog, I don't know. When I found out my greyhound was ill I decided not to get another. I'm sure all of you you unlucky enough to have lost an animal know how guilty you feel just thinking about it. If it is the only way to help him though, it is something I'll have to consider.

 

Yep, I know exactly how you feel. We have lost four now, and each one is painful. One was okay-ish, because he died peacefully in his bed at thirteen and a half, but the others were traumatic. In all those cases it was either the last day or nearly the last day when we knew exactly what was wrong, so of course there are 'what ifs'. Kills you, doesn't it? :(

 

He did except my greyhound straight away when she came but they have had their ups and downs, she did bully him sometimes which I think made him worse. Yet if they were away from each other they both couldn't stand it.

 

Sounds like a fairly normal dog relationship to me. :lol Some get on like a house on fire, some barely seem to tolerate each other, and yet they do grieve when they lose their companion, and it's hard to watch.

 

 

Silverfish, you said that many lurchers and greyhounds need companions (don't know how to quote text sorry), could his breed be part of the reason why he has separation issues? I've always seen him as a dog that likes to be on his own but perhaps that's where I've been going wrong?

 

It does seem that greyhounds and lurchers (and maybe other sighthounds too) do better with a companion. Maybe it's that they've been bred to work in pairs for so long, I don't know, but they do.

 

Some are quite happy as only dogs, but from your boy's behaviour, it would seem that he isn't one of them. He might be quite fussy about who he lives with, but I'd put money on the fact that if you find him the right companion, he'll settle within a few days. He sounds lost. Now, you could try doing the 'strong leader' thing to try to fill that role yourself, and to an extent it can work quite well, but there are times when you're going to need him to be in the house alone and it might even make it worse if you go that route, because while you're there he can lean on your strength, but when you're missing, he'd be lost all over again.

 

And 'strong leader' in this case doesn't really mean 'boot camp leader', but behaving in a way which gives him the confidence that you can take care of things for the 'pack' and he doesn't need to worry. You see, while most dogs are opportunists within a pack, always looking to be upwardly mobile, there are plenty of dogs who simply aren't cut out for it. Without a leader to feel safe with, they get neurotic, and you get either misplaced aggression, or soiling/chewing type inappropriate behaviours - or both.

 

Dogs will break your heart in the end, because we do love them so much and they simply don't live as long as we do. However ... it's just my opinion, but if you can afford and can handle a second dog, I would seriously consider looking for a companion for him.

GTAvatar-2015_zpsb0oqcimj.jpg

The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Guest barnabybella

Thanks Silverfish. What you are saying about doing the strong leader bit seems to be true, he is okay when I'm with him but pathetic when I'm not. And, although there are times when he has tried to be higher in the pack, he soon realised he couldn't make it as top dog.

Edited by barnabybella
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It can be hard to say one way or another if an anxious or fearful dog prefers to be on their own. They can shut down so completely that they exhibit really no emotional attachment or involvement with anything or anyone. This detachment from life is their only coping mechanism. I would say that most do better with a companion (obviously there are exceptions but I don't think your boy is one).

 

Melatonin is a natural supplement that can be bought at health food stores here in the States. Rescue Remedy is good but is often not strong enough. If you don't feel that adding another grey is feasible, you may want to discuss a stronger prescription anti-anxiety medication (clopiramine, prozac, etc.,.) with your vet.

Edited by greysmom

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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I've not gone hru a loss of a dog when I've had two yet, but I can speak to the fear/floundering issue. My Brin is fairly skittish and looks to my Zola for leadership. When Zola is not there or not willing, Brin looks to me. For me, being a strong leader for her is showing that no matter what scary things are going on (fireworks, thunderstorm, etc), everything is ok. It's not that I won't give her a cuddle as need be, or hold her when shes trembling, but I will insist after a whle that we walk about the house together or even just stay in the same room and I will talk to her (in a normal voice, about my days, the news, whatever).

 

This approach seems to work with Brin now although I suspect that if lose Zola first, Brin will need another grey in the house.

Missing Zola, my hero and my heart; and Brin, my baby dog, my wisp of love.

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Guest pichick712

My heart breaks for you and your dog. I can't imagine the grief your dog is going through. I have had dogs lose their partners but never had them experience anything like this. Please keep us posted. Wish I could offer some good advice.

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Guest barnabybella

I don't think it would be fair to get another dog at the moment. Apart from the logistics of the situation, I don't think the guilt of getting another dog so soon would allow me to bond properly with another one. So another dog is the last resort, especially as my family (who look after him when I'm at work) have made it very clear that they would not support me with another one.

Has anyone had any luck with herbs like valerian or skullcap, just to take the edge of the anxiety?

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  • 1 month later...
Guest barnabybella

Hi everyone, just an update on my situation for those that asked. My boy is getting very sligthtly better in the car. I got him some skullcap, but he stopped eating dog food (although he mysteriously had an appetite for human food and treats!) so having to hold off that for a while. It is one step forward and one step back at home and I have been trying to build up the time he is left alone. One day he hardly barks, the next he doesn't stop, so

just carrying on. He won't go near other dogs yet. All in all, we are still trying, hoping time will help. Thanks for all your support and suggestions.

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