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Prozac, Anxiety, Building Self-Confidence, And Peeing


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Guest fenix916

We've had our boy awhile now, 6 months. During that he's regularly peed in the house BUT ONLY on weekdays after the dog walker comes. We can leave him home alone all day on the weekend and he won't pee. We thought this was separation anxiety or inadequate house training and have addressed it with some success. He's gone MANY no-pee streaks for weeks at a time, only to have it start back up again (hence we haven't tried medication yet--we'd do some behavior modification and the accidents would stop for three weeks straight before starting back up again).

 

Finally, we took the dog to a behaviorist who told us she doesn't our hound has separation anxiety per se. When he pees, he pees almost always ON things that are new or out of place (e.g., the mail, a new lamp, a radiator), which she said was more indicative of "anxious marking" or poor self confidence in the dog. She offered prozac, which we initially turned down and followed a training plan, which helped at first, but he's reverted to peeing again.

 

But we've started our boy in a greyhound-only obedience course and we're now convinced he needs to be medicated. While our boy likes walks with big groups of greyhounds he completely shuts down during class. He's immediately anxious in the training room and he spends a good deal of time hiding behind my legs. The 2 other dogs in the class are sweet and friendly. He seems to like the people there too, but when we try to run through a command with him he hides behind my legs or runs into a corner, lays down, and curls up in a ball. This past week our hound wouldn't even go over VERY simple obstacles by himself--he'd go over no problem if I was with him, but without me he just couldn't even handle it. We always assumed his anxiety was particular to us not being home, but the training class just freaks him. Even at home, he's now responding LESS to commends we try in class. We've never done any sort of negative reinforcement with him.

 

Anyone had a similar experience?

 

Those of you who have tried prozac, how long until you started seeing a result? Anyone used prozac with a marking/peeing hound?

 

Do you have any commands you'd recommend to build self confidence (especially easy ones)?

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Has unitary infection been ruled out? Sometimes they are difficult to diagnose. I would start by taking him to the vet. Iker had a similar problem. It was difficult to diagnose anything, but we put him on antibiotics because everything else was ruled out. The peeing stopped.

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Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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Guest fenix916

Yup, he got checked when we first got him and again a month ago. Vet says it's clean (the behaviorist is in the same practice as his regular vet).

 

 

Has unitary infection been ruled out? Sometimes they are difficult to diagnose. I would start by taking him to the vet. Iker had a similar problem. It was difficult to diagnose anything, but we put him on antibiotics because everything else was ruled out. The peeing stopped.

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Your post sounds like something I could have written. We have a 12 year old hound who we've had for 7 years now, and we've tried many different things with Clark. A little background - I adopted Clark from the humane society at which I was volunteering. He was one of 37 dogs rescued from a hoarding situation. Our understanding is that at one point, Clark was kept in the basement. Needless to say, socialization and potty training was and always has been an issue. Clark has made tremendous leaps and bounds and I have tried many different tactics to socialize Clark (one of which was an obedience class - Clark got "most improved).

 

Clark is on his second try at Prozac. It helps his overall demeanor, but not some of his anxiety issues. One thing it has helped is the urinating in the house. We have Clark's yearly vet appt. this Saturday and are going to discuss whether the addition of Xanax would help.

 

I wish you the best of luck and hope you find a solution to your hound's anxiety.

Melanie, Clark, Ringo, and Ricardo

(Missing Runner at The Bridge)

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Guest fenix916

Thank you ClarksMom! It's been heartening to hear we're not alone. This is our first grey, indeed our first dog as adults, and we assumed we were awful dog parents. But as we talked to the behaviorist, vet, and training we found we'd already tried or when in the process of doing many of the things they recommended.

 

Our boy raced for a long time and was moved around the country a couple of times. We're also his second family--the first one returned him after a few months. He's a sweet boy, but it seems like someone did a number on him. We've never been able to crate him (which would have been nice to know before we spent the money on a crate)--he panics the instant he's crated or confined to too small a space (the training room I don't think is about confinement, it's a pretty big room).

 

Anyway, he's great out on walks with other dogs. He's great at home in general, but it'd be just SUPER if we could cut down on the peeing. I love him, but I'm not always in the mood to wipe up pee in my work clothes after a long day.

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Guest fenix916

I believe they're a black textured rubber or plastic-y material. Black with raised black bumps for traction---the bumps are maybe the size of a pencil eraser?

 

 

What do the floors look like where you go for training?

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If it's a large echo-y space that can be loud and jarring, that may be part of the issue.

 

Prozac *can* help, and I'm sure the behaviorist talked about the possibility of it *not* helping. Sometimes you have to try several different drugs to find the one that helps your particular individual dog. We tried four different drugs - Clomicalm, prozac, alprazolam (xanax), and Paxil - before finally Trazadone did the trick.

 

Our girl did not have the pottying issues that your boy does, but she is a hard-core spook. Many people look at her and immediately jump to the conclusion that she was abused because she is anxious about everything. However, none of her history supports that. She may have indeed, been under-socialized as a puppy, as this is when they are the most impressionable and affected by the lack of exposure to new and different things, but she was never abused. She was a very good racer, too. No kennel is going to risk losing a dog that is making them money by treating them badly.

 

It's not out of the question your boy was abused; it's just very unlikely. Most spooks are that way due to genetics. If your boy is spooky, likely there are others of his litter that are the same way. Sometimes whole litters are shy/anxious dogs. Spookiness also crops up in certain breeding lines more often than in others. Sometimes it just shows up out of the blue.

 

I've recently been researching how the behavior of spooky dogs mimics that of austistic children, and if you consider that your boy is, in a way, disabled, it can help you in accepting and dealing with his problems. Our girl has trouble relating to individual people and dogs. She does not always respond to her name or even acknowledge that other beings exist in her world. She has several OCD fixations with objects and places. She engages in repetitive behaviors - usually licking, but there are others, and I'm thinking peeing might be one for your boy - which grow worse when she is under stress or particularly anxious.

 

The biggest thing that helps her is confidence building exercises, not necessarily obedience training, per se. Teaching her the "watch me" command, where she learned to look me straight in the eye was a huge break through for her. It's all about obtaining a level of trust where she feels safe. We have to maintain an extremely strict schedule - every day basically the same times for everything. We can leave the house, but the leaving routine must be strictly followed! If I need to change the furniture in the living room, or pack for a trip, or organize a bookshelf she can see, I have to put her where she can't see me do it.

 

She is only comfortable in her own, small little world, which can seem quite limiting. She will never be comfortable outside our own home. She can barely handle having strangers come over, and spends most of the time they are in our house hiding in her safe spot. We don't force her outside of where she feels safe unless we have to. But we are also constantly working on behavior modification. Those lessons need to be reinforced daily and/or weekly.

 

This is long. I apologize. But I hope some of it can be useful.

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

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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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as to the question about the flooring i have a remark. one of the schools that i did training at had excellent rubber matting for the floor....but for one reason or another the dogs were getting small static electric shocks. one of the trainers who i personally know informed me. most of the dogs did not react to the static electricity, but some did. i'm wondering if this can be true of your school's environment.

 

i would ask the instructor if you could sit this session out and just observe with you dog next to you. pet him, feed him, calm strokes and calm talking. after the semester is over try to actively participate- just ask for an adjustment in duration of classes. if the trainer is sincere than this should not be a problem. also try spraying a cloth or paper towel w/ static guard(great stuff for winter static) and a small wipe on his back or legs(not paws) and spray your own clothing(shoes?) in case it's static that he is feeling.

 

a structured regime and exercise- both mental stimulation and physical might help. with the urination, go know....my first greyhound who was an absolute doll had the bad habit of peeing when i was gone. that dog was so steady and stable, she just pissed either when she heard me pull up into the drive way or ??? we used a crate w/ no ill effects and no pee in the crate. every dog is different, every dog seems to have some quirks- just like people.

 

good luck, personally i would stay away from prozac as long as i could and maybe look for another school or have the trainer work w/ you one on one.

 

btw- of my 3 greyhounds and total of 8 dogs that i have owned and all enrolled in obedience training one totally shut down and hated classes. that's my current female annie. she would lie down and go to sleep in class, we always do downs and sits on a rug. she just did not have any interest and refused to work. that's her personality- but she trained well at home- go w/ the flow....that's what i did. she's fine...

Edited by cleptogrey
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If I understood your post--the dog does fine left alone all day on weekends, but when you have a dog walker come, he often pees?

 

So...to me the obvious answer is to stop having a dog walker come. I found with my George, the dog walker made it worse because he had to go through the "I'm being left now" routine TWICE instead of once.

 

I have cameras in my condo and can watch on my smart phone what is going on at home. My new dog is only 3, but he sleeps ALL DAY. Your dog may just do better if you "let sleeping dogs lie" and cancel the dog walker.

 

Worth a try, for a week, I'd say!

 

Good luck. I feel your pain. I had George for 7 years and had pee issues the entire time, on and off. Never really did figure it out, and spent a whole lot of money on the vet.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Thank you ClarksMom! It's been heartening to hear we're not alone. This is our first grey, indeed our first dog as adults, and we assumed we were awful dog parents. But as we talked to the behaviorist, vet, and training we found we'd already tried or when in the process of doing many of the things they recommended.

 

Our boy raced for a long time and was moved around the country a couple of times. We're also his second family--the first one returned him after a few months. He's a sweet boy, but it seems like someone did a number on him. We've never been able to crate him (which would have been nice to know before we spent the money on a crate)--he panics the instant he's crated or confined to too small a space (the training room I don't think is about confinement, it's a pretty big room).

 

Anyway, he's great out on walks with other dogs. He's great at home in general, but it'd be just SUPER if we could cut down on the peeing. I love him, but I'm not always in the mood to wipe up pee in my work clothes after a long day.

 

fenix916 - you are definitely not alone here. Please keep updating this post so we know how he's doing.

 

Clark wasn't crate trained either, but does OK confined to one room. And get some belly bands and line them with feminine pads. They will become your new best friend! Clark is also rain and thunder-phobic and shakes uncontrollably any time it is raining within a 30 mile radius of our house. This is the reason I am going to ask the vet about giving him Xanex for these specific times. He exhausts himself with the uncontrollable shaking, usually after seeking refuge in the bathtub!

 

Good luck!

Melanie, Clark, Ringo, and Ricardo

(Missing Runner at The Bridge)

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I hear you. I have an AKC greyhound who puts on a lot of bravado, but is a lot like your boy. He is extremely insecure and does not do well with change. I joke sometimes that he's the equivalent of a human autistic person. He thrives in *his* environment on *his* schedule. As soon as anything changes, though, he completely falls apart. Years ago, I remember walking him past a Chinese restaurant with two big lion statues in front. He refused to walk past, then actually sunk down on his belly and tried to back away. When we finally got past, he kept looking back for another 20 minutes, as if the lions were just lying in wait, ready to pop out around every corner to go after him. That's just one example. Little things, like walking a new route or changing to a new vehicle have caused him to have full on meltdowns.

 

Some dogs do thrive with obedience and desensitization training. They turn into new, confident dogs and everything improve. Others are just quirky, and will never be great about the stuff that scares them. Unfortunately, our experience has been the latter, and it wasn't for a lack of trying. Truman completed eight obedience classes over the course of three years, and although he did learn to communicate better with me, his core issues are still the same. Some were made worse by me consistently trying to reinforce interactions, and him having negative experiences that further traumatized him. I don't want to say we gave up on him, but we eventually just stopped forcing certain issues. We let go of what we thought was 'the ideal dog' and what he'd be like if he was 'fixed.' Instead, we learned to accept him and manage his life in a way that causes him the least amount of anxiety.

 

Easier said than done, though. Truman has a lot of sweet, funny, endearing things about his personality that make up for his weird behavior ten times over. But sometimes it is very frustrating to deal with these issues, and I admit to wishing that he was just a 'normal' dog. But if you love your pup, and you're committed to making it work, you can learn to live with the anxiety. It helps to have a lot of patience and a sense of humor. :)

 

 

P.S. As a side note, my boy takes 40mg Prozac. I don't feel bad or guilty or like a failure for resorting to meds. I'm all for anything that will help him be more like himself. We initially started it because of compulsive licking and grooming. It was maybe three weeks before we saw an improvement in that aspect. Everything else... the jumpiness, aggressive episodes, issues with being touched, and wariness of other dogs... those were less noticeable. He had slight improvements, only after he'd been on meds for 3-4 months. Even then, it was less of, 'Wow! What a dramatic difference!' and more of a, 'This situation would've been much worse had he not been on meds.'

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A couple of things you might find help which I did with Brandi. Vitamin B1, 100mg. This is used in racers who run their race in the box. Building up B1 in the system helps calm them. Be careful, because too much can cause excessive urination. Rescue Remedy in breakfast. Lavender essential oil on the base of the neck and armpits. (RIP Lazer. You're still helping us over here!) I use all three as well as lots of exercise on days I'm at work and the combination has dramatically helped Brandi's anxiety.

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How many classes have you been to? If only a few and you wanted to keep going, my advice would be to give absolutely no commands at all for the next 3 class sessions. Just give treats, GREAT ones, such as freeze-dried or gently sautéed chicken livers; cheddar cheese cubes; hot dog slices.

 

If you've been to more than a few classes or don't feel the love for trying again there, you might see if anyone in your area offers nosework classes. Beginning nosework is nothing but earning treats. No commands, no required behaviors, nothing. Just wander around (one dog at a time) and get food.

 

It's possible the dog walker is interrupting a good nap and that he doesn't empty fully when taken out. Then, since he's awake and alert, he has to go. You could try asking the dog walker to make sure he pees at least 3 times before dog walker leaves again, or as someone else mentioned, try doing without the dog walker altogether.

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 fenix916

If I understood your post--the dog does fine left alone all day on weekends, but when you have a dog walker come, he often pees?

 

So...to me the obvious answer is to stop having a dog walker come. I found with my George, the dog walker made it worse because he had to go through the "I'm being left now" routine TWICE instead of once.

You're preaching to the choir about the dog walker, but I can't convince my better half. We also really need to get an external mail box to keep the mailman off our front porch.

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Guest fenix916

 

 

P.S. As a side note, my boy takes 40mg Prozac. I don't feel bad or guilty or like a failure for resorting to meds. I'm all for anything that will help him be more like himself. We initially started it because of compulsive licking and grooming. It was maybe three weeks before we saw an improvement in that aspect. Everything else... the jumpiness, aggressive episodes, issues with being touched, and wariness of other dogs... those were less noticeable. He had slight improvements, only after he'd been on meds for 3-4 months. Even then, it was less of, 'Wow! What a dramatic difference!' and more of a, 'This situation would've been much worse had he not been on meds.'

 

Thank you! We felt much better about putting him on meds after seeing him in the obedience class with recent adoptees. He's just so much more anxious than the other dogs, and it made it clear that his anxiety isn't limited to just separation anxiety. Like I said, he's great on group walks outside, and he loves to visit my parents (who love him right back), but we're realizing in some situations he really gets stressed. Even at home, he's hit or miss on training. We're just trying to help him feel calmer so we can have more productive training with him, then maybe we'd stop meds, but if he needs them, he needs them.

 

I don't mean to bad mouth him--he's a pretty great dog. We just want him to be happy (and also to maybe pee a little less often).

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Reckon I'd just stop the 'training' except for absolutely vital things and let him relax and gain some confidence in familiar and happy situations. Doesn't sound like he's ready for classes of any sort at the moment and your putting pressure on him is just making things worse. He needs to gain confidence in you and trying to make him do things which obvious upset him, won't achieve that. Why does he have to have all this training anyway. If you just praise him every time he does something good that you want him to do, in the normal course of his day, you'll be surprised how quickly he learns all sorts of useful things. JMHO

Sue from England

 

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