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Sudden Change In Behavior


Guest mopar31898
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Guest mopar31898

We have a three year old male greyhound named Paxton. We have had him for about 11 months. He is our first greyhound. When we got him, he took a little time to warm up to us but he eventually fit the "typical greyhound" mold perfectly. He was sweet, relatively confident, obedient, etc.

 

As summer started and we got thunderstorms we found out he was scared of thunder. He would go to the front room of the apartment or the bathroom where he could not hear the noise anymore. Eventually he would relax and everything would be fine once he settled down. This thunder fear has now evolved to being scared anytime it is raining. Our theory is that he associates thunder with rain and therefore is afraid it is going to thunder. Still not that big of a deal as we have some doggy sedatives and as the weather passes so does the fear.

 

Over the fourth of July, we did find out he was scared of fireworks. As with the thunder, we did let it run it course and he was eventually back to his normal self.

 

In the past month or so, he has gotten almost paranoid to the point that any loud noise he may hear alerts him. His head will pop up and he will listen intently as if he is waiting for the worst; thunder, fireworks, etc. Usually this passes but it is hit or miss.

 

Just within the last week or two he has devolved to the point of being scared of almost everything. He used to want to be around us, so wherever we were, he would lay on his bed in that room. Now he only want to lay in the corner in the bedroom, and if we let him, he will go on the hard floor in the bathroom and lay. Sometimes he is even shaking when he does this. When we go out on walks, he will do alright at first, but then he almost gets distracted by something he hears and will not move. (He has not always been the best walker, but not like this). After getting him to break from whatever he is fixated on, it is very hard to get him back to our apartment. It usually takes coaxing, treats, etc. Once we get off the elevator and in the hallway, he does not want to walk to the end of the hallway and the door of our apartment. As we get closer, it is more of a struggle to get him inside. It has gotten to the point that it will take us 15 minutes to get from the elevator to our door and inside. Once we are inside, he runs right to the places I mentioned before. On top of that, he has not been wanting to eat consistently. For a dog that used to sprint the second his food box was opened and stare at you will you added the yogurt to his food, we now have to coax him to eat. He used to lick his bowl clean and now leaves a little food; and sometimes skips a meal. (We did find that he will eat on our balcony ok, but we don't want to make that a habit.) Basically, we are convinced he is scared of something in our apartment all the sudden but we have no clue what it is.

 

Today we took him to his favorite dog park. He was nothing but excited the entire way there and had a blast at the park. When we got home, he ate his breakfast and licked the bowl clean. He then slept most of the day which is normal when he runs hard. Then, we went to take him on his afternoon walk and he was paranoid the entire time and we had to coax him back to our apartment. Since we got home, he has been pacing the apartment, trying to find somewhere he feels "safe."

 

This is our new normal for the last few weeks. We are seriously concerned about our pup and have no idea what to do. We are worried that if this is his new normal, he may get worse.

 

What are we doing wrong? Is it possible for him to be scared of our apartment? What can we do right now and in the long term?

 

Any info you can provide would be great.

 

Thanks

 

 

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Sometimes when they get this way, they can work their way out of it given time and patience. Sometimes they need a little help. Sometimes they need a lot of help.

 

You said you have "doggy sedatives." Please clarify the drug and the dosage. It may be that he needs a short course of these anti anxiety drugs (if that's what they are) given every day, along with some counter conditioning, to get him back to "normal."

 

You can also try natural alternatives - DAP collar for him and a DAP diffuser for your home; l-theanine available from your vet (packaged for pets) or in the natural supplements section of a well stocked grocery store (make sure there are no ingredients bad for dogs like fake sugars); there are several versions of calming chews/treats out there; Rescue Remedy (pet version without alcohol). And others. You can do a search here for anti anxiety, anxiousness, nervousness, thunder phobia/thunder phobic here for some other ideas.

 

You can also try these:

https://smile.amazon.com/Ovation-Pomms-Equestrian-Earplugs/dp/B00D46J9TA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473033860&sr=8-1&keywords=pomms+horse+ear+plugs

Pomms Equestrian Earplugs

They are made for show horses that are distracted by sounds in the show ring, but they could also work in situations of a sound phobia in dogs. My vet suggested these for out spook, but she passed away before I could try them. Cut one horse-size plug in half for an average greyhound, I would say.

https://smile.amazon.com/Ovation-Pomms-Equestrian-Earplugs/dp/B00D46J9TA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473033860&sr=8-1&keywords=pomms+horse+ear+plugs

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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The trouble with some sedatives is that they seem to calm the dog down but eventually the poor thing is just to drowsy to express his fears and is trapped with them inside his uncooperative body. This makes a scary situation even more scarier.

Sorry for butchering the english language. I try to keep the mistakes to a minimum.

 

Nadine with Paddy (Zippy Mullane), Saoirse (Lizzie Be Nice), Abu (Cillowen Abu) and bridge angels Colin (Dessies Hero) and Andy (Riot Officer).

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I'm sorry you're having to deal with this. I've been there myself recently. My Lila is not new, I've had her for 6 years, but after a bad spell of road construction, thunder storms, then fireworks, she became a bit of a recluse. Just like your guy, after all of that even the smallest noise would send her to her hide out and she was hesitant to even eat. She is content and calm in her hideout however. Because of that, the only treatment I've used is time and patience and a bit of tough love. I did give in to her desire to eat off a paper plate in the living room because eating is important, but other than that when she was hiding out I left her alone. Treats and snuggles were only delivered outside of her hideout. I'm lucky that she's got impeccable potty habits so I knew she would go out when she needed to. If I asked and she didn't get up, I didn't force her. It's meant some middle of the night turn outs, but struggling to make her go out when she didn't want to didn't gain us anything. It took at least a month until I had my normal dog back.


If he's got periods of happiness and calm, I'd probably wait it out. If he doesn't want to walk, just go out for potties and then back in. Extra yummies in Lila's bowl got her eating out of it again. Lots of praise when he is doing good! But if he is never able to relax, it's probably time for a vet visit to make sure nothing else is going on or a short term medication to help him get over it.


Good luck! I know how hard it is to see your happy, loving dog disappear.

Lila Football
Jerilyn, missing Lila (Good Looking), new Mistress to Wiki (PJ Wicked).
 
 

 

 

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The trouble with some sedatives is that they seem to calm the dog down but eventually the poor thing is just to drowsy to express his fears and is trapped with them inside his uncooperative body. This makes a scary situation even more scarier.

 

This would be true if you were using an actual sedative like acepromazine, but the right anti anxiety medication is NOT a sedative. It's a drug that changes the chemistry in the brain from one that keeps them afraid to one that allows them to be calm and learn new behaviors. Medication is just a tool to help treat a problem. There should be no stigma attached when used properly. Mental health, whether for people or for our companion pets, is important, and anxiety can be as damaging physically to a body as an injury. Leaving a dog in an anxious state when you have the ability to help them should not be tolerated. In my opinion.

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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Guest mopar31898

All, thanks for the help.

 

Paxton is going to the vet tomorrow to rule out any sort of physical issues.

 

The sedative we have is Alprazolam. We only use it when we know there is a storm coming, fireworks, etc.

 

We just got a diffuser and put it in the living room that he is most hesitant to spend time in. As of now, it does not seem to have too much effect.

 

We have been trying to encourage him when he is in the living room and leaving him be when he is in his "hideout" in the other room. We are hoping that the positive encouragement will show him there is nothing to be scared of.

 

The struggle we have been having is that we don't really have trouble taking him out for potty time, it is getting him back in. The closer we get to the apartment, the more and more it takes. The last two days he has begun a new behavior that is very hard to address. When we get off the elevator on our floor he takes a lot of encouragement, but now, when we get about 50 feet from our door, he lays down. We can not get him up and when we try, he growls at us. It is a growl like a dog that is scared and doesn't want to be moved. The only way we have found to get him up is to slowly slide a blanket under is body and slowly lift him until he stands on his own.

 

It seems to us that there is something seriously scaring him in the apartment. He will jump up every time some one goes on the balcony and hang out there just to get out of the apartment. It was suggested to us by a friend that some dogs fear thunderstorms because of the build up of static electricity in the air. Our friend said that there may be a possibility of an electronic device putting off some sort of static electricity in the apartment. Has anyone ran into this before?

 

Thanks again.

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Alprazolam is the generic form of Xanax, which is a benzodiazapine anti anxiety medication for humans. Use in animals is off label (meaning not approved by the FDA) though it is quite common. It's a quick-acting med, which is one reason why it's helpful for thunder, fireworks and the like. It *can* be used for generalized anxiety though there are much better choices such as Trazadone out there if you want to try a longer acting drug.

 

It's quite possible that static build up is causing him to be anxious. If that's the case, a Thunder Shirt or Storm Defender Cape may help him as both have anti static properties. You can also run a humidifier in your apartment and spray around some anti static laundry spray.

 

You need to try and not let him slow down enough to lay down when you get close to your lobby. Use treats if he'll take them - really yummy, really smelly treats. Canned food will work, liverwurst, rotisserie chicken, deli meat, even canned cat food might help to keep him distracted. If he's interested in squeaky toys you can use those. Anything he *loves* to keep him moving. In the event that he does get down you may want to walk him in a harness you can use to pick him up. Something like the RuffWear Webmaster harness that's specifically made for lifting. If he's growling at you make sure you muzzle him in case he snaps.

 

If you have some disposable income, see if your group can recommend a local, positive reinforcement only, veterinary behaviorist in your area. This link may help you locate one in your area: http://iaabc.org/consultants An in-home consult will probably be benficial at this point, since none of us can see the environment your dog is in at home.

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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