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Very anxious st Bernard

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Clareeee1300, Feb 12, 2019 at 7:46 PM.

  1. Clareeee1300

    Clareeee1300 New Member Registered

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    Hi all!
    Was wandering if anyone had any advice. I have a 16 mth old st bernard male who is so anxious and fearful of my husband for no reason at all. This all started at around 16 weeks old when he tried to put him on a puppy pad whilst trying to toilet train and since then hes so wary of hubby. Weve paid £700 for a vet beahviourist in which doing what they told us made his anxiety worse, he proceeded to be sick multiple times a day and had loose stools.
    When we updated them all they kept saying was take videos of the reasons he was anxious. Well, unless we wore 24/7 bodycams you could never explain his behaviour as its so sporadic its like he is bipolar. He loves him and then out of nowhere will start peeing, pooping and has even gone for him.
    He is so dependant of me, even though my hubby would feed him, walk him, give him all the good things in life nothing made a difference. Ive lost so much time off work due to this ive now had to go self employed so im there when he has a flare up.
    Our vet has now prescibed him prozac which hes been on 3 weeks and apart from sleeping an awful lot, not really seeing much of an improvement.
    Does anyone have any suggestions or been through a similar thing who could advise? We love this boy so much but we are on our last hurdle, we dont want him to be unhappy so unless we can get through it we will have to rehome him. Hes such a sensitive dog who we will try anything to keep him happy. Many thanks!
     
  2. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    How difficult for all of you:( What was he like before the puppy pad incident? Did he show any signs of veing oversensitive before that?

    Can I ask what the vet behaviourist suggested, and anything else you have tried? How much does your husband interact with him, and in what ways? Are there any particular triggers, like if he tries to stroke the dog, or try to put his lead on?

    I do feel you could do with a good behaviourist, but obviously one who has a different approach to the one you've already tried - they vary enormously, from the wonderful to the terrible.
     
  3. Clareeee1300

    Clareeee1300 New Member Registered

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    Hi judy! Thanks for your reply! The behaviourist agreed he was a very anxious dog and gave us some good advice on allowing 'drainage' such as lots of sniffing and chewing toys which does help to a very small extent and we still do this. She advised when he comes to us just to give a small tickle on chin/cjest then leave him but this made him a whe lot worse. He is a very affectinate dog who loves lots of fuss and not doing this made him worry. Hubby has spent all day everyday with him as he has just had spinal surgery but he is so needy of me and wont leave my side. The dog is absoloutley fine with all other males, everyone except my hubby. Will go ftom wagging his tail saying hello to hubby kissing then suddenly head down, tail dowm and scurry off to his bed Nd constantly watch his every move. Its breaking all our hearts hes such a majestic dog and dont understand this. We had him at 12 weeks and was always quite a doscile puppy but after this incident he now just is very fearful of hubby even though all hubby does is praise when good, gives him so much love and gives him all the good things but nothing makes a difference!
     
  4. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Did your behaviourist suggest that your husband completely ignore the dog? That would be a normal course of action - no speaking, no eye contact, no touching. This will allow the dog to see he is not being coerced into unwanted contact and in theory that should build his confidence that he won't be put into a position he can't cope with. Eventually (and we are talking weeks, not days) your husband could drop, not throw or toss, some tiny pieces of chicken or frankfurter sausage on the floor. That would help your dog build positive associations with your husband. Again, still no eye or physical content.

    If - not when - your dog approaches your husband (and accept this may never happen) your husband should use the five second rule. This means he strokes the dog for five seconds then stops. If the dog initiates further contact with a nudge or similar, he can stroke for another five seconds then stop again. This can continue only as long as your dog continues to ask for contact. Again it builds your dog's confidence by giving him control as he learns he can stop it at any time.

    You could also try an Adaptil product. It comes in a spray (for blankets etc., not for directly on to the dog), a collar and a diffuser. It replicates the hormone a bitch has after having puppies and has a calming effect on dogs.

    Please speak to your behaviourist about these suggestions before using them.
     
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  5. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    I wonder if something happened that hurt him in the puppy pad incident - like a bit of his hair getting caught on hubby's watchstrap, or... something... It only takes one fairly minor negative incident to affect some sensitive dogs for life. Just a thought - has he had any checks to make sure he hasn't got any ongoing pain or discomfort? The easiest way can be to give the dog a short course of painkillers and see if his behviour improves.

    I do know of one qualified positive behaviourist who works mainly by video - she'd be able to advise on setting up a video camera so she'd be able to observe how the three of you interact normally, and hopefully catch some of the fearful behaviour. This is her website if you're interested: https://www.thecanineconsultants.co.uk/ (She usually works with separation anxiety but I'm assuming she'd be willing to help with other problems.)
     
  6. Clareeee1300

    Clareeee1300 New Member Registered

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    Hi Joanne! Yes we did the five second rule and still use it which he is fine with, paws for attention, strokes, no probs with that. We have used high value treats, he will take no probs. But for example this is the kind of behaviour.... all was good for a few weeks until we bought him a new toy. Hubby gave it to him 'here you go little man" dog bows head, tail between legs. Its really a case of we wake up every morning wandering what the dogs mood will be like that day. Somedays not so bad.... mostly terrible. The other day i smashed a glass by accident in kitchen, hubby in lounge with dog and then he was very fearful again like it was hubbys fault. So on and off its never consistant fearful behaviour. We use adaptil plug ins, have used the collars, zylkene, yu calm nothing works!
    Judy, thats a great help i will look into that thank you! He definitley has seperation anxiety from me which is hard as i am the only one working due to hubbys op but had so much time off due to the dog we are struggling. Its a very odd case for sure, we have both had dogs in the past and really cant work this out all of your advice is greatly appreciated! Xx
     
  7. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    That says to me that he wasn't ready for that interaction. Again, I suggest your husband should stop initiating ANY contact until your dog comes to him. I think the way your dog's confidence will grow is by giving him the choice and the control to interact or not.
     
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  8. Clareeee1300

    Clareeee1300 New Member Registered

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    Thanks Joanne, hubby does ignore him until the dog comes to him. Then when he does come loves a bit of fuss then totally freaks out. This is what we cant understand. Its like a love hate relationship. Like i say hes like bipolar, very up then very down. Hubby knows to give him space but then he will beg for attention and just go fearful 2 seconds later. Ive tried backing off but nothing is working
     
  9. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Again, this is saying to me that he finds the fuss overwhelming rather than pleasurable. If the five second rule is resulting in this, maybe your husband could try one stroke only then stop; repeat if requested but literally one stroke at a time. Also be aware some areas of his body may be more sensitive than others - if he is head shy, stroke his back etc. Also, rather than 'a fuss' just a gentle stroke might be easier to cope with. Tone everything down by a huge degree if that makes sense.
     
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  10. Clareeee1300

    Clareeee1300 New Member Registered

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    Thanks Joanne we shall keep trying! Thanks for your advice!
     
  11. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    There's some really good advice here- would just add a couple of things. Having had rescue dogs can say it takes much longer than you'd think to build confidence. Our abused corgi x (obviously yours isn't abused!) is still showing improvements after 5 years. The other is about how present-minded dogs are. I really don't think he's in a love/hate relationship but just is very sensitive and frantically reading the signs all the time. Dogs don't seem to blame human beings, they just respond to the last thing. Loves hubby...glass breaks- ohgodohgod this is new! What now?

    So really not much attention, a simple calm routine and he should gradually get there. Oh and regular exercise. Dr Walk solves a lot of worries. Good luck- he sounds so gorgeous, big boy, very scared.:(
     
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  12. Clareeee1300

    Clareeee1300 New Member Registered

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    Thank you all so much for the advice! Really appreciated!
     

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