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Please Help Me Save My Dog


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I have a dog with such severe separation anxiety that he jumps through closed windows. He has snapped all of his teeth from chewing on metal and will destroy anything he can to get out. This time last year, I was going to PTS. I tried meds as a last resort and they have taken the edge off enough that he can be contained during the day in an extremely expensive, heavy duty run. He still tries to escape and cries sometimes, but he is doing better. Like Roo, Loki (who's strangely enough nickname is Roo) just wants to be with me 24/7, and I just cannot do that. No one can.

I know that one day the fluoxetine will probably not help anymore, and then that will be it.

iI's the most awful decision but sometimes PTS is the kindest last resort, for both of you. I wish you all the best, whatever your decision

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If the dog is self harming to that extent PTS is the kindest option. I had a bull breed that did the same thing, he was a rescue, even proper sedatives didnt stop him he dragged himself paralytic across the floor screaming.

Personally I think it's a genetic thing in some of these cross breeds, and when it's that ingrained it cannot be fixed. When management doesn't work there's only one option left. That option is not a failure, it's about standard of living.

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Apologies ...you have been doing this for so long now, it has become your life , and I know you are doing everything in your power to keep this poor girl ..but are you really doing it for her, or for you? :o

You know she spends hours unhappy and stressed ...hurting and waiting until she can be with you . You love her company , and hate seeing her this way , and want her to be well ....

I couldn't do it to a dog ,(or myself) honestly .... :(

My choice for a dog of mine would be a gentle release, a few seconds of absolute peace and sense of being held & loved before they awake over the bridge , and never have to panic/stress again. ( and yes, I have done it to a lovely little dog with severe, debilitating anxiety)

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Thank you everyone. I really appreciate your well wishes and just a place to get this out - only one or two of my friends really 'get' it.

I have made an appointment with my regular vet to discuss pts, and have spoken to my boss about taking a couple of weeks off work to just spend some great time with her doing her favourite things, beach etc.

I don't know if I will go this way but ever since I saw the videos and how distressed she was I have been moving ever so slowly in that direction.

The point about how I would act were is a physical ailment is a good one. If she was in physical pain I would pts absolutely.

Sorry to hear about your girl, I was reading her story on the link you posted, can I ask why your behaviourist visit is $600? :dropjaw: (and this is a follow up visit obviously?)

You are correct - I have looked into this and found the price for a revisit is 50% - $300 :)

The price includes a half day session, 3 months unlimited follow up, scripts and a training plan.

I am very happy with Dr. Carter so it's well worth it to me.

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Ive sent you a link to our seperation training program that has not yet failed and also a suggstion to double dose on PetArk calm. In uderstand you're not home all the time but you can start the program Friday night and by Monday if you've given it 100% you should start to see some improvments - not cured...but some improvements. The program typically takes on average 2 weeks to have a nice settled dog again.

I'm not sure who you're using as Behaviorists and Trainers but I'd take a good look at where you're spending your money, I don't mean to be offensive but some behaviourists and trainers aren't qualified not suitably experienced.

If she cannot come good then I personaly would euthanise, I would not rehome.

Try this program, it is very very good and Sas has given you some great advice

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:( so sad .

Do you really think rehoming would help her ? After 3 years , she is very strongly bonded , and a dog with ongoing anxiety problems may not settle in a whole new environment ..the transition would need to be slow, supervised and orchestrated ... with a real chance of her being very stressed . :(

Leaving her with someone else during work hours is risky, IMO . What happens if she does stress /try & go home? Would her stress levels then begin to show in the car , as she knows she will be then separated from you ?

She's a beautiful girl, and you are doing everything you know to help.

PTS sounds awful, I know ... however there is her health and yours, suffering , there is the thought that she is not enjoying a great chunk of her life ....and , being in VIC with BSL ... if she did escape or cause harm in a panic .. her looks may go against her , unfortunately :(

Yes, I think even being cared for by someone else for the time the OP is at work is going to put enormous stress on this poor dog. I certainly wouldn't be considering it as an option because I'd be far too worried about the dog's well-being and behaviour in my absence. It's setting the dog up for potentially even more "failure" IMO.

you know sometimes you have to consider the dog above all other things. How can this poor girl be happy? She is under tremendous stress day in, day out. You've done everything you can to help her, maybe now you need to do the hardest thing of all and release her from the pressure of her life. :hug:

I completely agree. Sometimes, no matter what we do, an anxiety problem is too severe for the dog to overcome sufficiently to have a reasonable quality of life. It's never going to be an easy decision for us. I've got two elderly dogs nearing the end of their lives and I know the decision I need to make will be so very difficult BUT when the time comes, I'll make it for THEM. I have to be unselfish for them no matter how much it will hurt me.

I don't think the OP is looking to rehome her dog, just have someone who can offer a kind of day care for her while the OP is at work.

I have had some experience with caring for a dog with severe separation anxiety and while the dog was probably better with me than he would have been on its own, the anxiety still resulted in a huge host of behavioural problems while the owner was absent. You need to be aware that if your dog's separation anxiety is about you leaving rather than just not wanting to be alone, you may face similar problems.

I hope you can find a solution for her but if not I agree PTS may be the only kind option. :hug:

I've had a dog with mid-level SA and it's horrible for them. DAP helped her enough that I eventually weaned her from it but it took about 3 yrs to get to that point. I doubt I could have coped with the levels of anxiety you're describing. :(

Whatever decisions you make, I wish you strength and wisdom. And I'll be here for you if you PTS...you'll need support and understanding.

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Yes, there is hope Jellybush...

Believe me, I understand your problem pretty well because I have been there not so long ago.

I adopted a amstaff girl 3 years ago and she had severe separation anxiety. She didn't go tho the extent of self harm, but was destructive and used to wee and poop everywhere. Differently of some previous opinions, I fully disagree that rescue dogs or mixed breeds are more prone to separation anxiety than pure bred dogs. I have plenty of friends who purchased dogs from breeders (pick of the litter) and their dogs also developed issues like separation anxiety, aggression, etc, just like any other dog.

Adopting my girl was the best thing I have ever did and trust me, euthanasia is not the answer for everything. At the time I got her, I had no idea what separation anxiety was and naively assumed she was friendly towards other dogs. It turns up she wasn't and I was devastated. I hired a behaviorist from a very famous and well known group for 3 "at home" and "one-on-one" consultation and 2 extra sessions and was appalled to pay $380.00 for the 45 minutes initial consultation alone. His verdict? Her separation anxiety wasn't "fixable", she would never be able to live with another dog and I should consider euthanasia.

After the initial shock, I then decided to take action, learn all I could about dog behavior and help my beloved. Euthanasia wasn't an option for me because:

1) I really liked her and wanted to help;

2) She wasn't born that way;

3) had I resorted to euthanasia, I would be going against everything I believe and wanted since the very first day I decided to adopt & welcome a dog in my life: help an animal in need.

I then decided to learn everything I could about dog behavior & body language and boy, did I get an education! I credit my success to 2 "dog people" I truly worship: Dr Patricia B. McConnell, PhD and Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer.Ms McConnell is an adjunct associate professor of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. Ms McConnell can be defined by one word: outstanding. Her vast knowledge, training techniques and fantastic insight how a dog’s mind and emotions work (posture changes, facial expressions, etc), and how to better interact and understand our best friends are fascinating. Cesar Millan is very well known and dispenses presentation.

I shall say as well that my girl's behavior didn't change overnight: it took me 3 months. I completely changed my attitude towards her (no excuses, no more pitying her) and pay a great deal of attention to both: her body language and my body language around her. Yes, she had a few setbacks over time, she isn't perfect after all and the only way she could consistently learn was making mistakes. Six months after she was able to be inside the house by herself (crate was no longer necessary) and her destructive behavior disappeared. Once in a blue moon she wees on the floor, but the last time it happened was 5 months ago and the gaps between these "mishaps" are getting longer and longer. It is an interactive process: you have to do your homework and be prepared to change your approach as well, commitment and perseverance are the keys.

Dogs are amazing creatures and their ability to learn is enormous.

What about her "diagnosed" dog aggression? Well, cutting the story short, I am pleased to report she now lives with 2 other dogs and is best friends with the resident poodle next door.

I have a booklet which I'd like to scan and send to you by email. Would you please post message me a suitable email address?

I do believe you love your girl as much as I love mine. Such relationship/commitment/trust is unique and must be treasured. My girl is a member of the family and, no matter what, we are in this together. I consider myself privileged to share my life with a living being that teaches me every single day more and more about loyalty, love, hope, humility and above it all, forgiveness.

Yes, there is always hope. "Never" is a very long time and a pretty big statement. Yes, you can.

All the best

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Jelly I think it was dogmad who mentioned Chinese herbs? Just mentioning it again so the suggestion doesn't get lost . I use Herb Robert with my dementing old Westie and I'm convinced its a big part of why he's doing so well. So do try them - its a cheap easy solution which just might work. And I'm sure dogmad would give you some advice on what and how.

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Whatever you decide to do, set a time limit now. This has gone on for years and is ruining your life.

If the problem has not been solved or considerably improved by the date you set, then it's kindest to say enough's enough. The problem has worsened over time, if you allow it to continue to deteriorate you risk her fatally injuring herself.

Nobody can promise you that this dog can be improved, but you do have the power to ensure she will never suffer again.

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Whatever you decide to do, set a time limit now. This has gone on for years and is ruining your life.

If the problem has not been solved or considerably improved by the date you set, then it's kindest to say enough's enough. The problem has worsened over time, if you allow it to continue to deteriorate you risk her fatally injuring herself.

Nobody can promise you that this dog can be improved, but you do have the power to ensure she will never suffer again.

Well put .

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Whatever you decide to do, set a time limit now. This has gone on for years and is ruining your life.

If the problem has not been solved or considerably improved by the date you set, then it's kindest to say enough's enough. The problem has worsened over time, if you allow it to continue to deteriorate you risk her fatally injuring herself.

Nobody can promise you that this dog can be improved, but you do have the power to ensure she will never suffer again.

Well put .

I agree.

I'm so sorry you are going through this. I have a rescue dog who had severe SA and also a lot of behavioural problems. Early on I used to come home to oven and fridge doors being ripped off, shelves pulled down, glass smashed. Her eating ANYTHING she could reach or climb up to.- Including a 1kg bag of brown sugar and a bag of dried lentils. She dragged a 1 litre botltle of soy sauce through the house- it was on top of my 6 ft fridge.She broke the fridge and stole cakes, dips, cheese etc..

She pulled down curtains and rails and shelves from the wall and ate 240 garlic tablets that were in a locked drawer she pulled open.

Everything I tried did not work, I had to keep her inside as she would ALWAYS find a way to escape even from high fences and gates and even scale trees. Also bark constantly. So I had to keep her inside but the behaviour was getting to a point I was always terrified she would hurt or injure herself. I went to many trainers and tried lots of options. I couldn't even leave her with people at my house as she would still escape if they turned away for a second or she would get really, really anxious etc... She would resource guard me and attack my dog who I had before her if he came too close to me or if he tried to approach me. It was issue after issue and every time I fixed one another would arise.

What the most difficult thing for me was people's judgement, they told me to get rid of her and stop wasting my life trying with her etc...

Or tney would say it's me and not her etc... She was so bad that the rescue group wouldn't take her back after a month-said she wasn't suitable because of all her issues!?! I asked for a placid and laid back dog, I was told she was but the rescue group didn't know she was pregnant and that's why she was more withdrawn. They decided to abort the pups literally as they were to be born, there were complications and she got very ill and depressed and was constantly leaking milk and looking for her pups. The rescue group brought her to my house the day after the operation. Being naive I did not realise the implications. Anyway, she was so bad they had to come back and get her but she was dropped off 2 weeks later. As she physically recoverd she was a very differrent dog to the calm dog I originally met. When I wasin contact with them to ask for help they gave advice and help but would not take her back. After 3 years of constant living hell I consulted an excellent vet/ behaviourist an put her on medication I was criticised for that also. It had reached a point that it was my only left to try rather than PTS. When she was with me she seemed like a lovely, affectionate , submissive dog- she was at times.

She can go from 1 to 10 in a split second, luckily I can tell the signs now.

I have had her over 6 years now, it still can be hard at times. I'm lucky that the meds did help and she now has a "special room" of her own when we are out and she is not destructive in there. She will still show anxiety and she has been more work than all the other dogs I have ever known put together- I love her incredibly. I still have to almost revolve my life around her, it takes it's toll and I can't go on holidays or board her etc..

However, I simply could not go through this again. There were times I put her well being above my own and got sick and my whole life was focused on her. She dominated all my time and I was so stressed and focused on trying to " fix " her. She has improved a lot over time but not enough to rehome. I'm still always reading and trying to learn ways to be a good dog owner and training techniques that will help.

I know that in good faith I could not rehome her. Her issues are too extensive and she is too bonded to me, especially now after 6 years.

If you did rehome Roo would you always be worried and wondering about her anyway and still stressed?

If you decide to PTS it's your decision for your dog. The dog you know best and love so much. If you get to the point you feel you have to do it- remember how loved she was and that you did more than anyone could ask for her.

I've learnt not to let people judge me or guide my decisions about my girl as I know her and her issues and needs. I adore my girl but I have learnt from this and as I said I wouldn't do it again if another dog I owned was this bad. I'm sorry I didn't mean to go on or hijack your thread, I just really sympathise and empathise and hope it will be OK for you.

My heart goes out to you and I'm so sorry you are going though this, such a lot of stress and pain. I hope either way you can get some peace for you and Roo. I'm not a professional trainer or expert just someone who can relate and knows the impact it can have. The last 6 years have been such a learning curve. It's such a hard decision to make.

A lot of really great experienced dog people have given you some advice on here and I really hope it helps.

If you ever need to talk or cry drop me a PM. Good luck to you both xxx

Edited by MelissaS
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Hi everyone. Thanks so much for your comments.

Rosetta, I will be seeing her behaviourist again on Wednesday morning, and I hope you are right and that a different medication may assist - I have absolute faith in her and she will let me know.

I have spoken at length to trainers who say that since I am away 45 hours per week (that is just my job - I NEVER do anything on the weekend without her, like, oh, I don't know, date and try to have a life? I haven't even had a haircut for over 6 months!) that behavioural modification is unlikely to have an effect, basically stress levels being what they are, then new learning has no ability to penetrate.

I am hopeful that while there is not one single change that will work there may be a combination - i.e. maybe minding for her during the day, plus a change in meds, will calm her enough for a training program to have a chance at working.

I would like to thank the poster who said "if she was in this much physical pain, would you pts". Because, absolutely, I would. So that has given me a lot of pause for thought over the last day or two. I very much want to do what is best for her, not what is best for me.

Melissa, I'm so sorry to hear of your story. Like you, I find reactions of others the hardest. People teling me she's a 'bad' dog - when she's actually exceptionally well behaved - she's an anxious dog. Or that I should have pts immediately.

Also - I feel I must have posted something confusing at some point, because there are so many comments about rehoming. I am NOT considering rehoming. Not at all. I will help her if I can, or pts. What I was considering was a daycare type arrangement during my working hours only. Sorry if I confused people.

Enigma, I am in Melbourne's inner North.

I would very much like some more information on chinese herbs - is this something I could ask the vet or behaviourst about? Or just order one for anxiety online and try it?

Thank you to everyone for your support and helpful comments.

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