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kami

Kelpie With Separation Anxiety

53 posts in this topic

kami   

Well, not such a great update - Annie is feeling very sick and sorry for herself after eating a few things she shouldnt have this week. She somehow escaped the crate on her first crate time alone in the house, and managed to eat some chocolate and some cigarettes, necessitating two trips to the vet. This was followed on by a further visit to the vet after finding she had beheaded 3 dahlia plants, and developed nasty diarrhoea (liquid) for the last two days. Poor Annie - we are resolute that cigarettes, chocolate and sugar free gum are now simply banned in the house for her safety and our wallets. Luckily she didnt get her paws on any gum!

This was unfortunately worsened when we took her to the emergency vet (she seemed unwell after a number of loose bowel motions)- she was very nervous from the start, and tried a number of times to bite the vet, and the vet nurse when they were attempting to take blood, give her an anti nausea med and check her temperature. Huw and i have never seen any aggression from her prior.

Vets verdict after a blood gas was that she wasn't too dehydrated last night and we could take her home. Am a little nervous after seei ng her snap a few times at the vet. Should I be worried? I planned to inform her reg. Vet so we could come up with some strategies to work on minimising her her fear levels - she was out of her mind with fear, panting, licking her lips, pacing at the vets - never seen her like this, this was more like an acute panic state from my perspective.

I thought we could start taking her to the vet for some positive associations with treats and pats from the staff, so Annie doesnt write off vets and vet staff as bad. And maybe this would.be a good use of alprazolam given she is super anxious at the vets?

Any pointers and thoughts much appreciated.

Much thanks Susie Huw and Annie.

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:(

How worrying.

hope she is on the mend now .

Snapping while at the vets is not unusual for dogs - I had a dog who was used every day in situations around people - no probs. Take him to the vet , and it was awful.

Your idea is ok - just start outside the clinic first - or even in the car alongside !This is to make sure she is really comfortable ... try to not move inside until you see her happily anticipate the stop at the vets ...and /or standing outside the door then perhaps walk in & out ...

regarding the crate - perhaps there needs to be some wire/snaphook or something on the latch - or if she actually got out another way - a much stronger crate . Once they have escaped - they will try again - and again ...

You are very caring owners :)

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BC Crazy   

Blimey been an expensive week for you by all accounts. Poor Annie :( equally poor you... :( Glad she is OK.

You'll have to be vigilant with anything you don't want her to touch. Make doubley sure it is out of her reach.

Best put a little lock on her crate door. I have one on Stella's as she can get out of her crate as well. Not quite sure how she does it but she has done it.

My girl has bitten the Vet on more than one occasion. Once on his face :( She will snap out of fear as did Annie I'm guessing. It is frightening to see them in such an emotional state & to actually bite. Stella was shocking at the Vets. Had to be muzzled. She has tried to jump through a closed window, upturned furniture etc etc. All you can do in a situation like this is to remain as calm as you can. I decided to change Vets as I wasn't happy with the way he was handling Stella & it was the best thing I ever did. My new Vet is fabulous with her. We were there last week getting Stella's bloods done & Sonny Accupuncture & she didn't put a paw wrong. No need to muzzle her anymore. She actually sits on the Vets lap & gave her kissed at one stage. I'm so proud of her.

If you are happy with the Vet you go to I would be talking to him & the Vet nurses to figure out a game plan to lesson Annies anxiety. You must tell him or anyone that is handling Annie that she has bitten before. I found the Vet table used to really upset Stella. If Annie doesn't like it or you think it makes her more nervous ask for her to be treated on the floor.Maybe do mock runs there with a pocket full of treats when they are the least busy. Let her have a quick sniff about, maybe pop her on the scales, treat & heaps of praise. Leave. Next time maybe some interaction with staff & so on. I always wait outside when we have a Vet appointment as I find less stressful & the Vet just calls us in when it is our turn.This may work for you too.

As far as you working with Annie I can understand that you are a little wary of her since you witnessed her behaviour at it's worst. I was the same. Be mindful of her anxiousness & always be careful, but don't show your fear. I gradually became more confident & calm, you just have to step up but it isn't easy. I just made sure that I picked the appropriate time to do certain things that I know she wasn't really happy with me doing. Eg. Stella used to hate having her tick preventive put on so I used to quickly do it while she was busy with a Kong.

Hope I was of some help :) Our anxious dogs are always a work in progress.

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kami   

Thanks persephone, good to hear :) we are trying hard to learn/do as much as we can to make this a step in the right direction for Annie.

The crate had a snap lock - which i assume I mistakenly didnt use - night shift brain? Either way, it was my fault, and ive been checking and rechecking when i lock it since - with no escaping kelpie - so far. So i put it to human error not super intelligent houdini like skills - unlike your Stella BC Crazy! What an amazing girl she must be :) does she wreck havoc when she escapes ?

We had to take her back to the vet today (so far 8 liquid (definitely liquid) poos today, minimal water intake) but i rang ahead and informed them that she snapped at the vet last night and had had a bad experience.

It went much better. We did sits, shake hands and drops for distraction and rewards (mostly pats because she hasnt been hungry) and when she got too stressed I walked her around quickly in the waiting room to try and refocus her.

The vet was much better than the experience at the emergency vet, he explained how I could hold her for when he needed to examine her in a way that was both safe, and reassuring for Annie. Loads of pats and praise afterwards, and she even gave the vet a few licks. We didnt do anything invasive, he just assessed her hydration status, and felt her tummy (she has lost 1 kg over the last couple of days of her 20 kg). I was so happy he did not do anything more than that.

Some antibiotics for a few days, and then some probiotics, and hopefully we can bid farewell to vets for a while - but to be on the safe side, I bought Pet Insurance today.

Thanks for your thoughts guys, it really is helpful!

Susie, Huw and Annie.

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BC Crazy   

So pleased Annie had a much more positive experience at the Vets :thumbsup: Sometimes anxious dogs just need to be handled gently & reassured. Poor girl sounds like she has such an upset tummy :( Hope the antibiotics can settle her down.

Stella is funny when she gets out of her crate because she just comes & finds me :laugh: Don't know why she bothers...

She is an excellent house dog. She has never touched anything. I think I know why. She is a toy carrier.. Her mouth is always busy. She has her favourite toy, a fluffy pelican, we nick name Pete & she carries it everywhere she goes. She has done this with Pete since she was 12 weeks old. Quirky girl she is.

Edited by BC Crazy

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Kami, try to get some slippery elm powder. You give it as a paste or with food. It is great for stopping diarrhoea.

Also if you are using a metal crate, and Annie is getting out via the sides, you can put cable ties on the crate edges and the door to stop them squeezing through. Zeph used to use his head to lift the roof, and his paw to unhook the edge and lower it down. He also used to ram the door until he could squeeze out. He also worked out how to undo the latch. :eek: But cable ties fixed the problem, as well as a good bone.

Zeph is just like Stella, a toy carrier, so unless it is nailed down, it is in his mouth when he greets you at the door. :doh:

ETA: It is great that she had a very positive vet experience. For Dee we walk to the vet each week to get weighed and get treats. It makes it so much better when we have to go there for real. We also sus out any new vets to the practice to see how they react to Rottweilers, and consequently how she reacts to them. We have had a couple that we will not see, as they were not confident and attuned to Dee.

Edited by grumpette

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Wow. Annie sounds like she has the makings of an awesome dog, And you sound like just the perfect owners -- if you can just hang in there.

My kelpie Katie was so smart and an escape artist. She was also what I call 'soft' in that she would take every correction terribly to heart and I think if I hadn't realised this -- she could have ended up with issues similar to Annie. One thing she DID display was terror at the vet. I dunno if was the smell and sound of other scared animals - she would shake and snap.

We finally started letting the vet treat her on the floor and I always went with a pocket full of chicken which I would shovel into her face while telling her what a good girl she was. It actually didn't take Katie long to figure out vet = chicken and cuddles.

Stick with your girl. I can tell you from experience that kelpies easily (or not so easily!) end up wiggling their way into your heart so firmly that all other dogs you own in the future will be compared to her.

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BC Crazy   

Grumpete, dear Zeph carries toys too. They are funny aren't they :laugh: Stella carries 'Pete' everywhere. I have brought 7 of them so she can have a clean one everyday cause by the end of the day he's pretty dirty & as she sucks on the toy to he is soaking with slobber :o She is a huge stress head so when she gets anxious she always sucks away on her pelican. He doubles as a pillow when she has a sleep. I have never had a dog do this. But then I've never had a dog quite like my girl either :laugh:

StressMagnet, agree 100% with you. Annie is so very fortunate to have been rescued by folks that are just so dedicated & go that extra mile for her. Hats off to them :thumbsup:

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Wow sounds like Annie has landed herself in the best home!

I'me got Australian Shepherds, also working breeds though not as highly strung as Kelpies, but they are all gorgeous and so intelligent.

I hope you can find a solution for her!

I don't have any personal experience with separation anxiety, but your post caught my eye cause a friend of mine with another Aussie Shepherd had huge problems with separation anxiety.

They bought a book online that she said was a huge help and included guidance on everything from medications to crate training and everything in between... www.howtotreatseparationanxietyindogs.com

I would be devastated to have one of my fur babies so stressed out and unhappy, so I really feel for you, but it sounds like you're doing everything in your power!!

Good luck! :-) x

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kami   

Thanks for all the positive feedback guys. It was so useful coming on here and being supported while we went through all the separation anxiety issues with Annie.

Thanks for the tips with the vet stress magnet - we go armed with many treats to the vet and while she does get anxious, she has improved beyond belief.

BC crazy, pete the pelican sounds so cute - i can just picture stella carrying him around in her mouth. You should post a pic if you have one :)

A little mini update - Annie is a completely different dog (curled up on my feet on the bed as I type). She is calm and never howls or whines when she is in the crate - my partner can even leave her in the yard if he needs to go out while i am sleeping in the bedroom, and she doesn't howl or bark once. She carries her tail high and wagging when we go for walks,

and can now be trusted off lead in an off lead park although we are still working on her off lead with other dogs (sometimes she wont recall back when she sees another dog, but will instead sit and wait for me rather than rush up towards them - which I think is a very good start for a dog that LOVES other dogs). She has become a pleasure to live with. A different dog.

She is steadily improving with obedience training (2 x a week club training) and is now up to level 3 basic obedience (white). We could not be prouder of her.

She has also:

- snuck into the pantry to forage for food (busted)

- found and ate a bag of doritos

- eats any bird feathers around the house, but does not jump up or harass our rescue pigeon bong bong.

All in all, she gives us so much happiness everyday (except, perhaps the mever forgotten day she pooped in my car when she was ill - my car is now the designated dog transporting car) :D

Susie

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mazzy133   

Hi kami - i realise this post is old but thought i'd try to get on to you to see if you have any tips.

 

it is great to hear your story and i'm very happy for your family and annie. i am also very jealous! We found ourselves in the same situation with a lovely little kelpie dog mix who we adopted - Poppy. she was listed as calm sweet and social. and she is all of those thing bundled up with tons of anxiety! we have been working with her through private dog behavioral therapy with positive reinforcement and now group lessons to try to desensitise her to other dogs. she also went through a horrible crate training period but has since learned to love her crate over night - thank goodness!

 

i'm very jealous is because we still struggle with walks. we still have initial anxiety every single morning then it eventually lets up but can be quite substantial to start with. i'd say tail is halfway up at best on a walk definitely not held high!  she has come a long way since we adopted her in February but we still have a way to go. i saw the time period in which annie went from quite nervous to being confident on walks, seems much shorter than our experience. any tips? and well done to you for your efforts. sounds like Annie really landed on her feet. 

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