Sunday, June 2, 2013

Turbo has anxiety problems..

As I watch Turbo's behavior and do research on dog behaviors, I'm leaning more and more towards the idea that Turbo has anxiety.

I just read a little snippet on my favorite dog training website:

Towards the bottom of this article the author discusses how an excited meet and greet with another dog may turn into growling and snapping.. which is exactly what happened to Turbo on his last meet and greet with another dog.

But I had been thinking, even before reading this article, that Turbo had anxiety.

He gets worked up so easily. Especially outside. When we notice him getting bored or hyper we take him out into the yard on a tie out and play with him.. but we began to see that the more we played with him, the worse he seemed to get. He got to a point one day while I was playing fetch with him that he no longer chased the ball but lunged after me.

Another problem we noticed.. if we're all sitting out there and someone goes inside, the dog gets anxious. He'll run over towards the house and bark at it and start pacing. He doesn't stop until the person comes back out.

Now that I've realized it could be caused from anxiety, we're looking for the situations that trigger the anxiety and find ways to lessen it. When the dog is outside, the kids are either inside, or sitting with the dog. He gets anxious if he can't reach them or if they're off playing somewhere. If they come out to sit with him, they just sit there and don't go back inside unless it looks like it won't bother him.

We don't play with him quite so much anymore.. mostly we just let him explore the yard on his own. We'll throw a ball now and then.. but he seems perfectly happy to just wander around the yard smelling stuff, rolling in the grass, and sometimes just lying down and relaxing.

He doesn't get quite so anxious inside the house.. but he has his moments. When the kids are outside playing and running around back and forth.. the dog gets worked up and throws himself into walls or windows to try to get to them.

Also there are times when he will go after someone who is walking around the house.. he'll grab their shoes or pant legs and starts shaking and won't let go. I really think this is caused by anxiety too.
When the house is calm and quiet.. the dog pretty much sleeps all the time. When it's not so quiet the dog is basically jumping out of his skin.. he's either finding things to destroy, or attacking our shoes and pant legs.

I called the vets.. actually both of the vets.. the one at the shelter who did his exam last week, and the vet I take my cats to who couldn't complete his exam..
The one at the shelter was no help at all. They just said they do not prescribe anti-anxiety meds. The other vet might prescribe meds if they were able to examine him.. but she gave me other ideas as well.. such as calming collars and such.
I did try a calming collar already but it didn't seem to make any sort of difference.. and the dog grew so quickly (he's gained 10 pounds in a month!) that it had gotten too tight and I had to take it off.
I am going to try another one though.. she recommended a specific brand so I will try it. I also went out and got some aromatherapy stuff yesterday.. lavender scented which is supposed to be calming.

He seems a tiny bit better. Nothing major of course.. but we're learning how to avoid overly stressful situations.. especially when he's outside.

I'm also working on teaching him a new command to settle him down. He knows lie down, but now I'm rolling him onto his side and teaching him "settle". As he masters this I want to be able to use it to keep him calm or settle him down when he starts to get worked up.

Also posted on Bubblews:

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