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Thread: Please help with advice - EXTREME fearful biting behavior Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-25-2014 12:53 AM
katieliz thanks for the update, i wish you great luck in your multi-faceted approach to tackling the problem. take care. (((hugs to wheelie))).
09-25-2014 12:10 AM
Colie CVT Since I have been in this realm of reading books dealing with dogs like crazy, I can't remember if anyone told you about the book, The Dog Who Loved Too Much by Dr. Nicholas Dodman. He goes over different behavioral issues like aggression, fear, obsessive behavior. He talks about different cases, different types of each thing. How he helped (or actually in some cases didn't find a solid help) for the different dogs. It really has been an enjoy for me to read, and I can relate to the idea of medicating and behavioral changes since I personally have found myself in a similar situation.

Training methods can some days can only do so much. Just like medications can only do so much. It's when you are open to trying different things, potentially combining the two things that you can have success. If it helps Wheelie so that you don't have to go down the path to euthanizing, in the end I'd say winner, winner chicken dinner in that case!
09-24-2014 11:27 PM
Juliem24 Hey Bill,
I have been reading this thread with interest. I have been in medicine/nursing for what seems like 100 years, and I'd like to put my 2 cents in regarding medicating the dog. I come from a family that fully subscribed to home remedies, and never believed that medication or interventions were the first line, and this is how I still think: however, I would like to say in this case the dogs anxiety seems so overwhelming that he will never be able to learn unless that said anxiety is blunted somewhat with fluoxetine, or other means. There is a difference between drugging the dog into submission and augmenting the behavior so that they are calm enough to,learn to trust the world. I wish you the best of luck with your move to Washington state, and your work with your pup.
09-24-2014 05:17 PM
nbdyuknow Hello again,

Just another brief update on Wheelie. First, I have cast a net as far and wide for advice and help from everyone I either know, heard about or could think of to help. As a result, I received a lot of recs for trainers and behaviorists. I have spent a great deal of time researching and exchanging info with many of them to try and find the best person and the best fit. We are just about to get started with this.

As well, the vet who first recommended euthanizing Wheelie went a a vacation to Ireland for a couple of weeks. She left a VM on her way out of town saying I could call the clinic while she was gone, and get directions on how to prepare him to be brought in for euthanization. When she returned, she was apparently somewhat puzzled that I had not brought him in, and again phoned me looking for an update. Each time we try to connect, it results in about 4 or 5 days of vm tag and what not, so I wrote a two page update about how things were going and my plan. About an hour after I dropped it off, the clinic called and said she wanted me to come in for a consultation--no need to bring Wheelie.

I went and we had a nice discussion. I explained my situation and that since I will be here by myself until I leave for WA, I can attempt anything and everything to see if we can make any progress. She still believes that this situation will end in euthanasia, but also said that perhaps his brain chemistry is hindering Wheelie's ability to function in situations--or, more to the point, that if he is always fearful and anxious he will not be able to learn from a trainer or behaviorist. She prescribed Fluoxetine (Prozac), with the additional admonition that it may take up to 4-5 weeks for the meds to become effective. Her thinking is that if the meds can lower his level of anxiousness or fear, that then he would be optimally positioned to respond to behavioral training.

Personally, I am somewhat skeptical of drugs like Prozac and my wife, as a psychologist, is definitely down on them for use with most human cases. But, as I said, I am willing to try anything and everything to give Wheelie the best chance. The meds definitely need to be combined with a training program, I am certainly not expecting them to do anything on their own. But, if it unlocks any blockages in his ability to function and process, then I will be very happy.

My wife is enroute to WA, she will be starting her new position next week. We will be moving into an approx 2 acre "horse property" (meaning it has a pasture and fence) out near the base of a mountain, outside of town. My plan right now is to leave here around the end of October to do the drive out to WA.

Even though about a month is a seriously small sample size, I will have to make the decision then if there has been any sign of progress in Wheelie with the combination medicinal therapy and behavior training.

In the meantime, when he is around me alone, he is just like a "normal" dog--playful, loving, etc. He gets lots of treats and chews that he enjoys very much. When my 17.5 year old dog passed away, I put his "toybox" in the basement with all of his (considerable amount of) toys. The husky mix had apparently never been given toys to play with, so she had no interest in them, so I left them down there and just gave her chews. Wheelie found the box and claimed a squeaky toy that he has fallen in love with, he carries it everywhere and sleeps with it and cuddles it (and has also torn all of the stuffing out of it). So, he seems pretty happy right now at least.

Thanks again for all of your advice and support, I really appreciate it.

Bill B.
08-25-2014 09:09 AM
llombardo I have dealt with people at For your K9 for other things and they are a good group of people.
08-25-2014 08:43 AM
JeanKBBMMMAAN Consultations with some of the best behaviorists in the world:
PETFAX Behavioral Consultation : Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine - this one is you and Tuft's $250, 3 months follow up
About Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic : Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine - basic about
VETFAX Behavioral Consulation : Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine - this one is you, your vet and Tuft's, I am guessing your vet sets the fee but I do not know

Note - these are not in person, but people have been greatly helped by this service in the past, with dogs who were on the verge of being let go. Video would probably be helpful. As would a person with experience eyes on.
08-25-2014 08:02 AM
Originally Posted by nbdyuknow View Post

I talked at length with the vet who he originally went for, and, unsurprisingly, she is 100% in favor of euthanization, going so far as to make sure to prescribe me some Acepromazine to have on hand at home so when I was ready, I could have him sedated before I bring him to them.

If it does come to this, ask the vet to prescribe Valium instead of ACE. ACE leaves the brain active with the body sedated.

In the meantimem, I have done as much research as possible, as well as looking into various "board certified behavioral vets." For most of them, just the rate for the initial consultation is ~$450.00 not even including a physical exam, which sort of lets one know what is coming if that kind of treatment program is selected as an option. I have also sent out the word to all my past and present contacts in animal welfare/rescues/etc. to solicit advice or possibly names or orgs that could be of assistance.

Bill B.
An alternative to a behavioral vet is to locate a behaviorist who will be willing to work with your vet. That was the route we took with Woolf and it has worked out very well. It does require some research to locate an experienced behaviorist instead of someone just making the claims.
08-25-2014 07:48 AM
llombardo I wonder if a thunder shirt would help him? Having a trainer evaluate him before the behaviorist might be a good idea. Sadly some trainers will tell you he requires private training, others will tell you see a behaviorist, and then there are the ones that really try to help. The day before I took Midnite who was reall reactive to the GSD club he tore up a trainers arm trying to get to the other dog. As I'm watching blood coming down her arms , she is telling me that he needs private training and thd price was pretty steep. I'm thinking my dog will eat her alive. I left very frustrated because I had to find someone to help me. I am grateful for that GSD club. For the first time I agreed with what they said to do and found an environment I could do it in and feel like they were there to back me up. Midnite respected them immediately. When the trainer brought his two senior GSD's within five feet of Midnite I swear I saw nothing but pride in their eyes and respect in Midnites. I'll never forget the look those dogs passed to each other, there was some kind of communication there.
08-25-2014 06:03 AM
VALIUM Thank you for the update Bill, you are doing great.!!! I hope he gets better and better, all the best to you guys.!!!
08-25-2014 12:47 AM
Moriah Thank you for the up-date and please keep posting so we know....Very best wishes to you.
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