Well the good news is the blood test was clear. The vet says it's all in his head (which is what I thought) and has given me a contact for a trainer who comes out to the house, which sounds great. She also gave me a prescription for anti-depressants! So he's now taking Amitriptylin-dura twice a day - Prozac for dogs . She did say one of the side effects can be aggression so if I notice anything odd about his behaviour, to stop the tablets immediately. It's not a long term solution (she seconded the use of the pheromone collar) but I'll keep an open mind and see how we get on.
He has also got an appointment next week for a scale and polish under general anesthetic. It's all costing me a fortune but if it restores happy family relations then it'll be worth it. I'll like him a lot more without the stinky breath anyway!
I've been concentrating on him more on walks, and remembering to take treats with me and trying to give him more attention. Hopefully things are on the up.
If you're going to give a bone please don't boil it first! I am a vet and cooking alters the architecture of bone, making it more likely to splinter. Raw, frozen then defrosted, is best. Ideally a scale and polish would be better still...
That's good news about the urine and I would get the crate out again.
Which country are you in? I managed to find a UK trained behaviourist in France but I was a bit lucky. I would be very dubious of the living with wolves stuff. It's completely irrelevant to dog behaviour. Ideally you want someone who is trained in positive reinforcement techniques and is up to date with scientific research on dog behaviour.
Oh and he did use the crate when he was small, and loved it so I'm pretty sure he'll be ok with it.
Just to say, he has never made a move towards a person or another dog in his life, he just makes lots of aggressive noises which sound very scary. I always tell everyone else to leave him if he does this but I can take him by the collar while he's growling and put him in bed and he has never bitten me or even tried to. I'm aware it could turn into a bigger problem though...
The vet said there was nothing in his urine sample, and did a blood test so I have to go back tomorrow to get the results. She said he had some plaque on his teeth and to give him a large boiled bone to chew. I'm not sure about this though as he gets aggressive over bones. I'll ask her again about it tomorrow. I do have some additional difficulties as we're non UK so I'm not in my native language, so I don't always think to ask to most relevant questions at the time.
The vet said a good trainer would be her recommendation if nothing comes back in the blood test. There is a guy near here who lived with wolves (!) and is meant to be very good, so I'll contact him.
Crates are not cruel and are a source of comfort for some stressy dogs but the dog must be properly introduced to the crate. That is, leave the door open for the dog to choose to go in, make the crate very appealing (nice bed, feed in there all food, chews, etc.), praise the dog for voluntarily going in, never use the crate for punishment. Gradually you can begin to close the door.
There are more things you could be doing training wise but I am reluctant to share ideas in cases of aggression. I think your top priorities should be the vet check and then having a behaviourist over to assess the dog. Aggression is a behaviour for experts to evaluate and advise on. Don't ignore his aggressive signs though, do get someone in to help. The APBC would be my recommendation as well.
There's enough going on here to make me think you'd be better off having a good behaviourist work through this with you. Aggression in the home really requires professional input when there's this much going on. I think if you had help to understand him better it would immediately improve things for you.
If he's anxious now he'll be much worse as your DD starts to move around, and he's already resorting to aggression to communicate with you. Unless you quickly take action to change things he's going to learn that aggression is necessary.
Look up the APBC website for a local behaviour counsellor, and get your vet to refer you. The thirst and hunger may well be medical but some of the other problems are likely to be behavioural.
When you take him to the Vet get them to check his teeth as well as this may be the cause of the bad breath. Is he a small dog? Dental probs are particularly common in some small breeds.
You have to sell the crate to your dog, if he's not used to being crated you can't just expect him to love it immediately but a good way of making positive associations is to feed him in there. If you get him to choose to go into his crate that will allay your DH's concerns. It's also a good idea to do it now, before your DD is mobile so your dog has a safe place he can go to if he needs to get away from her.
Incidentally your dog doesn't understand going on the bed is 'naughty', he's a dog he doesn't have a value system. He just knows he gets told off if you see him on there.
I'm sure he probably is stressed and I haven't been helping by getting very stressed about the situation too. I have shouted at him "in your bed" quite loudly and although he does then comply it probably stresses him. Hormones haven't helped. Tbh I think he feels very unloved and its my fault. He stinks too and I've become really sensitive to the smell, so yesterday I took him to the doggy hairdressers. What can I do about his terrible breath though?
It's hard to contain him in our flat as it's so small, but I could probably find some way of shutting the bedroom door (its only a two room flat and at present the door doesn't shut) to keep him out, and also feed him in there. He has never been aggressive over his bowl of food, only over treats, but obviously I don't want to take any risks where DD is concerned.
I do have a crate but DH thinks it's "cruel"? Would I just feed him in there or could I shut him in at night to prevent the weeing?
I do clean and ignore inside peeing and am trying to take him outside more often. It's tricky overnight though as he'll pee but doesn't try to wake us up to be let out. He always used to whine and scratch but never does now.
I'll look online for the Adaptil. I hadn't heard of that before.
Thanks very much for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it.
OK you have a number of issues there which may need different approaches:
- weeing: you are right to take him to the vet, there would well be something wrong with him (may also be related to his hunger). If not, then go back to puppy training methods, i.e. out every hour, out after food/play, reward any outside toilet efforts, clean and ignore inside peeing.
- sleeps in bed: close the door so he can't go in there.
- runs off on walks: keep on lead, work on re-call, long line for a while.
- barking on lead: try to pre-empt this by getting his attention before he starts. So when you see someone in the distance he may bark at, use a high value treat (or toy if he is more toy oriented) to get his attention and turn him away from the person. Then occupy him with training (sits or downs or whatever you want) until the person is past and big reward at the end.
The aggression is something you should get professional help from someone who can come and see your dog and assess the situation. There are things you can do and they are surprisingly effective so don't panic, but it's not an issue that can be addressed over the internet as it is potentially dangerous. Meanwhile put him in a crate or the other side of a stair gate or in another room anytime he eats.
Overall he does sound stressed so he may be having a tough time adjusting to the new arrival. Try an Adaptil collar/diffuser, it helps some stressy dogs.
Firstly, I have a 5 month old DD (1st child) which I'm sure is the main cause of all the problems I'm having with the dog.
Dog is 6 years old and, for better or worse, has been mollycoddled. Always came with me everywhere and was generally number 1. Obviously now I have DD I am busy, my hands are full and there is less time for the dog. Saying that, he is always walked at least twice every day for around 1.5 hours, sometimes more. I'm at home, so he's never really on his own.
The main problems are:
He wees in the house. Has always drunk a lot and weed a lot but even if he had accidents before, he would always ask to go out. Now he doesn'T ask, just wees.
Is obsessed by food. Gets into the bins every day, runs out of the house to find food in our neighbour's barn, runs away on walks and won't come back if he has found food.
Can be aggressive over food. Has never bitten but if I have to grab him to take him away from food he has found on a walk or in my neighbour's barn he will growl and snarl.
Is very stubborn. Will growl and snarl if he has to do something he doesn't want to do, eg go up to the flat when we get in from a walk or be left at home if we have to nip out.
Sleeps on the bed if we're not in. He knows he's not allowed on the bed, but as soon as my back is turned, there he is.
Runs away on walks and won't come back for 30 minutes. This is usually if he has either found food or a wild animal. He chases hares, pheasant and the odd wild deer (there are quite a few in our area).
Barks at passers by and other dogs if he is on the lead. Also we have a restaurant and if he is around he barks at the customers.
To try and deal with it I have:
Kept him on the lead for all walks except when I know it is safe. He does sometimes catch me out though.
Made a vets appointment regarding the weeing to see if he has a kidney infection. It's today.
Don't give him any treats in the flat when DD is around so he doesn't get possessive over them.
Try to keep him out of the restaurant when customers are there.
I am getting to the end of my tether and even thinking about a new home for him. DH doesn't want him to go but tbh he's a work 12 hours a day and he's not the one who has to deal with the dog. Although when I go back to work in August he will have more responsibilty. What worries me is that DH will have to work a lot of the childcare around his job and the dig will be left with no time - he'll likely be on his own a lot in the day and will have to wait until I get home for his big walk. I can only see that causing further behavioural problems which DH is not going to have time to deal with.
Sorry this is so long, I wanted to include as much information as possible.
I want DD to grow up with a dog. I don't want to give our dog away, but I can't cope any more.