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Any thoughts on what is going on with my dog?

(9 Posts)
DowntonTrout Wed 12-Feb-14 08:54:49

I have two, brother and sister, 9yo, had them together since they were puppies.

The male dog is somewhat grumpy, always has been, hates visitors, highly sensitive to noise, will only be handled on his terms. He will bare his teeth and growl to tell you to back off and then slinks away. Even if he has come to you for a fuss. This is his way of saying enough. He has never bitten.

Last week I took them to the vets for their booster jabs. Girl dog was fine. Boy dog became stressed and so before trying a muzzle on him they took him out back for a walk and "surprised" him with the jab. He was fine after that and came back in happily wagging his tail.

I bought them lovely new beds at the time which are about 6ft apart in the kitchen. Boy dog sits in his bed growling constantly at his sister. It seems he doesn't want her to sit in either bed. If he can see her across the room he's growling and they've had a couple of real ding dongs, all snarling, fur flying, teeth and eyes flashing ( but not biting) and I've had to step in and separate them.

He doesn't seem to be in any pain or anything, I've checked him over. Just wondering why he has suddenly become so territorial and aggressive? The only common denominators are the new beds, the vet visit and booster jabs and they've both had a trim.

SpicyPear Wed 12-Feb-14 09:01:52

It may be that he is still suffering from raised stress levels after three events that he finds stressful: booster, grooming and new bed. Physiologically it can take a few days for stress to leave the body. Could you give him space in a separate room for a week or so to allow him to really relax before introducing them back to the same room?

DowntonTrout Wed 12-Feb-14 09:11:17

Ok, you're making sense.

I can put him a bed in the utility room so that he can hide in there.

I groom them myself, because he will not tolerate clippers, but he does find it stressful and I have to tempt him with treats, he doesn't like it though. I love him because he's such a character, he's like the grumpy dwarf in Lord of the Rings, but this is making both of them stressed. Has anyone had any success with the plug in hormones? Just wondering if that would help.

Whoknowswhocares Wed 12-Feb-14 09:23:18

Poor dog sounds very stressed. I would firstly go back to the vet and rule out physical causes.
I've not used them, but many people recommend a plug in as having a good effect, or possibly a thunder shirt.
Beyond that, I'd be getting the advice of a professional behaviourist tbh. Your dog has spent 9 years telling you that many situations make him worried and stressed. That doesn't make him grumpy and a character I'm afraid. It makes him miserable, on edge and potentially dangerous. Just because he has never escalated to biting until now, does not mean he won't.

SpicyPear Wed 12-Feb-14 09:23:26

It's always worth a try. It didn't do anything for my nervous girl but she did respond to Pet remedy plug in, which is valerian based. You can also get valerian drops for food from Dorwest.

DowntonTrout Wed 12-Feb-14 09:56:31

Well that's what I'm worried about whoknows

I am well aware he is stressed. He is grumpy because he is stressed and unhappy but this is an escalation and I just wondered why. In normal day to day life there are many things he is phobic or sensitive to. Some things we have been able to help with distraction and reward techniques. Some things we can only avoid as much as possible. For example, the grooming. In the past he has had to be sedated. He will now allow me to do it by being distracted with treats, but only for so long and when he sys he's had enough we have to leave it.

Other things can't be avoided, a boiling kettle, the oven being on, washer, dishwasher etc. he cannot be in the room. He will happily go in my car, not DHs ( different rumble noise). Desensitising him has not worked. We have taken advice and tried many approaches over the years. He is very complex and possibly has been bred with these faults. Yes 9 years in and the problems we have solved are few compared to the problems he has. His sister is the complete opposite. So two dogs, same litter, treated exactly the same. One completely neurotic, one calm and gentle.

mistlethrush Wed 12-Feb-14 10:01:07

We rescued a lurcher just before Nov5 in 2012 (good timing!!!) She was terrified of the fireworks - and it didn't help at all with the housetraining!. Last year we got her a thundershirt. DH was very sceptical - then the bangs started, we put the thundershirt on and within 5 mins she was asleep, ignoring the bangs. We also used a DAP diffuser - it probably did help but she was so fast asleep with the thundershirt on I'm not sure whether she noticed that in addition... There's a 30 day money back guarantee I think so it could well be worth trying to see if it helps.

DowntonTrout Wed 12-Feb-14 10:08:25

I've not heard of them before. I will look into them. Thanks.

mistlethrush Wed 12-Feb-14 12:13:56

DH was EXTREMELY sceptical when it arrived as it looks like a jersey coat with an extra lot of velcro... I thought it was worth trying to see if it helped, given I had heard lots of good things. DH was sold - and actually thought to go and get it and put it on her some evenings!!!

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