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Murphy has turned into a monster.

(18 Posts)
SistersofPercy Fri 10-Jul-15 14:56:06

And I'd appreciate any advice here (apologies, this will be long)

Murphy is (was) an impeccably behaved Scottish Terrier who's just coming up for 18 months old. Until recently he was a happy, calm little dog who'd never humped, growled or shown any sign of issues.
I'd taken him for castration a few weeks ago because he was marking a lot (I did post about it) but due to high liver readings he couldn't have it done. (as an aside, those readings are normal again). We've been waiting to finish antibiotics before he goes back.
In the meantime he'd started to hump and generally be a little pig. Ignoring commands etc.

Last Friday, completely out of the blue he bit our postman. I was completely horrified. I'd answered the door with him under my arm, something I've done a hundred times. Postie made a fuss of him, something other posties have done often, and he snapped and bit his thumb. I was stunned, couldn't apologise enough and was sobbing as I tried to sort out the postie. Fortunately for Murphy our postman is lovely and hasn't taken it any further.

By Friday afternoon he was in the vets for a checkup, he was completely fine but the vet thought that the castration should be done sooner rather than wait, so Monday he had the operation.

In the meantime I've muzzle trained him until I can figure out what is behind his behaviour, I'm fitting a cage to the letterbox, I'm starting to halti train him now as well.

My biggest problem, and the reason I think he snapped, is he seems to have regressed and developed an anxiety to things that have never bothered him before. On a quick walk yesterday (he can't go too far just yet post op) he barked at a motorbike, people, cars etc. All things he's never bothered with in the past. I've tried to distract him with food but he's so anxious he won't take it.

He went nuts at a neighbour, I tried distracting him with hot dog and he wouldn't have it. The neighbour has trained rescues before and approached Murph, got down to his level and basically made friends with him. I could see him physically relax and he was then happy to eat his treat. I was terrified he was going to bite, neighbour reassured me and within minutes Murph is having his belly rubbed.

So. My plan.....

We have a large shopping village near us. Murphy now has a hi vis vest which reads "training, please don't touch me". I plan to take him there on Sunday and sit on the periphery of the place. I want to try and anticipate his bark and feed him the hot dog before he gets there so he associates people = food! Once he's settled there I'm thinking of moving into the village a little more and sit on a bench, again offering the sausage until he calms. And so on over a few days until he can walk through more relaxed.
Only issue is if he's too worked up to eat the treat what do I do?

I'd really appreciate any advice here. My vet seems to think he'll calm down as soon as the testosterone has left him but I'm concerned his sudden dislike of everything might not go away as easily so I really need to desensitise him now.


Cheerfulmarybrown Fri 10-Jul-15 15:30:40

The drop in testosterone can make many dogs fearful. It is now advised not to castrate a fearful or anxious dog because of this.

Personally I would not be taking your dog to busy places for a while. I would let him chill and not get over threshold until his hormones are more settled.

I would look at adatil products and maybe even zkylene to help chill him out more.

SistersofPercy Fri 10-Jul-15 15:38:23

He wasn't fearful or anxious, this is very recent. It wasn't noted until yesterday that he'd suddenly become anxious, he was castrated on Monday.

I can't really wait and see how it pans out as he's coming on holiday with us next month and will be in busy places. I really need to start desensitising him now or he's going to struggle.

SunshineAndShadows Fri 10-Jul-15 15:39:18

Please don't start any teaming until he's completely recovered and pain free. He's just had pretty major surgery and will be experiencing hormonal changes too. Once he is fully recovered start by building his confidence in safe quiet places, building positive associations and teaching him appropriate coping mechanisms.

In the situation you describe with ur postie, your dog is not able to move away from the scary stranger because you're holding him there and the snap was a likely panic response. Lots of dogs don't like being petted by strangers, just make sure that your dog has a choice to remove himself from uncomfortable situations, and respect that choice

SunshineAndShadows Fri 10-Jul-15 15:41:17

Cross posted. He's in pain and experiencing a massive drop in testosterone which can increase reactivity. You need to take this slowly because if you push too hard too soon with training you risk breaking down your dogs trust in you and increasing his reactivity

SistersofPercy Fri 10-Jul-15 15:57:38

Would there be a big drop in testosterone after 4 days?

What would you recommend with walking him? Our street is pretty quiet but he'll see cars/bikes/people. Is it best to keep him to the garden for a week?

SunshineAndShadows Fri 10-Jul-15 16:07:02

He should only be on short lead walks post op anyway. The drop in testosterone will start from removal of his testicles. How he feels and how that may manufest behaviourally depends on the individual dog. You need to keep him below his reactivity threshold or what is called his 'behaviour adjustment threshold' - this threshold varies from dog to dog but is the state in which your dog is unstressed enough to respond appropriately to you and so you can manage anxiety.. I'll post some links

SunshineAndShadows Fri 10-Jul-15 16:20:29

Castration info

Threshold info

SistersofPercy Fri 10-Jul-15 16:23:34

He should only be on short lead walks post op anyway

He is, literally 100 yards down the road but he can still see a lot of things in that 100 yards that are triggering him now.

I'll post some links

Thank you smile
I'lll do some reading now.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 10-Jul-15 20:10:20

Oh dear Percy, have a (hug). No real advice I'm afraid but couldn't read and run. We had Barney done when he began showing signs of aggression towards me when I was pregnant. He was being disobedient and generally bloody awkward and my trainer said to get him done. I know now that it isn't the answer to everything but in his case, luckily, it did work. He went back to being my soppy old hound again. I hope Murphy settles down for you and you're both ok. flowers

SistersofPercy Fri 10-Jul-15 21:51:45

Thanks lovely. He does seem to be settling a little. He's more willing to curl up of an evening whereas usually he's patrolling the lounge window. Hoping yesterday's fear was just a glitch.

EdwinaLIzzard Sat 11-Jul-15 11:14:16

I hope Murphy's behaviour was just a post-op glitch and that you will get your lovely dog back.

I am watching with interest as my beautiful boy was also neutered this week, on Wednesday, and I am really mindful of any behavioural changes. So far, he has been alright, just desperately sad as he hates the 'lampshade' collar, but I do not dare take it off as he is already trying to get to the wound site.

He is usually a complete loon and loves running around but all the crashing into things is getting him down. I took him back to the vets this morning for his first post op check up and she said he was doing fine, a slightly raised temperature, which was probably due to the stress of re-entering the surgery.

The vet has straggly advised he keeps the collar on, but suggested a couple of short walks each day without it, as he would be so distracted by smells etc that he would be unlikely to attempt any licking.

SistersofPercy Sat 11-Jul-15 13:08:10

Hope so too edwina, thank you. Murphy had a blow up collar which is much much easier than a lampshade.
He seems a lot less antsy today so I'm hopeful it's a glitch.

Your boy is gorgeous! Here is murph in his collar of shame....

EdwinaLIzzard Sun 12-Jul-15 10:28:38

Awwww, I love Murphy's blow up collar, that does look a lot more comfortable.

He is very handsome with a lovely smile grin

basildonbond Sun 12-Jul-15 10:32:20

He can't be too much of a devil if he'll let you put an inflatable collar on him - ddog's lasted for ooh about 5 seconds ...

How's he doing now? Any improvement?

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 12-Jul-15 12:10:38

Ha ha love the collar of shame. Poor Murphy. grin How is he now? Has he forgiven you for the collar yet?

SistersofPercy Sun 12-Jul-15 14:43:14

He is doing well thanks. He oddly seems a lot more loving. He will normally curl up at his end of the sofa but last night he wanted on my knee.
His behaviour is better, he seems to be answering commands first time again now and there is a lot less barking out of the window. He was also calmer when ds came earlier, not charging up and down to greet him but happier to sit and wait to be greeted.

His exercise has been limited to our garden so I'm yet to find out if there is an improvement on walks.

He's eating well too, something he's not done in the past. Obviously now he's been done he's more likely to be overweight so I'll have to keep an eye on that.

Collar is mostly off now, unless I can't watch him when he has to have it on. He's been really good about it actually, though I was expecting it to be difficult.

EdwinaLIzzard Fri 17-Jul-15 12:38:37

Percy, I was wondering how Murphy is getting on and whether he is finally free of the collar??

I am having a bit of nightmare with Milo - we are now on day 10 and he still has to wear his lampshade all the time unless out for a walk on lead, as he just won't leave the operation site alone.

Even when we are walking, if I stop to chat with anyone, he immediate starts licking his bum. I keep checking the would site and it had been healing really well, until today, when I stupidly decided to take the collar off indoor for a couple of hours. He immediately started the licking again, and I watched him for a few minutes, hoping that it was perhaps novelty factor and he would stop, but he didn't stop, so I had to put the collar back on.

I checked the wound and, of course, it now all pink and a bit red. Its not bleeding or particularly raw looking, but I am just so cross with myself, as I suspect he will now be wearing the collar for another week.

We are back at the vets on Tuesday for his final checkup, but I guess it now won't be the final one.

Anyone else have this and how long until they are suitably healed to burn the collar!!

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