on 01-10-2014 03:38 PM
First let me say hello to all here as this is my first day and first question. I hope not many in the future.
My Name is Eric and I have to GREAT German Shepherds. Luther I got when he was 10 wks and Cheyenne we got from the rescue and she is about 3 1/2. Luther now 6ish.
Cheyenne we noticed had severe separation anxiety WE THOUGHT and would destroy things such as Leather dining chairs, A leather club chair and a 42 in LCD TV. I made it through that somehow in a short span and found that she is deathly and that is an understatement afraid of random sounds. The door bell, when the letters light up on Wheel of Fortune and the dinging sound they use. Gunshots even far off in the distance ( we are rural) but have a neighbor about 100 yds away and he fires his pistol randomly at a target in his backyard. She will run and jump on the door clawing before I can get there. She tries to get on furniture and then dig a nest. The two chairs and she tried a guest bed but got to her. She is so afraid when it happens it is hard to get her attention and get her to stop. She is never aggressive even in this state of fear but it nearly makes me as a guy well up when I see her like this. She will pant and lay still. I don't overdue the coddling if any at all anymore but will reassure her that she is safe in a steady voice to try to make her realize there is nothing to be afraid of. I thought overtime and us protecting furniture (even putting in a closed room when we leave) she would be better. Some sounds she has improved on. But there are some that she wasn't nervous about but is now. We have used the thunder jacket on her. Mixed results. Still tore up the second chair. And now no matter what the weather we leave them only in the great room and with two box fans running on high to muffle outside noise. I have disconnected the door bells....but now she is so afraid of sounds on TV that she runs the minute we sit on the sofa in anticipation of the tv coming on! She will have to wait a few minutes to see if it is quiet to come back if we are reading or talking. She wasn't afraid of it before. We had the tv on the channel of wheel of fortune and were watching the local news. Then while it was on we ate dinner. She heard wheel come on in the other room and the dings and GONE. I had to try to figure that out as we never watch the show. That took time. Sorry to be so long winded but I wanted to explain as I thought it was separation anxiety when it was sounds she heard. I have a baby sound machine with oceans sounds I leave on when I leave. When you have a dog like this you notice how many commercials have door bells in them the hard way. Love this girl and she is the sweetest girl you could want. Is velcro to you as is Luther. Any help or suggestions? I will try anything. Oh she broke out of her cage crate. the metal bar kind? not flimsy and I have had it welded now twice. I noticed this when I got home and she was at the living room window to greet me. The Tv she nearly duplicated the trashing of with the new one while we were sitting there. She heard a gunshot outside and tried to climb into or through the tv in the entertainment center it was sitting in. She thought there was an escape route I guess.
on 01-10-2014 05:07 PM
Welcome to the group. I have a 10 month old Ridgeback Pup that has severe seperation anxiety but doesn't worry about sounds but I know what you mean about door bells on the TV as my Pup goes nut and runs to the door with excitement thinking someone has come to see him! Much different than your issue. He also thinks that when a dog runs on the TV screen that its behind the TV and he has knocked things over but I think he realizes now that there is nothing behind the TV other than wires and likely dust!
When my pup was young I used to take him to a lake that was near a firing range as they frequently hunt on the river by me and at first he wanted to bolt when he heard these shots being fired but it took about 3 weekends of walking thru the woods hanging onto his leash and making it fun and he no longer reacts, sometimes when its very loud and it sounds close he may perk up his head but there is no more stress about it but I don't think he was as sensative to it as your girl is.
I just remembered this, I was using a Pheramone Collar on my dog in hopes that would soothe him... (it didn't) and it was 4th of july and we were at a picnic and my pup was snoozing as the fireworks were being blasted and I looked over at my friends dog who was shaking, drooling and heavily panting. I took the collar off my dog and I said try this and put it on her dog (a pug) and my friend said she doesn't have fleas (people mistake it for a flea collar) and I said its supposed to soothe....about 10 min later during the final part of the fireworks she said hey Bella is not panting and in the middle of this she jumped off my friends lap and walked over to her bowl and got a drink and then lay in her bed, my friend said can I buy this from you, I said consider it a gift, so it worked on her dog and I wouldn't have belived it if I didn't see it myself. I also had a Pheramone Diffuser inches off his crate that did nothing for him either.
I have used Vermont Naturals Calming Treats and Rescue Remedy for Pets. I took the Rescue Remedy myself and it did quiet my racing mind but I didn't see anything different with my dog using either of these but I still use it today on him. One of my dog sitters has a very calm Golden Retriever who becomes a frantic nutcase with fireworks and I gave her the remains of my bag of Vermont Calming Treats and I said I see nothing but maybe it will work for you. A few days later she contacted me and asked where I got them because it was the first time in her dogs 8 yrs that he was not frantic, he was still anxious but she said it was 100% better, she doubled the dose on the 4th of July.
You could try these items and while I seen the collar work on that dog and the other person was stunned that her dog could tolerate fireworks with the calming treats, none of this worked on my dog and I continue to use calming treats and rescue rememdy daily.
My pup is on medication for his anxiety and I really really struggled about doing this but you know how it hurts you to see them in such distress but my dog was also harming himself he would spin and rip fur from his tail, dig until his nails bleed, chew the bars of his crate not to escape but to soothe I think cause clearly his teeth are no match to the crate and he could easily have gotten thru but he'd have bloody mouth, he'd lick until he had raw spots and he'd be frantic howling all the time, never stopping he was exhausted when we got home and he was only alone for 2 1/2 hrs (I have dog sitters) and it just killed me to see this distress he had and I can't belive it but hours after the medication we started to see some positive changes and now a month in, he is a different dog, he is not frantic although he is still not happy if we leave him but he is getting much better and not harming himself and the howling and self harm has decreased to almost not there, his fur has grown back and you'd think yeah right he was pulling his fur out.
But I am sure there are some folks on here with noise phobic dogs that can offer you much better advice for sure. This is a great group and welcome and please post some pictures of your dogs.
have a great day
on 01-12-2014 12:20 AM
Thanks Carol for the reply. I have no clue in a sense. I have tried all that I learned from the classes that Luther and I went to and have seen Ceasar on Tv treat dogs with noise issues. I have never seen one with such a broad range of sounds. As you said Fireworks, gunshots, doorbells, windchimes, counter bells like those on a store counter, Hand bells playing the Christmas Carols. I know I am forgetting MANY. And if she is asleep and is awakened by something like the floors popping. We just had below Zero in Ky. and she jumped up and looked for a place to run. When we rescued her I was told that she was a stray on the loose. No history. I know that someone had owned her because the minute I put a leash on her she walked at my left side with no pull what so ever. Sat on command at my side. All sorts of things. So someone dumped her out here in the country and someone saw her I am sure and called them. I am thinking she may have been shot at when looking for food or something. We have coyotes around here but I think most people here know the difference between a Shepherd and a coyote! My thinking was that my male Shepherd is so calm and not afraid of sounds other than fireworks but will tolerate if by my side would be able to help keep her calm over time when he doesn't run from sounds. Her protective nature outside is to look for a place to go hide or jump on our back door. But then will come and try to round up Luther and I and get us to follow her to the house. She will do this over and over. I tried the reassuring approach without coddling her. That does make her feel a little safer after a few minutes but she still can't sit next to me for long. Once we get inside she will not go back out until it is dark. We have privacy fence as well and she still is afraid.
We thought it was anxiety but it is just the sounds. I set up a camera I borrowed from the neighbors and the UPS guy came and rang the doorbell before I learned I had to disconnect it! She bolted to the guest bedroom. Jumped on the high bed and began clawing the comforter trying to dig a hole to climb in. Now she goes under the desk and gets tangled in the wires of the computer. We have tried drugs. Amytriptoline or something like that. It didn't help at all. We gave for about 6 months as they said it would take about a month for the effect to be steady. It never did. The thundershirt didn't work but she liked it! I wondered if she had been some sort of dog in training as the thundershirt is like one of those vests or maybe the previous owner dressed her in a sweater LOL! Thanks and I will try these options as at this point everything is on the table to try. I don't want to make it worse but wondered if I made some of these sounds while she was with me. She is even afraid of the beep when I turn on our stainless range hood. That new fancy thing has led display etc and when yoou turn it on and off it will beep. Scares her to death. But the timer on the stove and microwave don't when they ding. It is strange. Our Micro is in a cubby in our island in the kitchen at her face level. Maybe because she is sitting in front of it when it does it she is not scared. I even alert her when I have to make one of these sounds so she knows it is me and it scares her. This is odd as I was raised with shepherds and never had this. This is the drawback with rescues as you never know. I am glad we got her. Not to pat myself on the back but she has destroyed about 800$ of furniture and she is still.....with us! I know it is fear so I can tolerate for a little longer. But either she or I will be on meds if it doesn't get better! Thanks again. All imput is welcome and appreciated. The girl Cheyenne is the first little one the day we brought her home from rescue and the second is Luther my boy. A big sweetheart!
on 01-11-2014 06:20 PM
I have a mixed breed girl who was found in a WalMart dumpster with her 8 puppies. She is 3 years old or a little older. I have had her for over 2 years now and she is my ANGEL IN WHITE! Anyway, when I first got her she was a complete basket case and could not stand to be touched on her tail or around her neck. She also was noise intolerant - particularly thunder, lightning and gargage trucks! I found the answer to my prayers was a Thundershirt! This shirt "swaddles" the dog or "cuddles" her really tightly. The shirt is wonderful and I think if you try it you will find a world of difference for your kid. Thumby was afraid of thunder and lightning to the point where she became catatonic - the vet prescribed Xanax for her and I tried this at first - I did NOT like the effects this med had on her as she became very lethargic, slept under the bed or anywhere but being close to me where I needed her to be. I thought about what she had gone through when she was abandoned - I found out that some ahole had swung my poor girl by the root end of her tail around and around into the trashcan - I am talking aobut those huge metal trash cans that sit behind large stores - whoever had her before me had thrown her away - I am guessing because she was pregnant but I dont know that for sure. What I do know is that I couldnt stand seeing her go into the catatonic state where she was totally and completely terrified and was drooling, crying, shaking & trembling like a leaf, wouldnt let me touch her, NOTHING would help her. I read up on dogs and the differnt ways they exhibit their trauma and found the Thunderdog site on the Internet. I SWEAR by this shirt, Eric! I am not exagerating when I say that she actually comes to me to put her shirt on (she can sense the storms coming a lot earlier then I can) and she waits until I get the shirt on her before she will sit up next to me on our bed and get comfortable. She still trembles but not nearly as much as she did - no more drooling, no more crying, no more catatonic behavior at all! I was stunned by the shirt and its effect on her! You will be too. For around $30 US you can get the regular thundershirt in the size you need. The shirt wraps around and under the dogs chest and belly and is attached by velcro. You want to make it good and tight so that the dog feels like it is being cradled and cuddled by the cloth. I think you will find this to be the best solution you can come across. I now carry a shirt in the truck, in the house - Thumby has wonter shirts now, summer shirts, rain shirts, sweaters and they even make a Thundercoat now but not in the size my girl needs unfortunately. She totally adores her shirts and is the most happiest dog since I found them and introduced her to them - she still is scared during storms, hates the trash truck (ignores it totally now), and puts up with my neighbors popping rounds off or setting fireworks off. When the neighbor does this we just shut the door, put the Thundershirt on, nestle up on the bed and watch a movie or two and she is quite comfortable and calm with the shirt on - she snores like a trooper when she sleeps and I can tell she is most comfortable in the house during storms, fireworks, etc., when she has her Thundershirt on. No I am NOT an advertisement for the shirt - I am an actual long term user and I swear by the shirts. Try one - you have nothing to lose but your dogs horrible reactions - even the most crazed animal that I know of loves the Thundershirt. Let me know if you need the URL but you should easily find the website by a simple search for the Thundershirt. Good luck and do NOT give up on your kid - alot of love, patience and understanding will get both of you through this miserable time - when you both get through the other side you will be the closest of buddies and you will not believe you even went through this in the first place!
on 01-12-2014 12:46 AM
Thanks for the reply and suggestions. I will try all that is suggested. I did try the Thundershirt and she liked wearing it okay but it didn't help once we found out it was the fear of many sounds. Just a little ting sound of a stores counter bell. Hand bells playing Christmas carols. Windchimes Big range hood has beep when you turn it on and off. Of course fireworks and guns and many others. I have tried meds like ace, forgot the whole name. I think maybe amytriptoline but that may be wrong. I know whatever it was is refered to as ace. She was on for 6 months as we were told it would take a solid month or more to totally get into her system. We had to wean her off it I know as well. It never worked. The Thindershirt she wore okay but it never worked. The UPS driver rang the bell before I had learned that it was not anxiety but sounds. She went nuts and we had recorded it on a neighbors camera. She was sleeping when the doorbell rang and she was terrified and running around looking for a place to hide as if she was shot at. That is how she is when a doorbell rings on tv in a commercial. We thought that once she adjusted to living with us and being around Luther who is so mellow that she would learn from him and that has not happened. That guy looks at her when she is scared and then looks at me as if to say what in the world is wrong with her! I will look at all suggestions and try then all one by one. So far 800$ in a couple leather chairs so what is a little more money right! She is otherwise a smart daring girl that loves to be loved. She is even frightened when sitting by my side. It is like once the self protect mode kicks in she is hard to connect with. She was a stray the rescue said. She was about 2 1/2 to 3 when we got her. Luther we bought as a pup. Someone worked with her though before getting rid of her. She is excellent on a leash. Never pulls. Will sit on your side when told or heal and will stay on the left side as I walk without being directed. Right on my calf. Sometimes when there is a new sound she will pause as if to think about it. Sometimes she goes into scared mode and other times she will be wary for a bit but go one. But you never know. She hates the sounds of the graphics on the local news that makes a swoosh sound when they go from story to story and the sounds of the graphics of fox sports during football games. I don't often watch them but will have one on if I am working on something. Boom there she goes. So now I don't. But I have had her hear a ding in a song while listening to music and that will make her pause. When we leave she is okay. We have that on camera. But then when there is a sound she is afraid of. NUTS!
on 01-11-2014 06:31 PM
Eric - I am sorry 0 I didnt pick up on the fact that you tried the Thundershirts. I also use a series of CD's that I found that are specifically tailored to the various anxiety problems dogs have - check out Through a Dog's Ear - these are CD's that utilize music to calm your canine companion. They are NOT cheap to pick up either but I have found that they are well worth the money - there are 6 different CD's in the series - they were created by Victoria Stillwell and are for the Treatment and Prevention of Anxiety in Dogs - there is one for Thunderstorms, another for Fireworks, City Sounds, and three volumes of different music to deeply relax dogs with anxiety problems. I have tried them and Thumby LOVES them as well - if I have to leave her at home I leave these on and she is quite content to listen to them all. You can also try to get your dog accustomed to the TV better - try out Dog TV - it is designed to keep dogs entertained when we are away at work or on the road separated from them. Thumby is no longer the anxious, frightened and scarified girl that I first met - she is a loving, content, and bery happy dog thanks to the tools provided to us by the Thundershirt as well as these music sessions. Hope you enjoy classical music! Thumby and I wish you the very best of luck! Your girl will get better you will see!
on 01-12-2014 12:56 AM
Thumbelina I forgot to say thanks I believe for both of your replies and I will most certainly update you and all that help with suggestions if I come across one of the suggestions that work. My next project will be to build her a custom indoor house and place it is a corner that she can feel safe in to see what happens. I tried with a thick metal crate that houdini couldn't get out of and she bent and broke it. Have had it welded a couple times. I covered it as someone suggested to make it dark and feel safe. That didn't helo when we were gone. Sometimes she would use to sleep but not often. I will make this so that she can come and go when she wants. I don't think she cared for being shut in the crate. That may have come from getting picked up by the recue shelter. But thanks again and I will try. The drug we had her on didn't help her. It is the same drug they give Luther to sedate him before going in for test etc. It will knock him out like a bad drunk. I gave it to him once so we could check his hips for displaysia (that has to be wrong spelling). He has none at all. Now 6ish. heading to 7.
on 01-12-2014 12:36 PM
PM me as I have the calming music CD, it's mostly classical and my dog was weaned on rock and roll, this did nothing either.
Your Pups anxiety may require medication.....Biko is on Tranzodone which hours after he went in the yard by himself at night....you know there are monsters lurking, this medication seemed to have boosted his confidence and returned my fearless boy....the we added Fluoextine which is Prozac and the tail chewing, digging, howling stopped.... I took Biko to a behaviorist Vet at University of Pennsylvania Animal Hospital, well respected Vet School and it was this mix of meds they came up with and I hated the thought, it scared me.....but amazing as well Biko had bad digestive issues (runs) several times a day always on Monday with no change in diet....he hasn't had loose stool in a month....that alone is huge hw would you like to have that happen daily..... That was his stress wrecking havoc on his digestive distress.
You would never know he s on medication, there is zero outward sign that anyone woud notice he is not mellow or like a bad drunk...he is not clumsy or disoriented etc....it's kinda like you took an aspirin for headache....no one sees you have a headache but your headache is gone, it didn't change you outside......that is what surprised me, my last dog had siezures and the meds didn't work well and he had even worse siezures on the meds....so you can imagine my hesitation in putting my puppy on this....I kept waiting to see signs it was doing something but it was just his attitude that changed....his confidence boosted, his attention span has gotten better and he can relax and chomp a bone, he couldn't do that before the TV was distracting,a car going up the street, the neighbors decorations etc and the list goes on..... The Vet Behavorist said to me if I brought Biko there and they diagnosed him with Diabetes would I refuse to give him Insulin? I said no....they said just because there is no blood work to confirm this it doesn't mean that he doesn't have it and they felt he had severe anxiety....he is a different dog today....in a positive way.....
Your girl is adorable...great looking pup for sure! Thanks for pictures!
Keepin mind what works for one may or may not work for another....just like the natural holistic things did nothing for Biko and yet it worked on other dogs. I couldn't even get a thunder shirt on my dog.... He hates to feel restricted....it's anything but soothing to him. This week he has to be fully sedated to have a nail trim....my sweet sweet boy turns on full aggression with intent to inflict serious injury to anyone daring to trim his nails, it takes four or five people and him muzzled and thrashing and acting like a rabid animal trying to escape and he loves everyone after as long as clippers are not in sight.... His nails are so long and five weeks of conditioning him up to eight times a day I touch his feet and we are nowhere near clipping and it's about 1-3 seconds I can touch him. Before his last trim i was 30-35 seconds and clippers out in the open even touching his feet or putting it next to him.
Just thought of this you said your Micro is low and you alert your pup to the noise, have you tried to make the noise with instant treat reward,good treat not a hard biscuit....maybe liverwurst or something stinky.....so she can associate this with good things. Who knows what happened to her in her previous life but how lucky she ended up with you and your patience. Keep up the good work and keep us posted, I hope you will see some progress soon. Turn the noise into a reward noise rather than panic.... A trainer told me a client had two big dogs and then a little 5lb dog and the little dog would scream if things where chaos and the big dogs see this as almost injured prey and would go after the small dog, so the owner changed it to when the little dog screamed the big dogs were rewarded, it redirected them from attacking her to looking for a a snack.... Sometimes we have to think outside the box....all these phobias and anxiety it's not one size fits all that is for sure and no one know why it happens and why one dog coud be calm cool and another a nervous Nellie but its like kids...you could have a quiet child or a child that has more energy and is outgoing....you accept your kids for what they are, so in your pet you can't say she is a shepherd and therefore should be XYZ....You have to embrace it for what it is and work with it from there.
It can be so frustrating cause you just want your dog to be better and know she is safe and content but these anxiety disorders don't fix over night, so hang in there and keep us posted.
on 01-12-2014 01:07 PM
Ace is usually short for Acepromazine, which is now known to cause noise phobia in dogs. Ace isn't a typical form of treatment for pets with any type of anxiety today because of its noise phobia side effect and the fact that it doesn't treat the true problem. Ace is only a sedative; the mind is still active and racing, but the body is relaxed. Today, most veterinarians or veterinary behaviorists prescribe either Clomicalm or Reconcile (canine form of Prozac) for various types of anxiety including noise phobias.
In late June 2013, Pet360 had a Google+ Hangout I watched live regarding noise phobia and what one could do to help their pet get through the upcoming 4th of July holiday with as little stress as possible. Here's the video of that hangout, I hope you find this as informative as I have.
Please let us know if the video provided any ideas that you try for your pups.
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