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Miztiki

Boyden challenged me and I need help

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Oh Beck's Mom! Delta is going on 5 years old and she still talks back. She is more dominant than the other 3 and pushes her boundaries in just the cutest little ways! Although I appreciate just how darned stinkin cute she is, I have to be consistant in enforcing the rules and it may never end or who knows, as she becomes geriatric, she may tire. I just have to keep the smiles, oohs and aahs all to myself.

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Gee, thanks Annette...couldn't you have just lied to me and told me this is just a phase? *LOL*

 

Miztiki: While I am sorry that you are having problems with Boy...I feel your pain and am also reading the responses here hungrily, as Beck has growled at my cats lately if she even thinks they might be looking at her chew bone. It's okay if I take it away from her...and she feels safe leaving it in my office with me, but I don't want any harm to come to my cats and don't like this new behavior.

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I typed out a long response but there's a bug on the boards that won't keep me logged in, so I'll keep this real short.

 

Vet saw Boy today, saw unusual behavior, is quite concerned, did blood test and will probably refer to a neurologist.

 

Boy sees behaviorist Tuesday.

 

I hope it's something I'm doing wrong and not something neurological. He's been a bit "off" lately. I cried alot yesterday and today. Thanks for all the suggestions and support guys.

 

Hope this goes through...

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Oh gosh...I hope it's not neurological either!

 

Um...what about that tick born thing? (Sorry, don't remember what that is called) but are they checking for that seeing that Boy has been swimming in ticks lately???

 

Keep us posted.

 

Denise

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Miz,

I am not experienced enough with this kind of issue to give advice but I thought these might cheer you up a little. The bottomline, he is a sweet boy. Let me konw if there is anything I can do to help.

 

boy_resting.jpg

 

boyjazzy.jpg

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I'm not quite sure what to say other than I'll pray that Boyden's issues will be quickly resolved.

 

Your dogs are both very fortunate to have YOU!

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How do you make your pictures come out so clear? They both look great but if I recall, there were a few more than that... :D That was really fun. We should do it again.

 

I think the bugs are gone from the board so I'll elaborate from earlier.

 

I took Boyden to the vet and told her a bit about some things he's been doing lately. He was acting strange (not himself) while there and she said there's definately something not right about him. I asked her if she thought it was behavioral and she said that might be part of it, but that she was really concerned with what she was seeing because "that's not the Boy I know".

 

She listened to his breathing and said it didn't sound normal to her, so we did x-rays. He has a bit of infection and interstitial (sp) patterning (still gotta look that one up, more than she would expect to see at his age, and that his heart appeared a little enlarged. She said she wasn't overly concerned by anything she was seeing on the x-rays though.

 

She drew blood for a full body panel (thyroid, liver, kidneys, etc.) and a heartworm test. She said she'll probably refer him to a neurologist but will wait for the results to come in tomorrow. She gave me her home and cell number in case I need her.

 

What happened last night was more than what you think, based on most posts and suggestions. I'm almost positive that if I hadn't backed off that he would have really hurt me. (I can't believe I'm actually saying that. :rolleyes: ) Nothing I have ever come up against from a dog has ever made me so afraid. I let them out, shut the door, then started shaking and just cried. I've been crying on and off since. He glared at me with cold, hard eyes and took a step towards me when I stared back at him. He didn't growl, he just stood there with his head lowered a bit and his body frozen and stared at me and smiled, then took a step towards me without blinking. THIS IS NOT LIKE HIM!!!

 

On the way back from North Carolina I had a couple hours to kill in the swampy area of Louisiana. I took some back roads and ended up on a pretty little gravel road along a lake with lots of pretty little houses. Someone's black lab was loose and followed my car. We were driving really slow. Anyway, Boy usually barks at dogs or even people when he's in the car. He's still learning what "shhh" means. He didn't just bark at this dog, but he went crazy. I was a bit concerned that he would break the windows trying to get at him or jump on my head or something. He was vicious, not like the Cujo he used to be (acts big and bad but doesn't really mean it), but vicious.

 

He did something similar a few days ago when Fynne was eating in her crate. He was all over that crate and was downright vicious. Even if she did give him dirty looks or something, his reaction was WAY over the top, same as the car incident. This all started just very recently.

 

Boyden has never shown aggression towards me when it comes to food. If he's eating and I call him, he happily trots to me. If I approach him while eating, he just looks at me like "hi mom" and isn't the slightest bit uncomfortable. I'm always cautious about taking food away from any dog but he's never resisted or shown any resentment about it at all. Even if my idea of having Fynne near while he was eating yesterday was a bad idea, it still doesn't explain why he did what he did.

 

Even if there is a medical reason for his behavior I'll still see the behaviorist. I'm sure I'm doing some things wrong.

 

Annette, what you described about the sneaky and alpha/beta and all makes some sense. It doesn't explain the overreaction but it definately makes sense and I'll run that by the behaviorist.

 

When Boy went after the cat over the bone months back I did something similar, sorta. I took the bone and got the cat and sat down near Boy, put the bone down and put the cat on top of it. I told him that's MY bone and that there's no reason for him to act like that, blah blah blah. It went over well with him. Never had a problem after that, though the cat doesn't really go by Boy when he's eating.

 

I'm tired and just putting my thoughts on here more than anything. Sorry to get so detailed but I can always come back to this thread for future reference. I'll see what the vet and the behaviorist has to say. Thanks for being there for me.

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Miz,

 

Not sure if you even want to think about this anymore but I did some reading in Behavior Problems in Dogs by William Campbell. It's an old one for me. He writes a bit about behavior problems (aggression) that are endocrine related. All of the ones that seem like they could apply to Boy's case are following steriod prescription and in the case of thyroid disfunction following steriod use, neutering or allergies.

 

Mr. Campbell states that dogs on the brink of certain behavioral issues that could be exacerbated by steriod use include: Aggressiveness, Excitability During Isolation, Submissive urination during stress, and Tendencies Toward Excessive Vocal and/or physical Tension-relieving Activity.

 

So things can be exacerbated by giving him steriods and it just doesn't go away but can get worse.

 

So your doc is on it by taking his blood. And all this stuff here is fixable if it's his hormones, ok?

 

Annette

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Originally posted by Miztiki:

Anyway, Boy usually barks at dogs or even people when he's in the car. He's still learning what "shhh" means. He didn't just bark at this dog, but he went crazy. I was a bit concerned that he would break the windows trying to get at him or jump on my head or something. He was vicious, not like the Cujo he used to be (acts big and bad but doesn't really mean it), but vicious.

Paying rapt attention here, because Beck started doing this a few months ago and we have been working on changing this behavior. As she also started being snarky/lunging/growling/baring teeth at dogs leaving the dog park when she is on her leash and we are entering, I thought this was her being possesive and protecting me. (I haven't been able to walk her around the neighborhood anymore because of this. *sigh*) And she also acts like this at the front door if someone/something she perceives as a threat is even across the street.

 

Now lately, she lunges at and growls at my cats if she thinks they are even thinking about looking at her bone. I can take this bone right out of her mouth and she has no problem with that. But heaven forbid the cats should be even 5 feet away from this sacred bone....

 

Anyway, Miztiki, I truly pray for you and Boyden, and hope it's not a neurological problem...because if it is, Beck might have the same thing. :rolleyes: I'm praying it is just a behavioral issue for both of them...and that part of it is due to their loving us too much because we love them too much (if this is possible).

 

I do believe that I have had Beck longer than any of her past owners, and that that time is increased exponentially because we are together nearly 24/7/365. Just as you are with Boyden and Fynne. For the first time, Beck no longer suffers from fear of abandonment...and that alone is causing problems. But I am so very glad that she is over this fear. And we will work out the other problems. I hope. Just as I hope that you can work out these problems with Boyden. (((HUGS)))

 

BTW...I have never feared for my safety around Beck...other than fearing that she is going to knock me down and break some bones when she charges at me like a freight train, or that she is going to put my eye out trying to wake me up in the morning. (Issues we have been working on, trust me. *S*) So I do understand your concern/fear now that Boy could turn on you. I would hate to be afraid of Beck...and my heart goes out to you.

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I'm typing this for my own benefit for later...

 

I don't know if what's been going on with Boy lately is behavioral or organic or both. I could see it going both ways.

 

There have been some subtle changes in Boy recently. I'd noticed a week or so before going to NC that he seemed a little "off". He was eating and drinking well, playful, full of energy, etc. He just acted funny sometimes. Sometimes there was a look in his eyes that was different. He usually has soft, friendly, happy and even playful eyes, or he has focused and expectant eyes, like when we are training.

 

The last several days I've seen the look alot more. It's almost as if he's wary of me, or doesn't trust me. It's not a fearful look, but a "I don't know if I trust you or not" look.

 

Say I tell him to sit and he doesn't. As always I will enforce it, by going to him and putting my hand on his butt if I have to. That seems to be happening more frequently lately. The look he gives me is almost like he doesn't want to be told what to do, but will do it. This is new, though I haven't changed the way I do things.

 

Today he's been looking at me like that alot. He follows me with his eyes but they are not soft. They are not hard either, but unsettling just the same.

 

He has been soliciting attention from me all day today, something he hasn't done since I first adopted him. As in the beginning, he will put his chin on my lap and look up at me. He also licked my neck real slow and soft, just like he did at the shelter when I was checking him out.

 

He is not the most affectionate dog and does not ask for attention by pawing or bringing toys or things like that. I can call him to me and initiate affection in certain ways, like running my hands over his face, or doing my own little version of wiggle-butt. That gets his butt wiggling and he'll walk between my legs while I wiggle and rub his back. His tail always wags and we both love it. On an average day I spend very little time petting him unless it's praise for doing something I asked. It's not often that I pet him just for the sake of petting him.

 

Ok, so maybe he's been seeing a way to move up the ladder and he's been eyeballing me. Maybe the attention seeking is related to last night's incidence. So I lean towards behavioral problem with this train of thought and feel that I've not been the leader I should be.

 

But on the other hand, how does that explain his behavior towards the vet today? He loves Dr. Martin. He's very comfortable at the vet and has always happily gone to her like the stereotypical happy lab. Today was different the second she walked in the door though, and she commented on it right away.

 

He looked at her funny. He didn't show any interest when she called him to her, even in an excited voice. VERY unlike him, but when the vet tech came in to bring him into x-ray and picked up his leash, he didn't get up. She called and then even tugged and he just stared at her. I even told him "ok" (release command) and to go, but he just laid there and stared. I finally had to go out the door so he would follow. When he came back in from x-ray he hid under my chair. Also NOT AT ALL like him.

 

Dr. Martin was pretty confident that he's sick somehow and was very concerned. So that's why I'm wondering if this is a behavioral thing or a medical issue.

 

Boyden has been staring at me alot today and it's kind of giving me the creeps. This is a recent thing that's becoming more common. It has given me the creeps a few times before, like when I go to enforce the sit and he looks at me like that.

 

I'm anxious to see that behaviorist! And get some medical answers! I don't know which I want more.

 

I've wondered if Fynne might have something to do with it. I don't know how. While looking up "dominant dogs" in books and online, it says the dominant ones demand attention, block you, push you, jump on you, don't like to be handled, have guarding issues, talk back, yadda yadda yadda. That's Fynne to a T! The last thing I would call her is dominant though. She's fearful and quick to act submissively.

 

Boyden on the other hand is a dominant dog to me. He's confident without being cocky. He's calm, collected, cool, not easily ruffled, takes things in stride. He does not get submissive. He would never submit to Fynne but Fynne will quickly submit to him.

 

If Fynne's eating and I or Boy go by her food, she'll act all big and tough, bark, snarl, growl, grab her food and run off, but she'll put her ears back and tuck her tail in. (Of course she's not that bad anymore since I've been working with her alot on this.)

 

If Fynne goes near Boy when he's eating, he just smiles, puts his ears and tail up, and that's it. Takes less than a second. Fynne wouldn't dare try to take his food but he can just walk up and take her food and she'll run off with her tail between her legs. (That happened once and I've since taken measures to be sure it doesn't happen again.)

 

So who's dominant? I say Boy is but nearly all that I read says that Fynne is.

 

Fynne has gotten too pushy with Boy a few times and he has quickly put her in her place. Twice I've seen him throw her on her back and put his mouth on her throat, then let her up and act like nothing happened. She looks like she's totally embarassed when he does that and acts like a puppy towards him.

 

Speaking of which, watching him with her is very similar to watching a dog with a puppy. He lets her get away with alot of crap! It reminds me SOO much of Mickey when Taz was a pup. The behaviorist said he's a good teacher dog like she uses to help dogs learn to be dogs.

 

That has me thinking. Maybe I'm not being enough of a leader in that respect so am letting him down. Most of the time she is in here with me. Boy is not allowed in here, so they are not usually right near eachother. Sometimes she'll go out and pester him to play (which he's always happy to do) and I'll let them outside to get rid of some energy. They run and run and play. She's usually the one chasing him, biting him on the neck, making a bunch of noise. He doesn't seem to mind though and if she goes off he will try to get her to play some more.

 

In the house she can get on both of our nerves. If I call Boy to me she will cut in front of him and run to me first. I always push her back and if she keeps at it I'll crate her. I can't really interact with Boy, whether playing or training, without crating her because she HAS to be the center of attention. She'll very rudely push her way between us but I'll keep her away, crating her more often than not because she's thick as a brick and doesn't get it yet. Grrr.

 

But anyway, maybe he resents her getting between us and resents me because I haven't put a complete stop to it. Maybe that's a small part of the problem?

 

Just thinking things out here.

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Miz,

 

Also consider the possibility that you're overthinking this. If any dog puts a mouth on me, he learns very quickly that he should never, ever do it again. It could be that in trying to be positive and kind to Boyden, you've done him a disservice by allowing some really destructive behaviors to develop. You may need help to break these bad habits now, but it's not your concern whether he "resents" you. He may not behave the way he has been behaving. Period.

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I really think the questions about the steroids are important. I know that steroids can have these kinds of effects on male humans. I'll see if I can find any links about that. But I know of several cases of criminal violence attributed to a young wrestler or football player's efforts to bulk up.

 

Sometimes a vet - or a doctor - ignores such information. Even the best ones. I had one doctor who wanted me to take one sinamet tablet every night, for my terribly twitchy legs. She was worried about the fact that I hadn't had a real night's sleep in several months. When I looked up side effects and called her, she was adamant that the sleep was more important and that the neurological disorders were probably rare and overstated. Ten years later, everyone acknoledges these side effects. Glad I decided to take a half a pill, only when I absolutely need it.

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I'm so sorry you are going through this Miz. My "gut" says there must be a physical reason for his actions. I hope you get your answers very fast. I can imagine the waiting is horribly frustrating. Since his strange actions included his attitude towards the vet, I can't imagine Fynne being too much of an issue. As far as pack status, it sounds to me that Boy is alpha and Fynne beta dog. Everything I've read says alpha makes quick corrections when necessary, otherwise pretty cool and collected. Fynne's behavior sounds more like one that is trying to become alpha with the pushy attitude.

 

I'll be thinking of you and Boy.

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I know that steroids can have these kinds of effects on male humans. I'll see if I can find any links about that. But I know of several cases of criminal violence attributed to a young wrestler or football player's efforts to bulk up.
Wrong steroids - the steroids athletes use are anabolic /androgens not the corticosteroids that are commonly used to treat skin problems in dogs.

 

Kim

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Hey Miz

Just a few thoughts...

Pack orders change. Boy and Fynn are rescues. Their lives have been turned upside down on lots of occasions. They have to figure the new situations out each time they enter one. That takes time. Not weeks, but months, sometimes years.

Every time I bring a dog into my house, things change. Sometimes it's not a new dog but internal pack order changes and seems to turn upside down again. Then straighten out. But will be different from before.

 

Boy maybe just getting used to his new surroundings and trying to gain position. Fynn sounds like second in command to me. Boy sounds like he's in charge. However nicely, but defiantly in charge.

You have "loved" Boy so much you might have been sending the wrong messages. Letting love get in the way of discipline. I know all about that...It happens here all the time. :rolleyes:

Wanting Boy and Fynn to be perfect buds may take years. I know my mentors would be asking me....What I want to change and why.

When Boy looks at you is he deciding who's in charge? Then you get nervous and could be sending the wrong message? Thinking about the vet trip, you are/were worried, Boy picks up on that and worries with you. I'm not considering the actual medical issues that might, or might not be going on, just the head stuff.

Take a step back from the situation, try not to worry about the psychological stuff, rule out or rule in the medical stuff. Then start a new day.

 

I have two adult daughters. There were times when they got along perfectly, and then there were years...and I mean YEARS...where they hated each others guts. Point being...things are always changing in a family. Be it Human or Dog!

 

I'm thinking about you and how you?re feeling. Sending positive thoughts your way.

Why don't you take a break from the dogs today or tomorrow, go shopping, or swimming, do something without the dogs. I know they are your life, but you all could use a break. You'll be happier to see them, less stressed, and so will they. Remember absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or at least clears the mind from the present.

Hope you have a relaxing day.

Kristen

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Miz, Kristen has some very valid points about pack order being diverse even on a given day. Based on what you said here in your post I'd say that Boy sees you as leader and Fynne sees Boy as leader and maybe Boy has the mentality that if he has pack support he can over throw you.

 

BUT and this is a big BUT- you know your dog better than anyone and if you say something is off then you are probably right. If your vet who doesn't see Boyden every day says he's off too then that vet is a pretty darned good one (as long as you didn't say it first) and there is probably something medically wrong with him. Have you had his spine checked by x-ray for misalignment? Just another stray possibility, He could have hurt himself playing with Fynne or even when he was correcting her and went overboard that first time.

Who knows? a Chiropracter might be in order. I also read where dogs with spinal misalignment will not show pain (it's a weakness) but can show aggression. My expreience with big male dogs is that if they refuse to perform on command where they were fairly reliable before - the result has been premature onset arthritis or either the back or hips. Actually my friend just noticed similar behavior in her 6 year old agility dog and on x-ray found so much wrong (including a really bad back) with the dog it was amazing that she didn't try to kill anthing that touched her. Most of these problems didn't just start at age 6 they were there from early on and got worse over time.

 

It is always best to rule out physical stuff first before trying to dissect your dog for serious mental issues.

 

I think swimming is a fabulous idea! Or go get a facial or a pedicure. A good facial can feel like a full body massage. I imagine you can't have massages because of your back? Or I'd suggest one of those. Sounds like an awesome day I have going for you, can I come? I'm not a true girly girl either, kind of a tomboy but I endulge in these little treats now and then and I highly recommend them.

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You might want to ask your vet to check Boy's thyroid. I'm kind of experiencing something similar with one of my dogs, he's unusually moody, unusually aggressive, and something is just off. A friend suggested we check his thyroid as there seems to be a correlation between aggression and low thyroid issues. Sure enough, his was very very very low and surprised even my vet who was convinced it was behavioral. I've just started his meds so I don't know if in addition to low thyroid he ALSO has a bahavioral issue, but it's worth exploring.

 

Good luck...it just sucks to know something is up wiht your pup and not know what it is.

 

Maria

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Wow Miz, I'm in tears. Know that we are thinking about you and anxiously awaiting good news and a solution. Good luck. I really hope this gets figured out for you. It does make me worried about Tiga being on steriods too though. I want to take him off right away, he's not himself when he's on them at all. Is this a common after effect of seroids do you know Annette?

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In a book I read by a prominant behaviorist in this country he says that he sees regular cases of aggression in dogs that have been on corticosteriod therapy, most for allergy releif. He says that if a behavior problem is on the cusp of developing, that a time on corticosteroids could exacerbate the problem and if it was going to happen naturally, then it won't go away when med therapy stops.

 

Incidentally, he mentions some skin problems really have an underlying cause of low thyroid and this is why the steroids, low thyroid, and aggression can be related.

 

He recommends a complete endocrine testing and a spinal x-ray and if there is a physical problem that can be managed, then a remedial behavior modification program is likely to be successful.

 

This is only one guy's opinion and I'm going to crack yet another book today so we'll see if there is another theory or perhaps this theory will be supported by another reference.

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The vet called and said everything came back normal except the BUN (something to do with kidneys) was fairly elevated, same as Fynne. She wants me to come talk to her the day after we see the behaviorist and we'll go from there.

 

Oh gosh, don't let your eyes get leaky on me Tammy! And certainly don't abruptly stop his steroid dose if he's on them now. That can cause some serious damage because the body stops making the natural hormones when they're on steroids, so stopping cold turkey can really hurt them.

 

I know from personal experience that steroids can alter your emotional state. They can make you laugh or cry or feel scared or angry for no reason.

 

Boyden seems his old self today. I hid his dinner in a tree then sat down under the shade tree while he looked for it. He found it and brought it over to where I was and ate it. Totally normal. In all other ways he's been normal today too. We did a little training and a little playing.

 

On another subject, my husband has claimed Fynne as his own, saying she is his dog and Boy is mine. He watched me do some training with both of them, then gave it a try himself. He sucks! :rolleyes: Boy minded him really well despite the commands being different. Fynne didn't have a clue what he was asking and when he finally commanded her properly, she still blew him off! I told him it's because she knows that his commands are a mere suggestion and not a command at all. Maybe it will finally sink in!

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Ahh good to hear today was a good day. What an animal convert you've made of Mr. Tiki! Colby SAYS Loki is his and Gael is mine - yeah, right! That's just because Loki is the jobsite dog and Gael "works" with me. But I just got a new car today, so I think they both would rather ride with me!

 

I'm glad to hear Boy's inital tests look good, and hope you can get to the bottom of things this week.

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Congrats on the new car!

 

I can't believe you are 40 years old. I just can't believe it. Are you sure? :rolleyes:

 

How's Gael doing?

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