Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Total Subject Switch/ Dog Problems/Canine Mental Illness

This post will probably only be interesting to you if you are a "dog person".

Well, this has little to do with our adoption, but it's on my mind all the same.
We have a 3 year old male German Shepherd Dog named Hunter. We adopted him at 4 months from an animal shelter. He has the softest temperment of any German Shepherd I've ever worked with & is a real sweetie. He does not require strong correction. He is very obedient & trainable. He passed his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification & earned his Therapy Dog International (TDI) license before he turned two. He is very sensitive & snuggly...and he is sick.

It started over a year ago when he became startled when he met a pony. He jumped back & barked frantically. I got him calmed down & then we hung out around the pony for awhile so he could relax in it's presence. Then he decided one day that a paper bag on the floor was something dangerous/highly suspicious. Very random. Later on, he decided he didn't feel safe in small enclosed areas like a hallway. He could not tolerate anyone besides family leaning over the baby gate to talk to him & would ever so slightly growl. That is NOT my sweet Hunter! I would immediately verbally correct him and he would snap out of it but then it would be a problem again the next time. Now, just this week, he has been choosing random areas on our floor & deciding they are scary. He'll stare at them, walk careful around them etc.

We have been to our vet (who I really respect) several times & have tried canine anti-anxiety meds. with no helpful results.
We are obviously well past the point where he can work as a therapy dog & I am concerned we are continuing to move in a direction I do NOT want to go! My vet says Hunter basically is suffering from mental illness.

Anyone out there have any experience with this? I've been searching for more info. & have been finding very little. Hunter is a sweet boy & a part of our family. This is a big concern. Thanks!


Christina said...

Oh Patty, i'm so sorry. No i don't have any information. I thought i'd run across it all with my dogs (and cats). But i've never heard of it. Any other anti-anxiety drugs you can try? have you checked out Homeopathic remedies? What about allergies? Some allergy symptoms cause what appear to be mental health issues. If you want to discuss this further, feel free to email me: repucci@netzero.net. I'm praying for you, even more now.

Christina said...

Patty, i'll ask around. This is one site a friend suggested:


~Rachel~ said...

Praying for you, gal. I love that dog, even if I've only met him a few times. Hang in there. He is faithful!

Christina said...

Patty, I've asked my dog loving friends if they've ever heard of this and what they might recommend. Some of what i heard wasn't encouraging, but i'll hand it to you anyway so you can consider everything. Oh, and everyone said they'd never heard of such a thing. But it was amazing how all of them came up with a suggestion or two or three. I hope i've remembered everything. I also hope you see this post, because with the excitement about the upcoming adoption... (i'm so excited for you...)

1. Has his vision been checked?
2. Did you have him checked for brain tumors? (may it not be)
3. Have you looked into Bach Flower remedies? Maybe i should ask if you have even heard of them? One of the products, Rescue Remedy, is supposed to be fantastic. And it's good even if the dog isn't a rescue.
Here is the site: http://www.bachflower.com/
I've found it at my local health food store, but i haven't tried it yet - for me or the dogs. ;-)
4. Pheromones for dogs.
here's a link, though i've seen it offered at pet stores too.
Here is an interesting variation on the pheromones
5. Prayer from your local Healing Rooms?
link: http://healingrooms.com/
k, i don't know if you have a local healing room, but it's worth a look, imho. :-)

blessings on all of you.