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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18943
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Our 11.5 year old black lab mix (male, named Sai) has become

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Our 11.5 year old black lab mix (male, named Sai) has become increasingly anxious over the past 6 months and it seems tied to a very strange trigger ---- our 3 year old son Logan. Logan gets sick quite frequently (common toddler colds, cough) and it seems whenever he coughs, Sai gets agitated, especially if it's the middle of the night and Logan comes into our room to sleep (Sai sleeps on the floor in our room too). When Logan coughs, Sai gets up, starts panting, pacing, knocking things over in the room, scratching at the door. So we let him out of the room and once we close the door, he scratches to come back in. During the day, when Logan coughs, Sai finds anything and everything to knock over, pull at, scratch, nudge. He goes on long walks twice a day - once in the morning and once at night. He also has thunder/fireworks anxiety, although it has calmed over the years (he used to rip up our couch, knock lamps over, but now he just pants and paces). We don't know what to do to help him, and our loss of sleep every night is exhausting! Any advice you can give us? Thanks!!

Hi Sir or Madam,

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My name isXXXXX professionally worked with animals for over 16 years dealing with both health and behavioral issues. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

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it sounds like this reaction to your son's cough is an offshoot of the noise phobia that he has. I think the same techniques that work for thunder and other noise phobias will work for logan's cough.

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For things like thunderstorms, fireworks, and other noises, some people tape the noise and play it back at lower volumes while playing with the dog and providing positive reinforcement for the dog's lack of anxiety while the noise is played at low volumes. I personally suggest paper thin hot dog slices or liver slivers. You then gradually increase the volume slowly until your dog is desensitized to the noise. You could take your son's coughing and do this to help sai get adjusted to the cough. It would also work to help him become less affected by thunder as well if you use the same technique for thunder and any other noise that bothers him.

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Your vet could prescribe a medication called Acepromazine, which is a tranquilizer. You can read about this here:

http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/acepromazine-promace-aceproject/page1.aspx

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Many people get Rescue Remedy to help with noise phobias. Be sure you get the kind that does NOT contain Xylitol. You can read about this here:

http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/rescue_remedy.htm

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It may also be available in your local pet store as well. Benadryl is often used as it does tend to calm your dog. Benadryl can be given to your dog, the dose is up to 2mg per pound every 8 hours. Benadryl in not a sedative though so it won't put your dog to sleep.

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Another treatment is Melatonin which you can read about below. Most health stores have this. It has been shown to work well for noise phobias.

http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/melatonin-melatonex/page1.aspx

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DAP collars might help a bit as well. They produce pheromones that mimic the ones produced by a nursing mom to calm her pups. It has proven to be helpful with this problem but was used in conjunction with desensitization so it is unknown if the collar or the training was the major factor in resolving the problem. Since they use a pheromone, medication can be used as well. This may be a quick solution to the problem, so it is worth trying. Vet offices and pet stores have these for sale.

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I also forgot to let you know that when you show a dog attention for unwanted behavior by massaging them, reassuring them or other attention, it encourages the behavior. Instead of reassuring your dog, put him in a crate and ignore him so he can not destroy anything. You would do this when you are not training and can not avoid the noise that is bothering him

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I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .

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If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may clickhereand bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Great thanks Jane - I will try some of the above and see how it goes. Really appreciate the quick response!