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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16792
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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I have a 2 year old Aussie Springer mix, shes a real sweetie.

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I have a 2 year old Aussie Springer mix, she's a real sweetie. 3 days ago she started acting different, clinging to me all the time, follows me everywhere, she's almost acting like something scared her. She's very nervous during thunderstorms and we've been getting quite a few of them lately, I give her the calming treat tablets, but she's never gotten clingy after the storms before, today she was laying on my bed while I'm on the computer, as soon as she heard a nose she came running to me and laid on my feet and put her head on my lab, sometimes I feel like she could get inside of me if she could. I don't know if I should contact my vet.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 11 months ago.

Hi Simone,

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My name is Jane. I have worked with animals professionally for over 17 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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She sounds like she has developed a noise phobia. These are pretty common. Sometimes they start because a specific noise startles them and a human comforts them and shows them attention for the behavior by reassuring them. The dog thinks that the behavior is acceptable because he gets positive attention when he does it, so the next time there is a noise, he repeats it and gets more attention. So in many cases, the owner has inadvertently contributed to the situation. The best thing you can do when a dog gets spooked is to treat it like nothing and make it an upbeat situation. Laugh or ignore the dog.

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. Many dogs have reactions to different noises. This is really a problem around the 4th of July and fireworks. For things like thunderstorms, 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. Positive reinforcement would include calm praise and hot dog slices or other tasty treat (not regular treats. So if you have specific noises that spook her like thunderstorms, tape those and use it.

You then gradually increase the volume slowly until your dog is desensitized to the noise. 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

Another prescription drug would be Xanax but I have to caution you not to give any prescription drug to your dog without consulting your vet first. I know many people have this around, but always check with a vet first.

http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/alprazolam-xanax/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 if you try this. You can read about this here:

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

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Another treatment is Melatonin which you can read about here. 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. The good part is since this is not a medication, it can be used in conjunction with medications if needed.

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I usually start with desensitization using the taped noise and positive reinforcement for desired behavior in conjunction with the DAP collar. I think that you will find that using these techiques will help stop her nervous behavior.

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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 click here and 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 11 months ago.

This morning while I was sleeping and had my door closed, my 11 year old grandson said she followed him everywhere, and wanted to get in his room, get on his bed where he has it fixed up like a tent, it's like she's hiding from something, today I can't get nothing done, she's all over me, she even seems to be scared of our other dog, a 2 year old Rot. usually they love to play together, I tried playing ball with her, she doesn't even seem excited about that. I hope some of the neighbor kids haven't done something to her, the school bus picks up the kids in front of our house. We have a chain length fence all around our property. Is there a possibility some of her blood work could be off quilter. She's been spayed and already had a litter of puppies by the time she was 1 year old

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 11 months ago.
Simone,
.
Many times dogs which have a phobia or are anxious for one thing also develop phobias about other things. So it is possible that there is another trigger for the phobia. However, many dogs when they do not feel good will indeed tend to hide. When they first don't feel good they might be a bit more clingy but usually they will go off and find a place to be by themselves. Since other dogs will often attack a dog having medical issues, it would be natural for her to avoid other dogs, so maybe there is a medical issue starting even when there are yet no obvious symptoms such as a loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. If the behavior continues, then I would likely have her seen and have bloodwork run.
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I also hope no one has tried to hurt her. You can do a physical exam on her checking each leg carefully for any sore spots and including around the rectal area and abdomen. If you find a spot where she is sensitive that might indicate an injury. Let me know if you find a sensitive area.
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16792
Experience: Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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