Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

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Rosiebambi
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Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Rosiebambi » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:58 am

Hello all
I am so happy to come across this forum and am in desperate need of some advice.
I have a 5 year old female Shar pei (Rosie) whom has been with me since she was 8 weeks old. She has always been quite stubborn and head strong. When its was just the 3 of us (I also have a 4 year old lurcher - Bambi) she would cry most mornings and I would allow them upstairs to have the last hour on the bed with me (mainly because I couldnt bare the crying and scratching at the door on a morning).
Lots of changes have happened in our lives over the past couple of months as we have moved in with my partner (who thankfully is a very patient man).
Most nights Rosie will whine and cry and bark, we have tried everything; ignoring her, going down and telling her off.......it stops the barking and whining for about 1/2 an hour and then she starts again. Then last week we thought we had cracked it! I purchased an anti-bark spray collar and for 2 blissful nights and mornings she was quiet. Then being the clever girl she is decided that if she was quiet enough then she could find a way to jump 2 dining room chairs and a baby gate and make it upstairs to see us (this happened 2 nights running), I wouldnt even acknowledge her when she did this just take her back downstairs and put her back into the kitchen (minimum fuss so to not reward the behaviour). Last night we took her back down a closed the kitchen door. When I got up this morning she has (quietly because of the anti-bark collar) ripped one whole strip of architrave off the door frame. She was in a real state panting and was very agitated. Is this separation anxiety? I dont believe she is a 'naughty-bad' dog and I dont want her to be anxious and distressed but this is putting strain on me and my partner bless him.
I love my dogs so much and I would never get rid of them I just want us all to live in harmony and for Rosie to stop being so naughty. She has also been refusing food recently even though I can tell she is hungry.....I dont know if its a power thing?

Any advice will be gratefully appreciated. If you need any further info then please ask, I have tried to include as much info as possible.

It may also be relevant that Rosie was quite poorly as a puppy and has always been backwards and fwds to the vets and so has been quiet babied by myself I suppose. She was also the first dog me and my family got (we now have 3 between us) and its like she is the princess of the dogs.......if that makes sense.

Look fwd to your reponses,

Many Thanks

Karen :|

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Horace's Mum » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:11 am

It is not a power thing. Dogs don't do that.

It sounds to me like she is very stressed by the changes that a new partner brings, and she has done her best to tell you but is now shouting it out. Sadly the whining was her letting you know she is anxious - am I right in thinking you moved in with him, so they have moved house? By using the spray collar you have probably made her more anxious - she is worried, then she gets a nasty spray, which makes her more anxious because she can't tell you in case she gets sprayed again . So she learns to stay quiet, but is now worried about not being able to get to you AND because she doesn't understand why she is beign sprayed. So she very cleverly works out how to get to you to try and tell you she is anxious, but then is only rewarded by being shut away even more. That leaves her little option but to start finding some way of relieving the stress, leading to the chewing and destruction. Stopping eating is a further demonstration of her anxiety. I am not saying this to make you feel guilty, i just want you to try and turn your mind around and see it from her point of view.

If she has always been bit spoiled, then she will be dealing with an awful lot just now, new people, new house, new sleeping arrangements. You need to spend time helping her adjust. To begin with it might be worth letting her sleep in a crate in your room so she can see and smell and hear you. Once she is able to sleep through the night you can very gradually move the crate out of the room and downstairs. Ignoring is fine if the dog is just seeking attention or play at a bad time, but when they are genuinely anxious then they need to know you are listening before you try to stop it.

It might be worth using something like rescue remedy, a DAP diffuser, or a herbal remedy to help her stay calm and adapt to the move. And make sure as far as you possibly can that the rest of her routine is the same as always - introduce any changes very gradually. Make sure she has enough exercise and time spent doing something, and maybe spend a bit of time teaching her to "settle" in a crate that is her own space and does not get invaded at any time - try covering it with a blanket to make it cosy for her.

I know others will have other ideas, but first of all stop thinking of her as being naughty, she is not, she is an anxious dog trying to tell you the best way she can. It is you job to try and listen and help her through it. :)

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Noobs
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Noobs » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:20 am

To be fair, Horace's Mum, OP didn't say she thought her dog was being naughty; quite the opposite.

But Horace's Mum has written some very very good points. I'm glad to hear your partner is being understanding. It will help you to help the dogs adjust to the changes. Ditto to not shutting her out. You know she's not doing it for attention but rather out of stress and anxiety so listen to her - no, you're not "giving in" and she's not "winning" by your doing things to help her cope. You'd be showing her that you're listening to her and that you'll make her safe.

Is she getting enough exercise (physical and mental) daily? Being tired helps dogs settle. What's your daily routine with regard to the dogs?

Is Bambi dealing all right? Is Rosie the only one having trouble?

Rosiebambi
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Rosiebambi » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:24 am

Thanks very much for your quick replies. I dont think she is being naught I dont think we understand what is going on with her. Sleeping in the bedroom isnt an option as she is a shar pei and snores a lot. What can I do to help her to settle in? If she is playing up should I go to her or ignore her? Bambi is fine he is very chilled. Its very worrying.

Karen

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Horace's Mum » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:31 am

Rosiebambi wrote:Hello all
I just want us all to live in harmony and for Rosie to stop being so naughty.
This is what I had picked up on, just wanted to make sure you don't really think she is being naughty, because any thought like that, even in jest, can stop us humans from seeing the real picture :) No offence meant. i hope my post didn't sound harsh, it wasn't meant to, I'm a bit tired so might be a bit more abrrupt than usual :( Sorry.

Rosiebambi
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Rosiebambi » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:34 am

Hi Horaces Mum I didnt take any of itn as harsh just grateful for any advice. Me and my partner are here now taking all in. We dont want an anxous dog we love her and want her to feel relaxed in her new home. I thought I knew a bit about dog behaviour but this has me stumped.

Karen

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Mattie
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Mattie » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:42 am

[quote="Rosiebambi" Sleeping in the bedroom isnt an option as she is a shar pei and snores a lot.
Karen[/quote]

The snoring can't be worse than a Staffy :lol:

Can she sleep on the landing with a gate to stop her going into your bedroom, she can see you then and it may reasure her.

My dogs have gone through a lot of changes recently, I moved house, they were all very stressed as Rosie is so I had to deal with the stress not what they were doing because of it. Rosie sounds as if she is really stressed and you need to tackle this. I put a few drops of Rescue Remedy in my dogs drinking water when they are stressed, it does help them cope.

Can you give us a run down on Rosie's day? Food, when fed, exercise, training etc, as much information as you can give.
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

Rosiebambi
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Rosiebambi » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:53 am

Hi Mattie

Thanks for your advice we have just had a discussion and agreed that they can sleep on their beds in the spare room with a baby gate on our bedroom door. Then eventually work them downstairs to the kitchen over time - does everyone think this makes sense then at least she knows we are close?

Rosies routine is as follows:

Morning 30mins-1hrs exercise
Lunchtime - 1hrs-1.30hrs walk
Tea time - 15 mins
7-9pm - 20 mins walk

They get fed twice a day on quality dog food and dried biscuits or about 3 times per week fresh salmon and biscuits or pasta.

Karen

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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Noobs » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:13 pm

Oh right you are, Horace's Mum. I had picked up on this part:
Rosiebambi wrote: I dont believe she is a 'naughty-bad' dog and I dont want her to be anxious and distressed but this is putting strain on me and my partner bless him.
And don't worry, you've been through a lot with Horus lately so I just wanted to make sure OP didn't misunderstand you.

Well I'm glad you've decided to let them sleep closer to you. This may help and if not we'll reconvene and figure out something else. :)

Meanwhile you can also try Rescue Remedy and the herbal remedies that Horace's Mum mentioned. I would also suggest massage (TTouch works wonders with my nervous dog).

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Horace's Mum » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:15 pm

Oh, you could also try putting a child's t-shirt on, one that is fairly tight to act as a calming blanket. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't, but raid a charity shop, it is worth a couple of quid to try it!

Rosiebambi
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Rosiebambi » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:28 pm

feel a bit upset that we have been fighting her rather than helping her but we hve changed our mindset now and are going to work slowly to help her to adjust. Feel bad about the locking in the kithen and thw anto-bark collar but we didnt understand. I will keep you posted. Thanks so much!

Karen :D

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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Horace's Mum » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:31 pm

Don't feel upset, don't give yourself a guilt trip, it helps no-one. You are starting to understand now, so just look on the positive, you cared enough about her to come on here and ask for help, more than a lot of people would do, so just move on and look forward to a happier calmer dog!!

Moving their beds sounds like a great idea, see how it goes, but do come back and ask any questions, however stupid they may seem. :D

Rosiebambi
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Rosiebambi » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:25 pm

we have been giving her tons of hugs and she has happilyn eaten her dinner. Hopefully tonight will so ok. Thanks so much guys x x :D

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Mattie
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Mattie » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Rosiebambi wrote:feel a bit upset that we have been fighting her rather than helping her but we hve changed our mindset now and are going to work slowly to help her to adjust. Feel bad about the locking in the kithen and thw anto-bark collar but we didnt understand. I will keep you posted. Thanks so much!

Karen :D
Karen we have all been through this, we all made mistakes at first but like you we asked for help, your dogs are very lucky to have parents who will ask for help and take the information it to help them. :D

Don't hestitate to ask for help, I hope it goes better tonight but don't expect perfection on the first night, it may take about a week for your dogs to settle to the new routine. Dogs love routine, their routine has been changed and this is part of the problem, being closer to you should help them.
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Rosiebambi
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Re: Hi from the UK: anxiety and destructive behaviour probs

Post by Rosiebambi » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:53 am

Hi all

Just a quick update based on the advice given last night. We put Rosie and Bambi to sleep in the bedroom opposite ours with a baby gate on the door, we kept our bedroom door open. She slept all night without a murmur and was still asleep on her bed when I got up! The greeting was really different too she was calm and not frenzied like she has been. During the night when I got up to the loo she was looking through the gate so I gave her a pat and went back to bed. She does seem calmer already.

Thanks again

from a very happy (but not expecting miracles overnight) Karen :P

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