Change of behaviour

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Lotsaquestions
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Change of behaviour

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:20 am

Heya guys,

My dog Merlin has been acting a little out of sorts today, enough to be quite noticible, but doesn't seem to be physically ill. I was wondering if you had any experience with how he's acting, and if its 'emotional' or not.

He's a German Spitz x, almost 9 months old, intact, around 10kg. Although he is often distracted, likes to mark and sniff, and do all of the normal teenage boy stuff, this morning he was the most distracted I have ever seen him. On top of that, he was refusing to walk certain ways on the walk and had his nose down almost the entire time like a bloodhound. Then around other dogs he had little interest in playing (which is very unusual for him), aswell as almost no interest in playing with us when he's usually jumping about like mad. Instead he seemed very serious, very intensley focussed on sniffing, and seemed to want to 'have a go' at another intact adult dog (growled and barked after they'd had a sniff).

At home today he is very restless. He's barking and pacing and seems to have absolutely no frustration tolerance whatsoever. He even whined while he was getting food out of his kong like it was making him stressed. He is still eating perfectly fine and drinking fine. He is tired right now, and tried to sleep, but got up right after like he can't rest.

JudyN
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by JudyN » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:53 am

It could be all sorts of things. He might have heard foxes in the night, there could have been fireworks going off, or other noises, that he could hear and you couldn't. Or it could be smell related - maybe foxes or badgers have been wandering round and leaving an unusual scent, or maybe there's a female in season in the neighbourhood. I read about one anxious dog who turned out to be a high-frequency bleep coming from a burgler alarm which the owners couldn't hear.

Check his Adaptil diffuser hasn't run out, if you still use it.

Merlin's a sensitive dog, and it does sound as if it's something in his environment that's upset him. For now I would keep everything as low-stress as possible, avoiding dogs he's not 100% familiar and happy with even more than usual - but keep everything 'normal' and don't even look at him with a worried expression, or ask him what's wrong in a voice that could make him think that something's different. Obviously keep an eye out for anything physical, such as changes in digestion or lethargy, and ask your vet to check him over if you're concerned. But otherwise, I'd just assume 'something's up but I'm not sure what' and monitor him. It'd be worth asking other owners if their dogs have been extra 'sniffy' too.

It's possible that the colder morning (it may be frosty where you are?) affects how things smell. Or - I'm really just brainstorming here - the clocks changing has affected his routine and he thinks you're running an hour late? I'm not sure either of these are likely causes at all, but the more you look at what might have changed, the more likely you are to stumble across the real cause.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:12 am

It is a bit frosty this morning, but its been frosty for the last week and he's not seemed concerned. It could be fireworks, they have been going off none stop for almost two weeks now (it is HORRIBLE). Since they implemented this new food bin in our area there has been food rubbish scattered everywhere, so there could be more foxes about.

I'll take a look around to see if anything has changed in the house that has got him upset. His diffuser is still going strong and he's finally sleeping near it so at least I hope its working! I DID hear two huge dogs yesterday barking their heads off which I don't usually hear. I saw them get out the car and have never seen them before so maybe a neighbours visiting dogs set him on edge. One was female (the owner was screaming the dogs name alot :lol:), so who knows, perhaps it was a stud thing as two akitas normally live at the address. And of course its halloween and people have been decorating their houses with scary things. Merlin hasn't seemed bothered, but it could have added to it.

I'll keep my eye on him and I think we'll avoid the park tomorrow if he's still a little out of sorts. He definately had low tolerance for other dogs (even ones he knew well) which is very strange as usually he's up for pretty much anything. He absolutely adores his kong squeeky but he would ask me to throw it then in mid chase he would get distracted by a scent and just loose all interest, then come back to me like I hadn't even thrown it and he wanted to play. Very odd. If it lasts more than a few days or gets worse I'll take him to the vets.

Edit: I'll just add that the intact male he growled at was a bulldog, so a similar face to the boxer at training on saturday (boxer growled and lunged at him again this sat aswell, Ruby had to put up a visual block for Merlin just so he could settle). Not sure if dogs recognise faces in that way.

JudyN
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by JudyN » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:54 am

Lots of dogs don't like dogs with squished up faces. Boxers seem to be particularly unpopular, I think because they have quite a forward, 'up for it' stance. And they can certainly be 'breedist' too - if they fall out with or are attacked by a dog of a particular breed, they can be iffy with any other dog of that breed in the future.

If there's a dog who makes him anxious at training, do consider (if you haven't already) that the cons of the class might outweigh the pros (remember my tale about the ex-bully I thought Jasper was fine and dandy with till the end of a walk round the woods together).
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:57 am

Luckily Merlin has been moved into another class for his IMDT training now (apparently he's advanced... When he wants to be :lol:), but because of how stressed he was around the boxer I was considering asking if I could delay until next intake. I hid around the corner with him on sat hoping he wouldn't see the dog outside (the boxer is fine inside for some reason) but unfortunately the boxer's owner brought him right over to us :cry:

In general I'll try and give him good feelings around squishy face dogs even if they're far away. I moved Merlin away from the bulldog today when he growled and barked (he stood away from the dog growling and barking, like he was worried. I took him away very quickly so I have no idea if he would have gone in for a fight, but I wasn't about to stand around and find out), but they did sniff again later and I rewarded Merlin for being polite and walking away which I hope was the right thing to do. It was a very stiff legged sniff though, from both. I took him home right after that since he started being out of sorts with dogs he knew well.

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:17 am

More changes.

Usually he loves learning tricks with me, but today he seemed OTT. He was barking, whining, biting at my fingers as he took the treats. Just generally OTT. So I stopped that and I also noticed he has been burying his bully stick, which he has never done before. He's now just pacing by the front door barking because he wants another walk, and since he refuses to poo in the garden it could possibly be his stomach? I did make some new lamb's liver cake for him yesterday, but his poos this morning were healthy. Is lamb in this age of dog not great?

JudyN
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by JudyN » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:42 am

Too much liver can definitely give them runny bums, particularly if they're not used to it. (Some raw-fed dogs can have a whole meal of liver but many, like Jasper, need to have it little and often to avoid explosions.)

Have there been any other dietary changes over the last few days, or anything odd he might have eaten?
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Erica
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by Erica » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:04 am

If my dog were acting oddly suddenly, I would be visiting the vets to see what they think. Sometimes, an observant owner bringing in a dog who just seems a little off can catch a serious health problem before it becomes extremely expensive or painful. Here are a few examples a vet talked about, concerned owners who noticed their pet wasn't acting as usual and brought them in. My sister's puppy was bright and hungry the first few days, and then was lethargic and rather indifferent to food. Turns out she had parvo, but because we brought her in at the "lethargic" stage rather than the "expelling blood from both ends" stage, it was cheaper and faster for her to be treated than it would have otherwise been.
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:14 am

Now that I think about it he did throw up on Saturday, has been eating grass, and has a bad case of the trumps. I've not changed his diet except for the lamb's liver cake (he's normally fine with liver) BUT he is a terrible scavanger and does eat things on his walks sometimes and the other day he picked up something small and white and swallowed it before I could see what it was, am worried now it could have been a cigarette. I'm going to ring up the vets, he definately isn't himself and that link terrified me Erica.

Erica
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by Erica » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:35 am

I hope all is well with him, but it's better to check with the vets and know rather than find out in the middle of the night when things are very serious very suddenly!
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:59 am

We are to monitor him tonight and if he's not better tomorrow we're need to bring him in. Just took him on a short walk since he seemed desperate, no bowel movements but he barked at a woman, was nervous of children on bikes, and seemed just really on edge. He is normally totally fine with people and children on bikes, so I'm quite worried now. I've looked up marijuana poisoning in dogs (since people smoke that round here and if what he ate was the end of a rollup it might be that, since he's never wanted to eat cigarettes before) and Merlin does have some of the symptoms, namely anxiety, excitability, dilated eyes, disorientation and being vocal. I think he ate it yesterday evening on his walk, but I could be mistaken and mixing the days up.

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:23 am

So far this morning so good. His eyes are back to normal, he is less OTT, he was able to have his morning nap. Partner said he was fine on his morning poo walk aswell whereas yesterday he told me Merlin was mad. Lets hope he is better.

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:25 am

He was brilliant on his proper walk. Was calm in himself and wasn't nervous or anxious, wasn't OTT excitable, listened to me, was way, way, waaay less distracted and sniffy, and wanted to play again with me and dogs. I did notice he got tired quicker and slipped back to his old ways of barking at dogs in excitement a bit so I don't think he's 100%, but at least now he was able to get home and plonk for his midday nap instead of pacing. Everything today is going to stay nice and calm and happy for him.

I'm a little concerned about tonight given the trick or treaters incase it was an anxiety thing rather than something he ate. Might put out a sign telling them I have a nervous dog, but part of me thinks if I do that the teenagers in their halloween bin bags might see that as an invitation to knock. Maybe all lights off and silencing the doorbell is the answer... I hate this time of year :lol:

Erica
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by Erica » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:34 am

Glad to hear he's feeling better! :) I think the avoiding trick-or-treaters idea is a good one. You may be able to get away with having him stowed away from the door with a lovely special treat to chew on, but you know him best. Some dogs find hearing all the noises stressful enough!
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Change of behaviour

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:19 pm

I've seen Merlin drag his filled kongs to the door and bark whilst eating them if someone knocks. I don't think even a plate of raw meat would keep him from barking at the door :lol: We've gone into a sort of war time black out type scenario at the moment, everything is quiet and dark.

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