A Few Questions...

Discussion of behavior issues, training and solutions here....

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A Few Questions...

Postby awhops » Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:40 am

New to this forum, and new to Brittany ownership (had my guy about 2.5 months), and was hoping to get some advice from the experienced Brittany owners here. Renegade (Renny) is a little over 8 months old. I got him from a family that just didn't have time for a rambunctious puppy (newborn in the house, 2 year old already). He is a great pup overall, loves to play, is VERY intense about everything he does (playing, chewing bones, even sleeping), but also loves to cuddle up and be right by you. Overall he has settled in nicely into his new life.

So a couple of questions:

1) He gets very anxious in the car and just turns on a drool faucet and starts smacking his lips as soon as we get in the car and has also vomited in the car. The vomit has happened three times, and those instances have all happened when he has either eaten recently, drank a lot, or had been chewing on something in the car. In the car I usually have him in a soft sided travel crate to help keep him contained and to contain the drool/vomit. He usually settles in really well on longer trips, but around town he is a mess. I've tried to get him to have positive experiences in the car with treats and toys and all that, but it doesn't seem to work. We also go tons of fun places, so he's not going just to the vet or anything every time he gets in the car. I thought we had turned the corner a little bit, but then he vomited the other day and he's super anxious and won't even go near the car. Any thoughts on what could be making him so anxious? I've read online that he may grow out of it? Does anyone have an experience like that?

2) Boy does he have some itchy skin. He's always itching, scratching, biting or licking. It's never the same spot. When I first got him he had a really bad rash and we took him to the vet. The vet thought it was a reaction to flees (he had not been on flee preventative in his previous house, but is now) so we got him started on an anti-inflammatory and some antibiotics and it cleared up. That's when we also started him on preventative. But even now, he seems to always be itching. I'm not sure if it may be allergies? He went through a period where he was almost having seasonal allergies, but I'm wondering if he could have food allergies even? Is there any way to test that, or is it just start him on a grain free or some kind of other food? Any recommendations?

3) As mentioned before, he's very intense and persistent. When he wants to play, he's 110% playing. Sometimes he overwhelms other dogs at the dog park and they need a break. He does tend to nip a little bit (specifically likes biting on cheeks) but there is never any yelps or concerns as if he's pulling to hard from the other dog. So, sometimes I'll just pull him away to give him rest. It's almost like he gets so fixated on whatever it is, that when he pulls away he snaps out of a trance. But then he goes right back to it. I try to correct him and pull him away, but he's so dang persistent. At first it was humping. He would always pick one dog, and no matter what, that's what he was going to do the whole time. We broke him of that habit for the most part, but we can still see his persistence in other ways. When we're at home, his recall is great. Even out in the yard, his recall is great as long as he's on his long training leash. But when he's free, it's hard to wrangle him in and get him to come. I think that's part of his persistence and saying "I'm going to go do whatever I want." I've thought about an E-Collar to help get his attention when he needs a break, or needs to come, but I have no experience with those. I do plan to get him into a basic obedience class, and I work with him regularly on stuff like that as well. Any thoughts?


Sorry for the novel, and thanks in advance for any feedback!

Andy
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Re: A Few Questions...

Postby Cindy » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:20 pm

It sounds like you're doing the right kinds of thing for the car travel. Our Layla sounds like a pretty similar dog - everything is done at 110%! When we fist adopted her, she got sick in the car several times. I think it was more from excitement because we take our dogs somewhere fun almost every day. And, like your dog, she calmed down on longer trips but the nearby ones were kind of crazy. She did eventually stop vomiting - whew. Have you tried anything like UltraCalm biscuits or Happy Traveler? They are both herbal and maybe they would help to take the edge off. Just a thought ...

Itchy skin - Again, Layla seems to be suffering from this a bit this winter and it corresponded with heating the house. I've been running the humidifier but I can't say that has helped very much. I suppose you could give him a benedril if the itching/scratching was really bad but I'm sure you'd rather get to the bottom cause. What are you feeding him? Is it grain free?

I am a total convert to the e-collar. We've never had a Brittany who didn't have excellent recall until Layla came along. We weren't sure we'd ever be able to let her off leash except in our yard where her recall was great. Since we do so much hiking and off leash stuff, we knew we had to do "something" so we ordered an e-collar (Dogtra). It took a little bit of training but once she got it ... she got it. She knows about how far she can roam before getting a vibration (we rarely use the nick option and never the shock) and turns to come back. We also use verbal commands and Layla is now the best off leash. It doesn't seems to matter if we're at the beach and she's chasing birds or in the field and a turkey flies up.

Have you done a search on the discussion board to see what others have said about your questions? I know they've come up before so I bet you'll find lots of good. info. All I can say is don't give up! They are smart dogs but I bet you are smarter :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: A Few Questions...

Postby storeocy » Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:08 am

My Macy is JUST like this...or was. She is 2 now.

1. She always would drool and throw up in the car. She would go in the car just fine but then would seem sick and scared. We talked with the vet and in the end determined it was car sickness and hoped she would grow out of it. She did and now is fine. She was around a year or so when she finally go over it.

2. She used to itch ALL the time. I now use an oatmeal shampoo as well as a conditioner from burts bees for dogs that has really helped. I also let her air dry and try to do it only once a month. Along with that burts makes an itch cream for dogs that I used if there were bad spots she was starting to scratch raw. We then also changed her to grain free food. One of the signs of the grain allergies is itching. With the combination of all of this she no longer itches herself like crazy.

3. When Macy was a puppy she would play way too rough and we had a hard time getting her to stop. We ended up using a shock collar with her. only shocked her once on a low level and then just used the beep. It corrected her playing fast. We don't use it anymore. She still plays hard but we can get her to stop now. For a few months the shock collar went on and off her until she fully understood.
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Re: A Few Questions...

Postby awhops » Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:36 pm

Thank you all for all of your responses. Sounds like he is pretty normal overall! We're trying some new things (Grain free food, coconut oil) we will see how these work out. We were out at the dog park down by my parents house while home for the holidays and ran into another Britt. Talked to the owner a lot about the use of E-Collars, and I'm pretty sure that's a good direction for us to head in. Still need to do a lot of research into training and types. If nothing else, it just seems like it will accelerate any off leash activities. He's just so headstrong and stubborn when called with any direction.

Gotta figure all these things out, but we're just going to have to figure it out in time!

By the way here are some pictures of the little fella:

Image

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Re: A Few Questions...

Postby britlover » Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:42 am

Renny is one adorable pup!
I was going to suggest a grain free diet for the itching, but sounds like you've made that switch. I also try to use a protein source other than chicken, such as fish, duck, rabbit. Are you in Florida? I noticed Renny's FSU bandana. I think Florida's climate can be tough on dog's skin. I am pretty diligent about keeping my pups on flea preventative year round since it has not been cold enough to kill them off in Florida. One flea can cause a lot of scratching. I do use benedryl occasionally to give the dog some relief, but never for more that a few days.
I use an e-collar because I take my dogs backpacking and hiking quite a bit and need a safety net in the event they see something to chase before I can call them back, or if they are just exploring too far ahead of me and I want to keep them closer. Used properly they are great.
Enjoy your new best friend.
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Re: A Few Questions...

Postby awhops » Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:57 pm

We live in Atlanta, GA but are in Fl for the holidays. Renny is representing my alma mater.

I have him on the grain free and am going to let him be on that for a while but so far I haven't seen a change. Coconut oil seems to help some. Also I've been keeping him away from peanut butter just to experiment. Once I get back I may try and consult the vet on allergies.

As far as the e-collar I've been thinking about it since he's so headstrong. I think it will just accelerate that process. I've been looking at the garmin delta entry model that has vibrate, tone and shock. Anyone have thoughts on that one?
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Re: A Few Questions...

Postby Cindy » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:18 am

I've been looking at the garmin delta entry model that has vibrate, tone and shock. Anyone have thoughts on that one?

We have 2 of the Dogtra iQ collars which are waterproof and have a vibrate, nick, or shock option. They seem to hold the charge well and have worked great on our dogs.
http://www.amazon.com/Dogtra-IQ-Remote-Trainer/dp/B004HX6QD6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419851883&sr=8-1&keywords=dogtra+iq
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Re: A Few Questions...

Postby britlover » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:57 pm

I have collars by Tri-tronics, which was bought out by Garmin. There is a good site with reviews and comparisons, and decent prices that I have ordered from, it is http://www.gundogsupply.com/
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Re: A Few Questions...

Postby awhops » Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:31 am

I just realized its been almost a year since I originally posted this, and thought I would post a follow up.

Renny has settled into car riding very nicely. No long does he drool at all and he hops right in on his own and hasn't gotten sick in a long time. I think he just grew out of it, maybe around 1 year old. He's a little over a year and a half now. I used to think I'd never be able to calm this dog down, and while he is still very much a busy body, he's made great strides. I think the biggest thing was getting him into a routine and building trust with him. I can now leave him loose in the ho use without him getting into anything. His recall his much better - I started training him on an e-collar and it has been awesome. It has really opened up new doors for him to do things off leash. Most of the time I hardly have to use it, but I call it my insurance policy now. We love running and hiking together and he absolutley loves to play with any dog. H'es still a little bit too intense, which puts some dogs and owners on edge. He can just get really riled up when a dog wants to play, but usually respects those that don't. It's the ones that can't make up their mind that can be tricky. Still very mouthy.

Besides the mouthiness and playing nice with others, our main focus is working on greetings and personal space. He tends to jump, tackle, rear up, and whatever he can to get attention when meeting new people or when we come home. After a while he settles down, it just takes a few minutes.

Overall, he's a sweet pup who has really grown into his own. I can't wait to see where the future goes with him!
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Re: A Few Questions...

Postby kat » Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:29 pm

I loved reading this! We always worry about how these ones with some issues will do, it just makes my day to hear how well you have done with him. Thank you for updating!
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Re: A Few Questions...

Postby Cindy » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:33 pm

I love getting the update too and it sounds like some VERY positive improvements. My guess is that he will continue to get better and better as time goes by.
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Re: A Few Questions...

Postby awhops » Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:36 pm

Thank you both for the encouraging words!

He definitely brings so much joy to our lives and his zest for life is infectious. I can definitely see why this is such a popular breed once you get passed the high energy needs. They are amazing. He's a big softy that may talk a big game but at the end of the day wants to please and hop up and cuddle right next to me. Literally, right next to/on top of. Admittedly, he's taught me probably more than I've taught him. Excited for many more years! I am also hoping to check in here more regularly.
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