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Regressing with the mouthing and frenzies

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:50 pm
by holisticmom
Well...let me back up....

Oakley had been doing well until about two weeks ago, then he started regressing with the frenzies and mouthing.

The trigger: Holistic Dad heard a rumor at work that his job might be getting shipped to China. :evil: Except that he didn't tell me until we were discussing putting Oakley in day care for a day or two a week. Holistic Dad went ballistic and into meltdown about how we couldn't afford it (we can) and dumping about a bunch of other issues about our marriage. Holistic Dad is also dealing with issues at his mother's house--wear and tear consistent with a 60 y.o. house, plus some other damage (long story).

I just kept telling him that he did have legit concerns, but felt that any response on my part would just escalate things. I tried to explain to him that dogs pick up on stress and he started to get snotty again. Then to make things even better, he decided to take two weeks off to work on the house and burn vacation days if he had to retire (he's been with the company long enough that he'd have full pension).

Anyway...steps taken: a Thundershirt, as much exercise as I can give him and extra homework from class, spoke with vet about possible pharmaceutical intervention (have had to give Benadryl the last couple of days), the essence lady is whipping up a new formula for him and doing an energy work session with him next week. Oakley is going to day care tomorrow. I have the number for a vet who does acupuncture.

I did suggest that he come to class with us or join us in a private session with the teacher. Even after Oakley backed out of his collar and lead him on an hour chase on a major road by us (and flipping out when he caught him) while he was walking him over the weekend, Holistic Dad still won't do it.

Any thoughts?

Re: Regressing with the mouthing and frenzies

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:32 pm
by Lisa
I think you're doing everything you can for right now.

Dogs most definitely DO pick up on stress and upset in the household, and tend to act out when they start feeling that stress. If the hubby won't consider going to classes with you, maybe he'd be willing to do some light training with Oakley just in the back yard...or even just a few minutes of tug or fetch or chase around the yard. Something to make interacting with Dad FUN again. Right now, Oakley probably thinks Dad is a big scary stress machine, and that just isn't fun for the pup.

I hope things settle down at your household soon and that Oakley can get back on an even keel.

If you're looking for some other suggestions to helping Oakley calm down a little, you could try Melatonin. I usually give one 3 mg tablet every 12 hours. It works exceptionally well for stress related to noise, and generally just mellows out a dog. I do think some Dad/dog bonding and trying to reduce stress levels in the house is really what's called for...heck, even just sitting on the couch and having Dad feed Oakley bits of hot dog would be better than nothing.

I know when my own anxiety levels are particularly high, it most definitely affects my dogs, and it's a good trigger for me to find ways to lower my anxiety levels...often spending some time just relaxing with the dogs does that!

Re: Regressing with the mouthing and frenzies

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:09 am
by Cindy
Lisa always has great ideas!! And then there's my favorite standby - UltraCalm Biscuits from Drs. Foster and Smith. Maybe you can teach Oakley to feed them to your husband!! :lol:

Re: Regressing with the mouthing and frenzies

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:46 am
by adele
Man, if I could retire with a full pension I'd ship my job off to China wrapped up with a pretty bow. Maybe two weeks off to work on the house is exactly what Holisticdad needs.

In our household, when DH is under pressure I ensure that dog ownership doesn't add to his load (it was me that wanted the dog so at our place its me that needs to deal with issues that arise). So I'm thinking that if holisticdad isn't interested in dog training right now maybe its best to let that one go and just carry on with the training on your own. Perhaps invest in a good harness so Oakley stays attached to the leash? (Just for the record, I am aware that what works in our household may not be what works in yours).

Re: Regressing with the mouthing and frenzies

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:36 pm
by holisticmom
As usual, you have given me some good suggestions. Thanks. I especially like Cindy's. :wink: If they have them dipped in chocolate....

The problem is that Holistic Dad is a telecommunications engineer, and does a lot of if A, then B thinking. As in, "Oakley is a dog. Orion was a dog. Therefore, Oakley should act like Orion." Despite explaining that Oakley's early puppyhood (pound at 1 month, shelter until we adopted him) was not as optimal as Orion's and we're playing developmental catch-up, he still can't/won't accept that Oaks is a very different dog, and cannot replace Orion.

However, the good news is that Oakley did well at daycare--the owner just fell in love with him. She makes videos of the day's activities. I will post a link when yesterday's goes up.