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Old 08-19-2015, 03:52 AM   #1 (permalink)

christinalouise is an unknown quantity at this point
Help! My pitbull has extreme anxiety

Hi there!

My name is Christina, and I reach out to all of you in hopes someone can maybe shed some light on a situation regarding my pit, Kia. She's 5 years old. I got my girl in April of 2013. She's a very sweet, loving, and gentle as they come(even plays tea time with toddlers & babies) who often just lounges around the house lazily... as long as you are home. However, she has EXTREME anxiety. As soon as you leave or begin to move around that may suggest you're going somewhere, it's turmoil that you instantly see in her body language and eyes. I have never seen one so extreme in any animal. She will have days where she does nothing but tremble, pace and whine. We have tried many different things in order to help her, make her happy, comfortable, feel safe and, of course, relax. She even has a designated chair that we call her 'safe zone' because she seems most relaxed while in the chair unless she is at your feet and you have some sort of physical contact with her. The methods I have tried/gone through/replaced so far:

2 Thundershirts
5 remotes (batteries & all)
Pheromone treats, plug-ins, and collars.
Training in 3 different styles (primitive pack, clicker and treats, and spray bottle)
T-shirts, beds, and blankets that have my smell on them (light spray of perfume)
Left the TV on and also have left music on (not both at the same time)
Let her free roam the house
Let her free roam the house with a mellow dog
Crated her in a same room with same mellow dog crated in same room.
Prescribed anxiety medicine from vet whom was advised by animal behaviorist
New grain free food
Rescue oil that you put the drops in the water several times a day
Combination of all methods in one way or another.

We currently don't go on walks too often right now because it has been too hot lately but before we would go about 3 times a week.

She has broken three different types of crates as well as caused numerous amounts of damage to places I've lived in and to herself.

The crates she has broken are the plastic ones with the metal doors. Broke some of the welds on the door as well as split the plastic in several places. Kong crate that is collapsible. Broke many of the welds on the Kong and created several holes from all the welds she had broken. Also tore the tray that goes under into three sections. Lastly, a solid oak crate we built from scratch. The oak has lasted the longest but has been built and remodeled several different ways. We have had aluminum flashing on the inside of the crate to make the inner panels smooth to prevent her from finding the lip of the wood and chewing a hole through the wood (she had accomplished that 4-6x). She tore it and cut her chest, feet, mouth, nose and her head a few times. She has broken half of one of her canines off and has actually lost three teeth and now has a permanently bald spot on the front of her muzzle as well as scars galore on the pads of her feet and chest. She has split the wood from ramming her body and head into the open spots that she sees that may be weak and provide an opportunity to give way. Once she figures out the weak spots, its game over. She will keep at it until she exhausts herself or succeeds in getting out. Kia has also torn metal mesh like the aluminum flashing. The mesh was used to create windows for her so she could see all around her while in her crate. The pads of her feet have been torn up from her scratching and tearing at the wood trying to get out. The only original piece of the wooden crate is her door but it will need to be replaced soon as well.

We live in an apartment complex that is one of only two that allow me to have her within city limits. We are looking for a place to rent that has a privacy fenced yard for her to run around in to help alleviate some of her nervous and anxious energy.

I want to keep my sweet girl because other than her anxiety, she is the perfect dog that you can ask for. She has great potential to be an amazing therapy dog, which is my ultimate goal. Already have the paperwork ready to be signed off on. If I find a great balance for her and make her a Emotional Support service dog for me. We will both have that someone we need and that makes us calm and always be in each others company.

Our last option would be putting her to sleep because to try and re-home would be detrimental to her and only make her struggle more. No dog should have to be in enternal struggle and anguish (physical or mental). I won't re-home her. I don't think anyone would be as patient and understanding or willing to work with her. I've put my heart and soul into her and am determined that we can figure something out. This is her forever home. Her second chance at a happy ending. The thought of her being put to sleep just makes me sick to my stomach and heart stop. I have to avoid this at all cost. Any tips or suggestions you may have would be most appreciated.

Thank you! and sorry for the long post! Just desperate to help my sweet girl.
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Old 08-19-2015, 04:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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First of all, how much exercise is she getting?

Hearing all the different methods you've tried, it's probably safe to say that she's confused. Using outdated techniques such as Alpha Theory, which I'm assuming is what you meant based on "primitive pack", are detrimental to even a stable dog. Adversives, while useful in some situations, will also do way more harm than good with a fearful dog.

I highly suggest you contact a certified behviourist. Not just a regular trainer or someone who calls themselves a behaviourist, someone who is actually formally educated and an expert on animal behaviour.

Some dogs are just genetically fearful, not "wired right", and while some can improve with the appropriate training, I do believe that euthanasia is the most humane option with extreme cases. Living in constant fear is just not a life for any dog, so prepare for that possibility.

I honestly can't claim to have much to offer in regards to training a highly fearful dog, so good luck, and I really hope you contact a professional.

Last edited by BCdogs; 08-19-2015 at 04:54 AM.
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