Go Pitbull Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey there Pitbull forums,





This is Molly.

She was my brother's dog, but Jered left to join the military years back, got out and went straight to school in southern CA where he couldn't bring her. So she stayed with our mom. At the same time he left (some 8 years ago) I had moved up to WA state.

Fast forward to this April. I drive down to visit the family and pick Molly up to take home with me, having discussed it with everyone beforehand. My mom is older and still works a Mon.-Fri. 9-to-5, so she doesn't have the energy to keep Molly as active and content as she could be. I'm better fit for the duty: 31 and I have a physically demanding job so I'm fit. Molly would benefit from me and I benefit from her because I'm basically a hermit and she forces me to get out.

She's got a host of issues: allergies that leave itchy, crusty skin spots, extreme dog aggression (which I know runs in the line), and intense separation anxiety that leads to damage to the house as well as to her.

I mainly want to address the separation anxiety. Before I picked her up from my family's home in CA, she had been allowed to go nuts and destroy all the doors in the place when my mom left for work daily for three years. Every bedroom door has a hole at knee level that she can comfortably pass through. All of Molly's fear and energy gets directed at the last exit she sees you pass through when heading out. She starts as every other dog does, with the getting ready motions (putting on shoes, grabbing keys). Her pupils dilate, she starts panting and drooling like a faucet, then scratches with claws until she forms an edge she can bite at for the next 8 hours straight. Her teeth are heavily worn. A vet saw her recently, he could only sigh heavily at what he knew she was going through.

I bought a kennel after the first few nights (I work graveyard) of damage. She'd never been in a kennel before. Needless to say it did not go well. She only spent a total of three work shifts in the kennel because by the end of the third night I came home to her having pulled a corner of the steel inward with her teeth, black paint scraped from many of the bars, and her snout spotted with dried blood where she tore a few small injuries.

Kennel now out of the question, I came up with a clever but temporary band-aid solution. I leave lights on some talk news going in the livingroom and then get ready in the bathroom. I leave the bathroom light and vent fan on along with a radio playing, lay down some PJs at the crack of the door for scent, then jump out the bathroom window and head to work. When home in the morning, I climb back in the window and come out of the bathroom to maintain the illusion. My neighbors haven't confronted me yet about this behavior; I owe them an explanation soon!

There aren't enough hurdles in the situation, are there? She's been separated from her family twice now and has been allowed to exhibit this behavior for an irresponsible amount of time, so lets also mention that she is 10 years old. Do all these things make her a lost cause? Do I simply steel plate all surfaces of my house?

Where do I start?

Thank you for taking the time to trudge through such a long read,

J.D.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,273 Posts
Hey there and welcome to GP. That poor girl. I couldn't see the pics because I'm at work and sometimes pics don't come through when I'm on the county network. Anyway, that is an awful long time and that fear and behavior is seriously ingrained in her by now. At her age, I would start with your vet. She can give you medication to help sedate her and ease her anxiety. It's not a cure but it will certainly help. You can also try a thundershirt. They do help with some dogs but with such a severe case I'm not sure it would make a whole lot of difference. Worth a shot though. I would also address the allergy issues and get her treated for her skin problems while at the vet. It might not be a bad idea to have her scraped for mange to make sure it is truly allergies you're dealing with. Remember always address health issues first as they can be the cause or part of the cause of behavioral issues.

Then I would look into a more secure crate. They make ones that will keep her secure and safe from harming herself. She then needs to be properly crate trained. Make her crate as warm and inviting as possible. Soft blankets, a favorite toy,a piece of your clothing, etc. Feed her in there, give her treats in there, make sure she knows this is her safe place and makes positive connections with it. Start with short stints in the crate while you're home. Put her in there, praise her when she's quiet and don't let her out when she whines. Sit in the same room with her at first but ignore her. Once she quiets down, let her out. Slowly build up time and space. The next time let her stay in there quietly for a little while or move to another room so she can smell you but not see you. As time goes on she will come to feel safe in her crate and that will help keep her safe and keep your place from being damaged.

Finally, I would also HIGHLY recommend seeking the help of a behaviorist. Your poor girl has been through a lot and had her behavior reinforced and unaddressed for a long, long time. That combined with her age doesn't make her a lost cause (you can, indeed, teach an old dog, new tricks) but it does make it more challenging, hence why I suggest medication to start. A behaviorist would be a valuable resource to help you and her adjust to your new combined circumstances.

As far as the DA, there isn't anything you can do about that - it just is what it is. As long as you're responsible and take precautions it shouldn't be an issue. Limit the possibility of exposure to other dogs when out and about. Also get and learn how to use a break stick; then make sure you carry it with you at all times when out and about just in case. You can never be too safe but you can be sorry.

You definitely have an uphill climb ahead of you but it can be done or at least, made more comfortable. Patience, consistency, and baby steps will be your best friends.

Good luck and keep us posted.

~Jess
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you much for the advice. I've read a bit and found that benadryl is helpful in sedating, I will try that with her evening feeding before I leave for work.

As of now, she isn't destroying the doors/trim when I'm gone as long as I leave properly. That has only happened if I wake up late and get in a rush out the door. Regardless, I know she is awake all night pacing the house when I'm gone because as soon as I arrive home in the a.m., I give her a morning feeding which she inhales literally in under 10 seconds and then falls asleep.

I've tried a handful of different foods in a shotgun effort toward curbing the allergies, the most popular ones like Purina and pedigree my mom already ruled out. Currently we are trying the blue buffalo limited ingredient dry kibble. The occasional coconut oil rundown helps her belly.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,273 Posts
Thank you much for the advice. I've read a bit and found that benadryl is helpful in sedating, I will try that with her evening feeding before I leave for work.

As of now, she isn't destroying the doors/trim when I'm gone as long as I leave properly. That has only happened if I wake up late and get in a rush out the door. Regardless, I know she is awake all night pacing the house when I'm gone because as soon as I arrive home in the a.m., I give her a morning feeding which she inhales literally in under 10 seconds and then falls asleep.

I've tried a handful of different foods in a shotgun effort toward curbing the allergies, the most popular ones like Purina and pedigree my mom already ruled out. Currently we are trying the blue buffalo limited ingredient dry kibble. The occasional coconut oil rundown helps her belly.
Benadryl does work to help sedate and may help with any environmental allergies, as well as being safe for dogs; however, I would still run anything medication wise by a vet before giving it. Most medications are weight based and different dosages from human weight so it's always better to be safe and check with a vet first.

Glad she's doing better and all that anxiety takes its toll, tiring them out for sure. Blue Buffalo is a far better food than Purina or Pedigree, which are mostly just 'junk food' full of fillers. I would go a step further than the limited ingredient and go completely grain free. Chicken and grains are common allergens for dogs and grain free food, especially fish based (I feed Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream) are often times the most successful for dogs with food allergy issues. EckoMac is our resident expert on allergy issues since she has dealt with extensive issues with her Ecko so you can always drop her a PM if she doesn't jump in here if you have more questions. I'm positive she would be more than willing to offer her words of wisdom based on her experiences.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,586 Posts
I have a Houdini dog who will destroy herself trying to get out. I use an airline crate with a very specific locking mechanism. Fairly priced here https://www.chewy.com/petmate-sky-kennel-large/dp/101599
The only thing I can add to all of the very good advice above is this. Exercise. If you tire her out, she will be less anxious and less destructive. She will also be so much easier to train. Once she is worn out daily and grows accustomed to your schedule she will be less anxious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The blue buff. I'm using is grain free as well, lamb and potato recipe.

One vet suggested an oatmeal shampoo, which I've only used on her once and did not produce any increased allergic reaction afterward. Any advice for bathing/soaps?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,586 Posts
Duoxo or Zymox shampoos are good. If she's allergic to grain, bathing in oatmeal is counter productive.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top