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  #81  
Old 18.10.2019, 12:01
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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I wouldn't throw treats on the ground as the distraction because you want them focused and looking at you. Does your trainer believe in clicker training as if done properly that is a good method of communicating with your dog and reinforcing "marking" good behaviour and for turning their attention to you.

Treats need not always be food but something that the dog enjoys, which could be a toy, playing, being allowed off the lead, praise etc.

"No means no", doesn't teach your dog anything and I try not to use the word "No" in training. It could be used in a hundred different situations and communicates absolutely nothing. Don't just tell the dog not to do something, tell them what behaviour they should do instead. For example, they jump up and you tell them to sit. If your dog tries to pick something up from the ground you tell them leave. You are guiding them towards the behaviour you want from them.

It is a lot easier to teach a dog a trick than it is to get them to change negative behaviour. It needs a lot of time and patience and it is not something that will come instantly. Training sessions in short bursts only and after training they should be able to relax and sleep as it is taxing on their brains. Aside from training sessions there are many little things you can do during the day to reinforce.


You said you are happy with your trainer. How long has he/she been working with your dog. Without knowing your trainer and your methods my initial thought is that they cannot be fully giving you the help and support you need. I know a marvellous trainer in Luzern who fully believes and only uses the Victoria Stilwell type of positive training methods. She also speaks very good English

The trainer is ok with clicker training, but taught me a marker word to mark the behavior so I don't have to carry a clicker around.

And yes, I agree.. I instinctively say "no," but I try my hardest to throw that word away mostly because it is not providing another action for her to take. So when I see a dog its: "look at me." When she doesn't come immediately on the leash I jog backwards and make the kissy noises all dogs like. Stuff like that. If she freaks out I try to tell her in a soothing voice that it is ok and so on whilst I attempt to move her away from the stimulus.

We have limited her time outside to either many 15 minute intervals or four 30 minute intervals throughout the day. It depends on her mood. If she is reactive we go immediately home as to not cause her stress.

I try to work with her on her self control building habits inside to reinforce the behaviors and solidify them before I proof them outside with distractions that are verrryyy far away. I do notice she is tired after training, inside or outside, and also after nose work. She sleeps quite a lot.

I have been working with the trainer for maybe 8 months. My trainer believes only in positive methods. My trainer recommended me the BAT 2.0 program by Grisha Stewart and the goal is to rehabilitate my girl using this method to reduce her reactivity. The trainer also told me a behaviorist is a good idea.

I would say the methods I have learned have made the dane a much more managable dog, but most sessions were individual consults as the trainer wanted me to get her skills more refined before we went into group classes because it was less stressful. We initially tried group classes and then decided to go this route.

I think it would be helpful if she could be in the presence of dogs, from a distance, and we could practice training that way.. a bit of desensitization that isn't flooding or overwhelming her in a controlled environment.. where we can gradually over weeks and months decrease the distance between her and a stimulus while she remains under threshold.

Please PM me the information you have regarding the trainer in Lucerne.

Thank you
RSC
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  #82  
Old 18.10.2019, 22:01
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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It has been a truly hard road with this dog. I have owned many in the past, of various breeds in different situations in the states. I have never come up against something like this.
Big hugs, as we are in the same boat.

I’m way behind on this thread, so here are my thoughts to your earlier questions:

—-
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I have some questions:
1. In your experience, do dog genetics play a role in forming her personality? Why did you decide to medicate Robin? What did you use, and how did it change your relationship with him? What was the difference in interacting with the environment and while training with you?
It’s generally thought that genetics and breed instinct can play a part, hence one should not breed from dogs who show temperament faults such as aggressive behavior or fearfulness. But how much is nature, how much nurture is the big question.

Robin came to me as an adolescent, a rescue as all my dogs. I know who his breeder is, I have his pedigree, but I have not met his mother or other relatives so can only guess as to a temperament/genetic connection.

By a weird coincidence, Robin is related to my Hooligan. Different breeders, from different countries, many years apart - at the least it says that the gene pool in this part of Europe is waaaaaaay too small. But that both dogs ended up on the ‘wilder’ end of the temperament spectrum is interesting.

Also interesting: my Hooligan has epilepsy, which can be inherited. While Robin has not had classic seizures, a few times his behavior has led me to wonder.

All the experts we have seen agree that despite his overt behavior Robin is underneath it all an insecure dog.

We are working using a more standard rehab approach yet I was concerned that we were not making the progress I had hoped for. Something was just ‘different‘ with Robin.

I was reluctant to consider meds, as I had never needed to go that route with any of my other rehab dogs. But because there were moments where I felt I simply could not reach Robin despite all my efforts I decided I needed to at least be open to giving meds a try.

Robin is on Sertralin. There are several meds to consider, individual dependent.

Again, meds are not right for all, and certainly not a panacea, not a replacement for training and rehab work, and I still must manage Robin. But I think they are helping me to get through to him, to allow Robin to be able to learn to cope.

If you are considering giving meds a trial, I would recommend working with a specialist in behavioral medicine rather than getting the meds from a general vet who does not have a lot of experience in their use. You do need ongoing assessment and evaluation.

—-
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2. Do you think I should push for the spay as soon as possible, despite my vet's suggestion to wait?

Were it me, I would seek out additional expert opinion, made based on assessment of your dog as an individual, and only then, taking in the balance of expert advice specifically tailored to your dog, make your decision. This is not a one-size-fits-all question.

I have spent the last almost 30 years involved in rescue work, and spay/neuter has been integral to that mission. And yet, Robin, who is male, remains intact.

This is a decision I made in discussion with experts, after reading recent research... and one I will revisit as time goes on. So while I still believe that spay/neuter is the right thing for population control as that is the only way to counteract the misery of unwanted pets, and will likely continue to spay or neuter any ‘normal’ dogs who may join me in the future, here is why I made that decision for Robin:

In recent years there has been a fair amount of research and thus a change in expert thinking over the role hormones, or lack thereof, play in canine behavior. Specifically wrt behavior that could be a result of anxiety. And if fear aggression is a factor, it is generally advised to take the more cautious approach.

The old thinking was that neutering, and to a lesser extent spaying, ‘calms them down‘. Today research shows it is more complicated than that. Sure, if the unwanted behavior is purely sexual driven removing the organs that produce sex hormones may likely alter that behavior. But when the behavior is, at its root, not sexually driven, playing around with estrogen and testosterone could exacerbate the problem. Especially when fearfulness and or aggression are a concern.

So the first consideration is what is, at the root, behind your dog’s behavior.

The second consideration is hormonal influence on physical development. You have a giant breed, and my understanding from a skeletal development standpoint it is recommended to wait until full physical maturity is reached, which in giants is usually two or three years old. Here you must consult breed experts.

Key here is that spaying/neutering is, of course, irreversible. When hormonal influence on behavior is a concern, what if we get it wrong and exacerbate existing problems?

Because Robin’s behavior is likely insecurity based, we are first working to improve that behavior, as above.

Some day, when we have made significant progress, I hope to have him neutered.

But the current plan is to first try chemical castration at some point, simply because it is reversible if I find that lack of testosterone affects his behavior negatively. The chip that has been recommended is Suprelorin, as it has fewer side effects.

I do not know anything about chemical castration in females. If you were to consider that step, I would again seek expert guidance.

One of the very helpful consultations we had was with both Dr. Bräm and Dr Iris Reichler from. the Tierspital’s reproduction department:
https://www.tierspital.uzh.ch/de/nut.../reichler.html

Speaking to experts in both fields at the same time helped put a lot into perspective for me.

We are not at a point with Robin’s behavior to try chemical castration yet.

FYI, the Skeptvet blog collated recent studies on risks, benefits, positives and negatives of neutering and spaying. Makes for interesting reading:
http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2013/04/ben...ased-approach/

—-
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3. She is eating BARF + vitamins and veg, could her diet contribute to her behavior?
I have heard anecdotal stories from owners who claim so... about a wide variety of diets. Honestly I do not know, nor am I aware of studies in that direction. Will look around. However, you should ask your vet, trainer, and behaviorist if you choose to work with one for their ideas.

Will write more about some of my management strategies later... in the meantime, have another understanding cyber hug.
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  #83  
Old 18.10.2019, 23:10
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

Wow Meloncollie is all I can say! How lucky are we on EF to have you as a resource . Thank you for all of your valuable info. I for one (as an owner of a very sweet but aging yellow lab - now 9 years old) truly value your insight and posts! Thank you again!
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  #84  
Old 18.10.2019, 23:57
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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Big hugs, as we are in the same boat.

I’m way behind on this thread, so here are my thoughts to your earlier questions:

—-
That you for the hug, we need it!

It’s generally thought that genetics and breed instinct can play a part, hence one should not breed from dogs who show temperament faults such as aggressive behavior or fearfulness. But how much is nature, how much nurture is the big question.

Robin came to me as an adolescent, a rescue as all my dogs. I know who his breeder is, I have his pedigree, but I have not met his mother or other relatives so can only guess as to a temperament/genetic connection.

By a weird coincidence, Robin is related to my Hooligan. Different breeders, from different countries, many years apart - at the least it says that the gene pool in this part of Europe is waaaaaaay too small. But that both dogs ended up on the ‘wilder’ end of the temperament spectrum is interesting.

Also interesting: my Hooligan has epilepsy, which can be inherited. While Robin has not had classic seizures, a few times his behavior has led me to wonder.

All the experts we have seen agree that despite his overt behavior Robin is underneath it all an insecure dog.

We are working using a more standard rehab approach yet I was concerned that we were not making the progress I had hoped for. Something was just ‘different‘ with Robin.

I was reluctant to consider meds, as I had never needed to go that route with any of my other rehab dogs. But because there were moments where I felt I simply could not reach Robin despite all my efforts I decided I needed to at least be open to giving meds a try.

Robin is on Sertralin. There are several meds to consider, individual dependent.

Again, meds are not right for all, and certainly not a panacea, not a replacement for training and rehab work, and I still must manage Robin. But I think they are helping me to get through to him, to allow Robin to be able to learn to cope.

If you are considering giving meds a trial, I would recommend working with a specialist in behavioral medicine rather than getting the meds from a general vet who does not have a lot of experience in their use. You do need ongoing assessment and evaluation.

—-
Yes, this was absolutely my plan, to go, with my journal to a behaviorist, have a consult and then let them meet my dog. I do not think my vet has much experience with the nuances of medicating dogs for these problems.

What you describe--not being able to reach your dog, is exactly what I am experiencing. She wants to be a good girl, she wants to follow my lead, but her frustration and anxiety just consume her. She is not at all happy in this state. I can manage most things, and know to keep her out of certain situations.. to not set her up to fail, but her reactions are over the top and it is impossible for her to take direction from me at this point.

I even have the theory that she is so lazy on walks because much of her brainpower is dedicated to bracing herself for prey (cats, birds etc) or dogs (wanting to greet or not liking the other dog) or random but not typically seen triggers... umbrellas, paper or trash blowing in the street, wind howling through the trees and so on. Of course I'd want to lie down too if I had that much stress.

If we could get her past this, she would have a much more enjoyable time being a dog instead of over policing her environment.



Were it me, I would seek out additional expert opinion, made based on assessment of your dog as an individual, and only then, taking in the balance of expert advice specifically tailored to your dog, make your decision. This is not a one-size-fits-all question.

I have spent the last almost 30 years involved in rescue work, and spay/neuter has been integral to that mission. And yet, Robin, who is male, remains intact.

This is a decision I made in discussion with experts, after reading recent research... and one I will revisit as time goes on. So while I still believe that spay/neuter is the right thing for population control as that is the only way to counteract the misery of unwanted pets, and will likely continue to spay or neuter any ‘normal’ dogs who may join me in the future, here is why I made that decision for Robin:

In recent years there has been a fair amount of research and thus a change in expert thinking over the role hormones, or lack thereof, play in canine behavior. Specifically wrt behavior that could be a result of anxiety. And if fear aggression is a factor, it is generally advised to take the more cautious approach.

The old thinking was that neutering, and to a lesser extent spaying, ‘calms them down‘. Today research shows it is more complicated than that. Sure, if the unwanted behavior is purely sexual driven removing the organs that produce sex hormones may likely alter that behavior. But when the behavior is, at its root, not sexually driven, playing around with estrogen and testosterone could exacerbate the problem. Especially when fearfulness and or aggression are a concern.

So the first consideration is what is, at the root, behind your dog’s behavior.

The second consideration is hormonal influence on physical development. You have a giant breed, and my understanding from a skeletal development standpoint it is recommended to wait until full physical maturity is reached, which in giants is usually two or three years old. Here you must consult breed experts.

Key here is that spaying/neutering is, of course, irreversible. When hormonal influence on behavior is a concern, what if we get it wrong and exacerbate existing problems?

Because Robin’s behavior is likely insecurity based, we are first working to improve that behavior, as above.

Some day, when we have made significant progress, I hope to have him neutered.

But the current plan is to first try chemical castration at some point, simply because it is reversible if I find that lack of testosterone affects his behavior negatively. The chip that has been recommended is Suprelorin, as it has fewer side effects.

I do not know anything about chemical castration in females. If you were to consider that step, I would again seek expert guidance.

One of the very helpful consultations we had was with both Dr. Bräm and Dr Iris Reichler from. the Tierspital’s reproduction department:
https://www.tierspital.uzh.ch/de/nut.../reichler.html

Speaking to experts in both fields at the same time helped put a lot into perspective for me.

We are not at a point with Robin’s behavior to try chemical castration yet.

FYI, the Skeptvet blog collated recent studies on risks, benefits, positives and negatives of neutering and spaying. Makes for interesting reading:
http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2013/04/ben...ased-approach/

—-

I will look into the reproductive specialists. My vet is on the side if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Her issues are not sexually driven at all. Our only concern is her false pregnancy.. this is dangerous to carry on with. Danes are big, but fragile, and an emergency pyro surgery could be fatal for her.. I'd rather be proactive than sorry. There is also the chance of increased aggression when desexing dogs, but most literature I have found has focused on male dogs.

I just know whatever we do, we must go slowly so I can journal and chart all of her issues.. even if with medication or spaying, I wouldn't do these things in quick succession after the other.. just so I can see how she is fairing.



I have heard anecdotal stories from owners who claim so... about a wide variety of diets. Honestly I do not know, nor am I aware of studies in that direction. Will look around. However, you should ask your vet, trainer, and behaviorist if you choose to work with one for their ideas.

Will write more about some of my management strategies later... in the meantime, have another understanding cyber hug.
Thanks again for the hugs. We appreciate it! I will speak with my all of the involved parties and see what they think. If we can modify the diet, or add another supplement or whatever is required we will do it.

I just have to be patient, it will take months to develop a plan and see results. I am willing to wait. What is most important is that my dog is in distress, and I hate this.. breaks me up inside.. it is less about my inconvenience and more about her emotional and mental wellbeing. There is so much of the world I want to show her, but first she must comfortably and safely be able to navigate that world.

Seriously thank you for your advice, I know you have a lot going on... but you are a great wealth of knowledge and we are more than grateful for what you've taken the time to write on our behalf.

RSC and the pups.
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  #85  
Old 19.10.2019, 09:14
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

Certainly in humans there is a direct correlation between gut health and mental health. While the issues with your girl are multi layered, what is her digestion like? If she has poor gut health it could possibly be affecting her anxiety and stress response. Although not the root of the problem it is something I would look at.


You mentioned you are on BARF with supplements. Axel's breeder in UK believed in the BARF diet and he was on it from the time he could have solids. When we bought him over from UK at 14 weeks we had massive problems with his nutrition. He has always had a very sensitive stomach combined with allergies and it wasn't until (with the advice of his vet) we moved away from BARF to a prescription digestive dog food with digestive supplements that we found a real improvement. I don't know what your BARF diet consists of but if you aren't certain that it is a balance diets that ticks all the right nutritional boxes, just adding supplements isn't always the best solution. If digestion is poor you should also not keep changing diet and introduce something new slowly.


As an aside we did not have a good experience with the Nutritionists at the Tierspital Zurich. This was because everything was done via a questionnaire and phone call and the diet and projected growth curve was just a formula. They never saw the need to ever see him to assess nor listen when my vet said he was not putting on enough weight and flourishing on their diet. They were just so fixated on their calculations.



I would be careful just adding more supplements unless you understand the function and affect of each ingredient. I knew the supplements I wanted Axel to be on for his specific issues and then went through it with the vet and got her blessing. I am with MyVet in Cham and they are amazing.



The qualified dog behaviourist MC recommended is an excellent idea but all MC's recommendations are invaluable

Last edited by Mr Dog; 19.10.2019 at 09:27.
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  #86  
Old 20.10.2019, 11:21
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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Our apartment is large, 130 square meters. We have an elevator and we are at the grass in less than 2 minutes. Still, we have been looking for a house, but at this point I pretty much have nothing to say to my husband, because he has been disrespectful to me, to the dogs, to my concerns, and has really had his foot in my ass because he is supporting us while I look for work. As you know Switzerland it is not easy, I am 31 now and have had a small job, but nothing to shake at. I am at B2 level German and it is my desire to teach, as there are a shortage of teachers here but this requires C2 German and it will take me another year to reach this goal.. which I am absolutely broken up about... because I feel like a geriatric entering training for the workforce at 32.. I must take this route or I will be stuck in the service industry at McDonalds and Burger King. Both of which I apply to and patiently await at least a 30% job. I am not arrogant and have no illusions about my lack of marketability here and I would clean toilets, but even those jobs are not easy to get.. I am also learning to drive so am dependent on the SBB.
You are only 31, with native English and with a degree — why do you even consider McDonalds? With some effort and the right focus you could get a job in one of many global companies and start supporting yourself and your hobbies.
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  #87  
Old 20.10.2019, 13:39
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

Some thoughts on management and rehab:

First a caveat on advice from strangers over t’internet: We do not know your dog and have not seen the behavior first hand. With advice from a distance there is always the chance that something important is overlooked or misinterpreted. Therefore it is best that we discuss our own experiences of similar situations, and you take from there the things that seem helpful or appropriate to you. You know your dog best, follow your instincts.

So to start, from my experience with my mixed up mutt:

Robin is actually a wonderful dog at least 95% of the time. Nonetheless, with a constant eye on safety, we manage for that 5% unwanted behavior 100% of the time. Life is less stressful for all of us - dogs and humans - once routines are in place and followed automatically all the time.

With all my rehab cases I divide my approach into immediate management routines and long term desensitizing, re-conditioning, coping strategy, and training goals. The former is used to avoid known triggers, reducing the chance of repeating and thus ingraining the unwanted behavior, and to create a less stressful atmosphere where my dog is in a better frame of mind and can be receptive to working towards the the latter.

Hopefully one day, when we see significant consistent improvement, I won’t need the strict management routines. But for now: safety first.

First immediate management decision:

Robin wears a muzzle. Again a step I have never had to take before, but one made with the idea that we manage for the 5% behavior 100% of the time.

I of course went through gradual muzzle acceptance conditioning so that he sees it as a good thing. If you need advice on how to do that just let me know and I will describe my process.

Muzzle = freedom. The muzzle allows him to run, play, socialize, to have a level of freedom needed for his emotional well-being.

Because we put in the acceptance work upfront, to Robin a muzzle is honestly no different than wearing a collar. The Baskerville allows him to freely drink, I can pop treats into it during training, heck, he can even ‘kiss’ me through the muzzle. I have added grab tails to his favorite toys so that he can play fetch wearing the muzzle. I firmly believe that the muzzle adds to, rather than detracts from, his quality of life.

Robin wears a standard ‘old style’ lightweight clip-fastening Baskerville, bought from Amazon as these are not readily available locally, to which I have added additional bridge padding. The more padded Baskerville pro style that most local stores carry is too wide and too heavy for him.

You mentioned difficulty finding the correct size for your Dane. Dr Bräm gave me the link to a company that makes custom muzzles; while I did not need to go that route and so do not have personal experience, perhaps they could be of help to you:

https://www.bumas.at/

Key to rehabbing a dog whose problems are rooted in anxiety or fear is is creating a relaxed stress free atmosphere. I have found a muzzle to be a great help in that, as I know that nothing can happen. I am not so tense, and thus can send the right signals to my dog.


ETA, with an unexpected plus from wearing a muzzle:

Robin plays a wicked game of Treibball. His muzzle-enhanced nose-dribbling technique leaves all the other dogs in the dust.



More later...

Last edited by meloncollie; 20.10.2019 at 14:02.
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  #88  
Old 21.10.2019, 08:57
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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You are only 31, with native English and with a degree — why do you even consider McDonalds? With some effort and the right focus you could get a job in one of many global companies and start supporting yourself and your hobbies.
I guess coming here was a huge blow to my confidence. And I kind of panicked about the age thing. Seeing that people are in Ausbildung with 16 and so on. Also, I was thinking McDonalds would look like something on my resume. Beyond learning German and working for a stint in an office here I haven't done much.

I know there is the RAV and BIZ, but are there any things here targeted towards English speaking job seekers? It seemed that these places didn't really know where to place me... as the RAV is mostly dealing with Swiss things as is BIZ.. but some guidance with MNCs would be great.

Thank you for the suggestion.

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Old 21.10.2019, 09:01
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

Depending on where Narnia is in Kanton Zurich.... you could start with checking what companies are based in Balsberg Kloten? Lots of international companies there.


Johnson&Johnson is in Neuhausen, Schaffhausen also has some international companies.
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Old 21.10.2019, 09:12
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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Some thoughts on management and rehab:

First a caveat on advice from strangers over t’internet: We do not know your dog and have not seen the behavior first hand. With advice from a distance there is always the chance that something important is overlooked or misinterpreted. Therefore it is best that we discuss our own experiences of similar situations, and you take from there the things that seem helpful or appropriate to you. You know your dog best, follow your instincts.

So to start, from my experience with my mixed up mutt:

Robin is actually a wonderful dog at least 95% of the time. Nonetheless, with a constant eye on safety, we manage for that 5% unwanted behavior 100% of the time. Life is less stressful for all of us - dogs and humans - once routines are in place and followed automatically all the time.

Yes, same with my girl.. but I would give her a soft 87% To me, the muzzle is important when we pass from our house, but out and about her headcollar is enough. She is desensitized to it.. she knows Muzzle = food. We have the Baskerville size 6..

With all my rehab cases I divide my approach into immediate management routines and long term desensitizing, re-conditioning, coping strategy, and training goals. The former is used to avoid known triggers, reducing the chance of repeating and thus ingraining the unwanted behavior, and to create a less stressful atmosphere where my dog is in a better frame of mind and can be receptive to working towards the the latter.

Yes. I have spoken to my neighbor and we now have a schedule with our dogs so that we reduce the chance of anything happening again. And we've all agreed to give a loud "Grüezi!" just to test the waters to see who is there. My two dogs will be muzzled in tight quarters, and only I will walk both of them simultaneously if the situation calls for it, which should be rarely.

Hopefully one day, when we see significant consistent improvement, I won’t need the strict management routines. But for now: safety first.

First immediate management decision:

Robin wears a muzzle. Again a step I have never had to take before, but one made with the idea that we manage for the 5% behavior 100% of the time.

I of course went through gradual muzzle acceptance conditioning so that he sees it as a good thing. If you need advice on how to do that just let me know and I will describe my process.

Muzzle = freedom. The muzzle allows him to run, play, socialize, to have a level of freedom needed for his emotional well-being.

Because we put in the acceptance work upfront, to Robin a muzzle is honestly no different than wearing a collar. The Baskerville allows him to freely drink, I can pop treats into it during training, heck, he can even ‘kiss’ me through the muzzle. I have added grab tails to his favorite toys so that he can play fetch wearing the muzzle. I firmly believe that the muzzle adds to, rather than detracts from, his quality of life.

Robin wears a standard ‘old style’ lightweight clip-fastening Baskerville, bought from Amazon as these are not readily available locally, to which I have added additional bridge padding. The more padded Baskerville pro style that most local stores carry is too wide and too heavy for him.

You mentioned difficulty finding the correct size for your Dane. Dr Bräm gave me the link to a company that makes custom muzzles; while I did not need to go that route and so do not have personal experience, perhaps they could be of help to you:

https://www.bumas.at/

Thank you for this link, we will check it out. The Baskerville is ok, I just notice she has a hard time to eat the treats in it and I don't want to frustrate her. We can use it for now with LeParfait and I will look at getting a custom muzzle that suits her better.

Key to rehabbing a dog whose problems are rooted in anxiety or fear is is creating a relaxed stress free atmosphere. I have found a muzzle to be a great help in that, as I know that nothing can happen. I am not so tense, and thus can send the right signals to my dog.

I agree. Getting out of the house, well any door way for that matter, stresses me and with the muzzle I don't have to worry anymore.I am 100% sure I am anxious and tense instead of being easy and relaxed.. which she needs.


ETA, with an unexpected plus from wearing a muzzle:

Robin plays a wicked game of Treibball. His muzzle-enhanced nose-dribbling technique leaves all the other dogs in the dust.

This is really cute.



More later...
Also, I said I think she is a bit lazy because her brain is taxed by other things.. and given Danes are not the most energetic she just, even without the head collar, stops on the leash and plops down. We have to walk on the pavement for her not to do this.. I want her to take long walks with me in the country like my other dog. Maybe around 60 minutes or 75 minutes.

So far she loves her nosework. I scatter treats and tell her to go search.. she has to wait for me to count them out then give the command to go and get to sniffin. She also likes to dig so I give her now the command to dig and let her do it in appropriate places instead of randomly like before.

I will be looking into behaviorists today among other things and I will keep this thread going if it is helpful for other people.

Thanks again for your help.

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Old 21.10.2019, 09:17
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Depending on where Narnia is in Kanton Zurich.... you could start with checking what companies are based in Balsberg Kloten? Lots of international companies there.


Johnson&Johnson is in Neuhausen, Schaffhausen also has some international companies.
Wow, I am near to SH and Kloten is not that far either! Thank you for the ideas roegner. I will look into different companies and start calling and sending applications for entry level positions. I just need to get my foot in the door somewhere and I know I will work hard and do the best I can.

I was only viewing my marketability from the vantage point of my German skills, but there are so many English markets... tunnel vision really prevents you from seeing all that is possible..

Thanks again for your perspective.

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Old 21.10.2019, 09:23
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Certainly in humans there is a direct correlation between gut health and mental health. While the issues with your girl are multi layered, what is her digestion like? If she has poor gut health it could possibly be affecting her anxiety and stress response. Although not the root of the problem it is something I would look at.

Yes you are right. I think her digestion is good. She was doing poorly on a 50/50 hollistic petfood and raw diet, so at her breeder's suggestion we switched to completely raw after 14 months. She has solid stools now, no loose ones as before. She is growing steadily, except due to the fasle pregnacy she lost weight and her appetite.

You mentioned you are on BARF with supplements. Axel's breeder in UK believed in the BARF diet and he was on it from the time he could have solids. When we bought him over from UK at 14 weeks we had massive problems with his nutrition. He has always had a very sensitive stomach combined with allergies and it wasn't until (with the advice of his vet) we moved away from BARF to a prescription digestive dog food with digestive supplements that we found a real improvement. I don't know what your BARF diet consists of but if you aren't certain that it is a balance diets that ticks all the right nutritional boxes, just adding supplements isn't always the best solution. If digestion is poor you should also not keep changing diet and introduce something new slowly.

I will bring my vitamin to the vet and let him look at it and see what he says. I will also ask him to tell me how I can know if her digestion is up to par. If not, we will make changes.


As an aside we did not have a good experience with the Nutritionists at the Tierspital Zurich. This was because everything was done via a questionnaire and phone call and the diet and projected growth curve was just a formula. They never saw the need to ever see him to assess nor listen when my vet said he was not putting on enough weight and flourishing on their diet. They were just so fixated on their calculations.

I would want my dog to be assessed in person and with labs. So much can be lost via questionnaires and over the phone. I will ask if it is possible to do a consult about nutrition in tandem with behavioral consults since these things go together.


I would be careful just adding more supplements unless you understand the function and affect of each ingredient. I knew the supplements I wanted Axel to be on for his specific issues and then went through it with the vet and got her blessing. I am with MyVet in Cham and they are amazing.


Yes, you are right. We will consult the vet about her diet from now on.

The qualified dog behaviourist MC recommended is an excellent idea but all MC's recommendations are invaluable
Agreed. Every single post of advice given here has allowed me to consider all things from multiple perspectives. For that I am very thankful.. it is hard to see things about yourself or your dog when you've got tunnel vision or you're ruminating but not coming up with anything better on your own. It really takes a village. Thank you again.

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Old 21.10.2019, 09:45
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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Wow, I am near to SH and Kloten is not that far either! Thank you for the ideas roegner. I will look into different companies and start calling and sending applications for entry level positions. I just need to get my foot in the door somewhere and I know I will work hard and do the best I can.

I was only viewing my marketability from the vantage point of my German skills, but there are so many English markets... tunnel vision really prevents you from seeing all that is possible..

Thanks again for your perspective.

RSC
If 31 is too old to look for a job, than most of us would be screwed. I started my career over at exactly that age in Switzerland and have been gainfully employed ever since.

The best way to get your foot in the door is through a contracting job. Most of the corporations take inexperienced people on for 6-12 months periods, because it is less risk. Once you have your first Swiss experience, it becomes much easier to find work. Try reaching out to the contracting companies like Hays, CTC and Kelly Services. Good luck!
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Old 21.10.2019, 12:49
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If 31 is too old to look for a job, than most of us would be screwed. I started my career over at exactly that age in Switzerland and have been gainfully employed ever since.

LOL.. that's good to know, it keeps me hopeful! I was never one to lament ageing, but I went through it whilst considering retraining and work prospects! In America job descriptions do not have ages listed, or preferred sex. So when I saw this for the first time I was like

The best way to get your foot in the door is through a contracting job. Most of the corporations take inexperienced people on for 6-12 months periods, because it is less risk. Once you have your first Swiss experience, it becomes much easier to find work. Try reaching out to the contracting companies like Hays, CTC and Kelly Services. Good luck!
This is excellent advice! I will get on top of the leads you've given immediately! I never realized how important work and school were to my identity until I got here and could not figure things out on my own. I kind of felt like I had no purpose and started to feel incompetent and aimless. It really knocked my confidence down a few pegs, that's for sure. It just goes so show that you need people to point you in the right direction when you are new here so you can create your own trajectory.

I feel emboldened to try again. Despite these less than stellar circumstances, I have a better rapport with my neighbor than ever before, and I got a wealth of information from posting this thread. So in a way I can kill two birds with one stone.. my dog's behavioral problems and my ability to find employment again.

Thanks again
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Old 21.10.2019, 12:53
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

I also wanted to take the time and apologize to Today Only for how I responded. Posts have since been deleted, but I want to acknowledge that my reaction was in poor taste , and not at all reflective of who I am in real life nor how I want to interact with people in my vicinity nor on any forum anonymous or not.

Kindly
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Old 21.10.2019, 13:09
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

Bravo, RedSoloCup, and thank you very much. I think you've been going through a tough time, and I'm glad you stuck around to get some of the very many good sides of this Forum, which, I hope, have been part of what has helped you get back to the you you want to be. Thank you for this post.
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Old 21.10.2019, 13:37
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Bravo, RedSoloCup, and thank you very much. I think you've been going through a tough time, and I'm glad you stuck around to get some of the very many good sides of this Forum, which, I hope, have been part of what has helped you get back to the you you want to be. Thank you for this post.
Thank you doropfiz. There is a silver lining in the grey cloud.. lol I butchered this saying, but you know what I mean

The advice I have gotten here has been invaluable, even in comparison to RAV and BIZ. So I am grateful I stuck around and you're correct in your hopes. The Forum has given me a launch pad to construct my life and living situation in a manner that is agreeable to me, my relationship with my dogs and husband, and Switzerland in general.

I will be sticking around and hoping I can pay it forward to anyone here who has questions or needs help navigating circumstances I have already experienced. Even when I don't know about something, I can perhaps be of help in pointing someone in the right direction to someone who does.

This has been a humbling and eye-opening experience.

Kindly,
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Old 21.10.2019, 13:49
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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I kind of felt like I had no purpose and started to feel incompetent and aimless. It really knocked my confidence down a few pegs, that's for sure.
I know the feeling well and still feel it sometimes even after being here almost 10 years. It will get better, promise. Don't give up and if you ever need any advice or someone to talk to, feel free to PM me.
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Old 21.10.2019, 14:20
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

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I know the feeling well and still feel it sometimes even after being here almost 10 years. It will get better, promise. Don't give up and if you ever need any advice or someone to talk to, feel free to PM me.
Susie-Q, thank you very much. It is nice to know I am not alone in my feelings. I was feeling so ungrateful that I couldn't just manage as a Hausfrau, because for some of my friends, this is the dream. I kept thinking why can't I just be happy, I have so much privilege and I am not hurting for anything. Then I realized different things please different people!

Coming here stripped away any delusions I had about what would make me happy and I have accepted that for my happiness I need a balance.. being there for my husband but also forging a life for myself if our relationship continues. Note I say this without judging people who have taken other paths as I don't look down or up at people who make different choices.. we're all equals taking different paths based on our unique needs.

I will absolutely PM you, thank you very much for extending that olive branch. Again, a big thank you to all of the others that have also PM'd me to support me through such a trying time.

I have a new game plan and a new strategy. I feel like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. If you're reading this and you've had a hard time integrating, know someone else can relate and with the wealth of knowledge here we can be of big help to one another.

Kindly,
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Old 21.10.2019, 17:51
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Re: At the end of my rope.. husband, two dogs..

Hello, RedSoloCup

I am deeply touched by your message as I also have a reactive dog.

Mine is an 8 months old Weimaraner with half of the size of your girl (he's "only" 30 kgs) and when he pulls, he pulls....

I have no miracle recipe to tell you but I wanted to share my experience so you know you are not alone out there.

We got our baby boy when he was 2 months old from a farm in Germany. He was the sweetest little boy but already full of energy and extremely brave - not shy at all as you described yours. He loves people and other dogs since he was a tiny baby.

We attended puppy school and on the last day he freaked out. He didn't pay attention to anything, wanted to play the whole time and I was so scared that I left the class CRYING. The trainer, who also owns a Weimaraner, told me that it would be the first of many days that I would cry as Weimaraners are a constant challenge.

After puppy school, we changed to another trainer closer to our house and he was progressing tremendously well. We were doing social walk classes on Saturday and the obligatory classes during the week. We were on fire with his training!!! Walking on lead was a problem but he was progressing quite well with everything else.

Then, the horror. One morning we woke up and took him to quick pee outside and when he reached for something on the floor he started screaming in pain and couldn't walk anymore. To resume this horrible period, he was diagnosed with Discospondylitis, meaning 2 months of treatment, without any exercise, inside the apartment and no training. We live on the third floor and he refuses to do his things inside the apartment, so we were carrying him up and down every three hours to do his business, he wouldn't eat from his bowl so we had to feed him, and he would wake up every hour screaming in pain. I must say that if we were in doubt at the time of our marriage, it absolutely brought us together.

After this horrible period, we went back to training with our previous trainer and we didn't connect anymore. Carioca, our dog, was showing already reactiveness and her approach to the issue didn't make us comfortable. So we changed to our third dog trainer!!!!

We were back to basics, everything from step one, but now with a 20 kgs dog instead of a little puppy. During the first month of this new beginning, which was absolutely tiring, I wrote a letter to every neighbor explaining the situation and asking for patience as we were trying to do our best. With a box of chocolate They were ALL very nice to us and extremely worried about him, always asking whether he was getting better and so on. Nevertheless, we had two big issues with neighbors:

1) our dog is used to be alone at home for 30 min to 1 hour since he came to us. After he got sick, and I dropped everything to be by his side, he was not one second alone for two whole months. One night we decided to go for dinner - we needed some time off - and we were checking on him on camera. We could see that he was oscillating between quiet times watching tv to barking moments. We were away for 2 hours in total but always checking on the camera. We came home and everything was peaceful until the morning after. We've known our next-door neighbors since before we moved in here and we get along quite well. The next morning he texted me about something and added: "Oh, btw, the neighbors complained about Carioca." I asked who it was and he told me that the neighbors upstairs - who also have a dog that HATES our dog - came to ask if he was ok because someone else called them complaining. I couldn't quite understand the whole thing until I got a letter from my mailbox being extremely passive-aggressive saying we were not respecting animal welfare, acusing us of leaving him alone THE WHOLE DAY at home without food and water and threatening to call the police next time this would happen. It took me a while to figure out who it was, and it is a neighbor from another building across the street. Our apartment is all glassed so she can see straight in our kitchen. Needless to say, I spent the whole day crying and stressed because, sorry for my french, WTF?!?!?! We left him two hours, he has food, water, treats, he had a peanut butter kong with him, a/c on the whole time, tv on and we could check on camera that he was not freaking out the whole time. After I calmed myself down and had a loooong therapy session, I wrote a letter back explaining the whole situation and inviting her for a walk with us so she could get to know us better and understand how we are raising our dog. For weeks every time our dog used to barks - she would pop out of her window and looks straight into our apartment. Now he barely barks anymore - we use a "time out" technique (happy to share) and she finally left us alone.

2) The second situation happened with our neighbor from the first floor. We have no garden in our building except a shared one on the street that is super small but helpfull when is 9 pm and our dog needs a quick pee. So one day, after I trained my dog the whole day, including forest walk (we go every day, btw), I was exhausted and took him for the last pee of the day. Suddenly a guy in skateboard comes and scares Carioca that immediately starts barking. I was there in that situation trying to calm him down and then a head pops out of a window - "Why do you ALWAYS take your dog here?" I froze. I was already stressed out with the whole thing plus the neighbor from across the street, I didn't need anyone inside my own building complaining now. I answered that it was the closest patch of grass close to home. And he told me: go to a forest. Again, 9 pm. So I said I was sorry and asked if bothered him that I took my dog there. He said that no. He was just concerned about my dog because he seemed stressed. And there I was again EXPLAINING my life and my dog's life to a stranger.

Again, spent hours crying and started wondering: do people also ask parents on the street if their kids are ok if they are crying? Do people send letters accusing parents of mistreatment?

Anyway.... We of course by this point realized we would have problems and wanted to be somehow protected. So now we don't only have a camera at home but we RECORD every single thing inside this house. We joke that by now we are reality show stars somewhere in China (the could service is hosted there apparently).

On top of that, we went to Tierspital him with him to get a check-up and by our surprise, there was a behavioral vet accompanying the consultation - Dr. Bräm. She came to our house to check on him, because he hates the vet (no wonder, he had to go there so many times for two months). She prescribed a natural pill for anxiety, pet remedy diffuser, and feromone spray whenever we leave the house with him on a bandana. I must say that it was a great and very helpful consultation. We just didn't accept her suggestion of medicaments. I must point out that our dog does not show signs of aggression. He is a extremely playful big puppy.

By now he still is very reactive when sees another dog on the street but is getting better. I believe is something related to puberty, plus his reactiveness, plus the breed itself.

All that to say, you are not alone out there. If you need to talk, to share experiences, grab a coffee or whatever, we are here
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