New onset generalised fear 3yr lab

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Nicola McCartney, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. Nicola McCartney

    Nicola McCartney Registered Users

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    My 3rd old lab has had a wonderful active and happy life. He has now developed a generalised fear of noises to the point he is too scared to go into the garden or out of the car. Its very upsetting and I just want to help him get back to his happy self. He is clearly very depressed at not being able to get his normal big happy walks or play in his garden. He seems paralyzed with fear. Im desparate for help.
     
  2. Candy

    Candy Registered Users

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    I'm so sorry to hear this Nicola, it must be heartbreaking for you. I have had no experience of this with any of my dogs so it's difficult to give advice but I wanted you to know that this forum is the right place to come to, there may well be someone out there who can help you. Was there any particular noise that you can think of that may have scared him, or that he has started to associate with a (possibly totally unrelated in our view) experience? I think if he was my dog I'd also get him checked out by a vet and they might be able to offer advice/reassurance and perhaps some information about where to go next if necessary. What's your lovely boy's name? What colour is he? Do hope you manage to find some help with him.
     
  3. Stacia

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    My Lab suddenly became frightened of a squeaky noise, the sound of the fire alarm battery going off every few minutes, the squeak of husband's shoes on kitchen floor and this generalised into daily life. I went to the vet and had some tranquillisers, forgotten the name but they are something to do with milk. These helped enormously. Have you any idea what frightened your dog in particular which set him off on this generalised, paralysed fear? Have you tried a behaviourist? I think the vet is your first call though.
     
  4. Jojo83

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    Definitely a visit to the vet first. There are some modern medicines which are very effective and should help. Then a good, positive reward based behaviourist can help with modifying the behavior with desensitising /counter conditioning. Your poor boy needs to be in a mental state where he is relaxed enough to respond to training though, so vet first.
     
  5. Nicola McCartney

    Nicola McCartney Registered Users

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    Hes had a lot of change in the past 6 months.

    At the end of January 2018 we moved house and he changed dog walker. At the end of february 2018 we had our first baby. Then in mid April he got a broken rib - we have no idea how and the dog walkers insist nothing happened with him. He started off being fearful of motorbike noises only but this has worsened as time has gone on to the point je doesnt want to go anywhere and is pre-empting being scared. We have been through various theories including being kicked by a biker etc but the fact is we are never going to know.

    Vet has done range of blood tests etc and said nothing of note. He is still eating ok.

    Behaviourist has given training commands etc but i cant even do them because my dog wont even get out the house or car to begin any of it.

    His name is Jim. He is the sweetest boy.
     
  6. Keithmac

    Keithmac Registered Users

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    Sounds like your dog walker could be the only one to answer the question?.
     
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  7. Jes72

    Jes72 Registered Users

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    You are not alone

    Our dog developed fears of noise at about the same age. He was a happy confident dog until then. There was no specific trigger that started his fear and it became generalised very quickly and he was well socialised to city noises as a puppy.

    We took him to the vetenaian behaviourist who prescribed anti anxiety medication. The first one didn’t work that well with him, he became a bit of an overconfident bully but still scared. We tried a different drug which has helped him but building back his confidence and reducing his reactions to noise has been slow progress.

    There was a point where he wouldn’t leave the house if he’d heard a noise in the street. Sometimes he’d only go for a walk in his favourite direction but if there was a noise along the way i’d be pulled straight back home. It was the point when I walked up to the vets in my welly boots holding the lead but with no dog as he wouldn’t go out the door that I realised that we all needed help.

    I started posting my experiences here and got a lot of support and there are others who have similar problems. The support i’ve had on this forum has been invaluable.
     
  8. Nicola McCartney

    Nicola McCartney Registered Users

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    They insist nothing happened unfortunately.
     
  9. Nicola McCartney

    Nicola McCartney Registered Users

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    This is interesting to hear. How is your dog now? How did you go about trying to get your dog to even leave the house or car? I dont know where to start. Can you advise which medication it was that seemed to help and in what way it helped?
     
  10. Jes72

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    Homer is now six so it’s been about three years of dealing with him and his anxieties. Will he take treats while he’s in the car? Or at home?

    Choose quiet times of the day when there is less traffic and scatter treats near the front door, then near the open front door then just outside the door. Each step may take a number of attempts over days and you’ll need to be patient.

    With the car take him to a favourite walking spot also during a quiet time of day leave the door open and wait for him. Any movement he makes towards the open door give him praise and a treat, he may not take the treat but leave it there for a while. Scatter treats just outside the car and so on. You might need to set up a camping chair while you wait for him, get out the thermos have a cup of tea and show him that you are relaxed and that the all’s ok.

    Little by little, slowly slowly.

    Snowbunny posts on here and has more advice.
     
  11. Stacia

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    Doesn't mean nothing happened! He must have got the broken rib somehow! Could explain his fear of going outside.
     
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  12. Nicola McCartney

    Nicola McCartney Registered Users

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    Believe me i agree. I have begged them for info 3 times to no avail.
     
  13. Stacia

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    IF it did happen with them, I guess they are not likely to confess now. How is he now? Did the vet have any ideas as to how he could have had a broken rib?
     
  14. Jojo83

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    At the end of the day it doesn't really matter what happened or how, you have to work with where your dog is now. A discussion with your vet regarding anti-anxiety drugs will start to help him.but you are unlikely to manage any behaviour modification until he feels less anxious about everything.
     
  15. Nicola McCartney

    Nicola McCartney Registered Users

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    Going to ask vet for anti anxieties again. Did before but vet said to work with behaviourist first. I dont think they quite appreciated just how paralyzed with fear he is and how difficult it is to even train so yes, think i will begin with some meds to calm him in the background and work on behaviour on top of that.
     
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  16. Jojo83

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    It's great that your vet recommended a behaviourist, and a behaviourist really can help (as long as they only use positive reward based methods). Good luck with the vet :) and please let us know how you get on.
     
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