Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things That Go Boom

I'm reaching my breaking point.

No matter where we go, there is a sound to scare Marge. It has never been this bad. Every single day, there is construction going on about 2 blocks over. Fine, won't walk that way. Every night, there are fireworks or some equally loud, similar sounding noise. So now we can't walk during the day and can't walk at night either.

Yesterday at the beach a firework went off literally a minute before we were about to leave.

Today she was afraid of the car.

Tonight we walked and she was afraid of every person she saw, sound she heard.

Oh, and there was a stray firework just as we were getting ready to walk down a dreaded side street. Umm, conditioning much? Here I am trying to break Marge's idea that side streets = scary, and what do I have to wind up doing? Turn around, go back the other way with a dog pulling for dear life at the other end of the leash because she just heard the one thing that sends her into a frenzy.

Now she's hiding under the desk.

We can barely walk anywhere anymore. The only "good" places are 20 minutes away by car. Her fear has gotten worse. Since May, we have been on a serious downturn.. a downturn I was able to deal with, a downturn I thought was getting better. But the past two weeks have been hell. I have had to make so many amendments as to what to do and what not to do with Marge. And now, I have made so many more.

What is there left for me to do?


Sue July 17, 2009 at 12:16 PM  

Have you considered using an anti-anxiety drug for awhile. We only had to use it for a short time with Tsar until he realized the world wasn't out to get him. Morgan, on the other hand will be on it for the rest of her life. We use Clomicalm. You could talk to you vet about it and see what he/she thinks.

Sam July 17, 2009 at 2:36 PM  

Hi Sue,

I put a call in to the vet today, but he won't be in until Wednesday. Since I prefer to work with the same doctor, I'm going to wait until then and either talk to him or bring her in.

I'd like to get a blood test done on her, and perhaps if nothing comes up, will consider a short-term drug plan to help her reset herself.

It's just so hard.. I don't want to lose the things that she loves to do because her fear has hit a high point once again.

Martha July 17, 2009 at 5:27 PM  

Sorry you are having such a hard time. Unexpected noises can freak Martha out too but she is most freaked by busy places with lots of people.
Guess that makes it a little easier cos we avoid those.
Unfortunately you cannot avoid sudden noises!
We did find the rescue remedy suggested by Clive's mum helpful earlier on but haven't used it for a while.
Have a chat with the vet as something to calm her could help.
Good luck xxxxx

Sue July 18, 2009 at 12:42 PM  

The thing I like about Clomicalm is that it doesn't make them groggy. They are still alert and aware, it just eases the anxiety. Tsar had the worst case of separation anxiety I had ever dealt with. At one point I almost gave up. Rob and I discussed whether we could keep him. That's when I started the drug. At the same time I put him in obedience class. The combination, plus lots and lots of positive reinforcement got us thru and now we can leave him and he doesn't even look up. He is still a spooky dog in some ways and he requires a very positive attitude. Any harsh word or negative vibe and he shuts down. He's a great dog now and we can take him anywhere or leave him home - no problem. He was only on the drug for a couple months, Morgan will be on forever.

Anonymous July 18, 2009 at 3:57 PM  

Wow. I'm sorry to hear about the stress this is causing you. : ( I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to walk Marge or do anything with her when she's so high-strung from a loud noise.

And I thought that I had it bad with Donatello, at least every day is a new day with him and he somewhat forgets what's scared him the day before... And he's not scared of loud noises to the point he freaks out...

I second the idea for anti-stress/anxiety medicine; Natural, herbal, or anything you think might help.

Good luck to you and to Marge. : )

Astrid Keel July 18, 2009 at 4:50 PM  

Sam, I'm so sorry to hear about this. I second trying a herbal remedy such as Rescue Remedy (made by Bach's). You can put drops of them on her collar. There are also some collars that are already imbued with herbal calmants that you can put on Marge for during her walks.

I don't know if this is goign to work, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway - you know your dog better than anyone, and maybe this is going to freak her out more than it will help. Anyhow, maybe you can get a cd or make a cd of booming noises (gun shot, fireworks, dynamite explosions etc.), and develop some positive association: start with the cd (or DVD or whatever) on VERY low, and feed marge treats. Then up the volume a little, feed her treats, and so on, until you get to full volume. It may take more than a two weeks or so to build up to full volume, but maybe that can work?

I hope that find a good solution for Marge's fear.

Rufus and Indie July 18, 2009 at 8:48 PM  

Fireworks? We can't hate them more! Poor Marge!
Rufus and Indie

PoochesForPeace July 19, 2009 at 9:35 PM  

wow, i really like brownie's idea of desensitizing!

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