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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2796
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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Can you help. I have a 2 year old miniature poodle called

Customer Question


Can you help. I have a 2 year old miniature poodle called Zen. His personality seems to be changing from a lively happy dog to a sullen quiet dog. He is becoming aggressive when seeing other dogs out on walks, he cowers away from me when I try and stroke him, although he is treated so well. He wont eat unless really hungry and its becoming a big problem
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Jo :

,

Dr. Jo :

My name is***** and I'll do my best to help you with your questions about Zen.

Dr. Jo :

I'm so sorry you're facing these difficult problems with him, but really glad you're looking information you need.

Dr. Jo :

To join the conversation, simply type in what you want to say, then click REPLY.

Dr. Jo :

That way we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided.

Dr. Jo :

Please tell me if Zen is still taking in some food at least every few days and if he has become alarmingly skinny...

JACUSTOMER-4jauqnuz- :

Dr Jo

Dr. Jo :

At the age of 2, Zen is becoming an adult and is shaping his adult personality. It's really important to determine if he is acting this way because of a medical issue or because of a behavioral issue.

JACUSTOMER-4jauqnuz- :

No he will eventually eat but seem sto just want treats he gets really excited if he gets one but if I try and resist giving him one he goes and sits by the door looking sad.

Dr. Jo :

Because of that, I'd advise starting with a thorough veterinary examination. These signs could be associated with any one of a number of different medical problems, and - if that's the case - you'll want to identify them as early as possible so you can get started on the treatment.

JACUSTOMER-4jauqnuz- :

ok do you think this is linked to his behavioural problems?

Dr. Jo :

My suspicion, however, is that this is a behavior problem. I say this because of the way you are wording much of your description of your situation...

Dr. Jo :

You seem very focused on Zen and his satisfaction and happiness. This is a good thing, but...

Dr. Jo :

it can lead to some serious behavior problems.

Dr. Jo :

I will commonly see well-intentioned dog owners who are very focused on trying to understand their dogs. They do this so they can determine what their dog wants, so they in turn can provide the dog what it wants. They do this in an effort to be a 'good owner', and to help make the dog be happy.

Dr. Jo :

Unfortunately, the idea of getting what we want so we can be happy is a fundamentally flawed and very *human* notion. If it's kept up, we can make our dogs as unhappy as we are, even though they don't start out that way.

JACUSTOMER-4jauqnuz- :

I know I think I see him very much as a baby or small child I am just worried he is becoming withdrawn. He is always a happy boy when I get in from work but then seems to back away from me its as if he is scared of me which is ridiculous as I love him and try and look after him 100% My family think he is spoilt.

Dr. Jo :

Does what I'm saying make sense to you?

Dr. Jo :

Based on what description you've given so far, I'll gently offer that I'm inclined to agree with your family.

Dr. Jo :

You're trying to speak HUMAN to him and he needs you to speak DOG.

Dr. Jo :

I'd encourage you to focus all your efforts at looking after him into energy in learning to treat him like a dog so he really can be happy. This means NOT having someone trying to satisfy him all the time.

JACUSTOMER-4jauqnuz- :

yes I think you are right its just he is so intelligent I suppose Iv forgotten how to treat him like a dog. Im so upset what can I do?

Dr. Jo :

I could suggest a few good books on understanding dog behavior. This will help you not feel rejected or taking it personally when he makes you feel withdrawn.

Dr. Jo :

What should you do? Three steps...

Dr. Jo :

1. Start with that thorough exam. We need to be sure there's not a medical issue here.

Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2796
Experience: DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
Dr. Jo and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

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If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry Are you still there?

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
Yes... one moment... typing.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
Step 2.
Read some good books about dog behavior. You need to learn to appropriately interpret Zen's body language and behavior. Right now, you're interpreting it as if the message were being sent by a human. That's causing you to misunderstand him.
Step 3.
If possible, enlist the help of a credentialed dog behaviorist. This person would be able to work with you and Zen in the home and help you learn to send and receive messages appropriately. With a lot of work and some time (weeks to months), you two will be able to understand each other much better and have a much more satisfying relationship.
I hope this information helps.
Let me look up some links to some good books ...
One moment.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
Here's an excellent book that I think would be really useful in your situation.
http://www.amazon.com/Behave-Behaves-Revised-Updated-Editon-ebook/dp/B004GUSDK4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423137322&sr=8-1&keywords=sophia+yin
And here's another. While Zen isn't being aggressive, the techniques described in this book would be very useful to be familiar with.
http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Aggression-Fearful-Reactive-Hyperactive/dp/0991495349/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1423137322&sr=8-3&keywords=sophia+yin
Lastly, this is another book that would be excellent in your situation. As you've noted, Zen is a really intelligent dog. Right now he's keeping himself busy by making sure he manages you and how things are run in your household. That really isn't making you or him very happy. If you redirect this energy and intelligence into making *him* please *you*, you'll both be a lot more satisfied. I love that the focus of this book is teaching YOU how to be a good dog leader.
http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Fido-Learn-Earn-Developing-ebook/dp/B007WU6MTY/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1423137322&sr=8-5&keywords=sophia+yin
I hope this information helps.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
Please remember I am here and am happy to discuss this with you until you are satisfied with the information I've provided.
You may return to this page at any time to review the information and/or post more at no additional charge to you. I will be notified of your response via email and will do my best to help.
If you are satisfied with the information I've provided so far, I'll kindly ask you to rate my response on your way out of the chat.
If you are not, please let me know how else I may be of assistance.
Thank you our website.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you very much I will order the books and see how we get on.

Its been good to realise that these problems can be addressed.

I have booked a vet appointment today to eliminate anything as you suggested.

I am most grateful you help.

Kind Regards.

Jayne.

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
This sounds like an excellent plan. Good luck to you and Zen. :-)

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