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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19270
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Good morning, I have a sprocker spaniel he is 5 years old.

Resolved Question:

Good morning,
I have a sprocker spaniel he is 5 years old. Since we had him he has always been frightened of wind, in fact any noise what so ever, we have praised him, loved him more, a few treats but now his behaviour is becoming worse, he has been to our vet who has prescribed drops to be given on such occasions, however we are now getting more tremors on any noise, this has been going on before we had his medication, to begin with that worked now no longer. He has become far more protective of me since my husband passed away, he has never been aggressive and although he barks there has not been any signs of aggression from him, due to adverse weather at present, I am awake most of the night trying to console him, wind is something you cannot see and is an unknown entity. How can I help him please to comfort,settle him especially during the night, at present he is on the bed with me, snoring like a trooper! Many many thanks, XXXXX XXXXX
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Hi Mary,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

Unfortunately, it sounds like you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior. When a dog is fearful and you reassure them, pet them and talk softly to them, you are showing them attention. dogs love attention and see it as positive. So when you reassure them when they are displaying unwanted behavior, it is seen as positive reinforcement and they continue the behavior. Basically you are rewarding the behavior.

A lot of owners do this without even thinking about it. As humans we are used to comforting others when they are worried, in pain or hurt. In the dog world, pack members would treat this differently.

I'll give you a lot of things to try. Many dogs have reactions to noises. Most of these noise reactive dogs are reactive to thunder, guns and fireworks. For these types of things, some people tape the noise and play it back at lower volumes while playing with the dog and providing positive reinforcement for the dog's lack of anxiety while the noise is played at low volumes. Positive reinforcement would include calm praise and hot dog slices, raw liver slivers or other tasty treat (not regular treats). You then gradually increase the volume slowly until your dog is desensitized to the noise. So basical, ignore the fearful behavior and reward ans show lots of attention when he is not acting scared.

Your vet could prescribe a stronger non herbal medication called Acepromazine, which is a tranquilizer. You can read about this here:
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/acepromazine-promace-aceproject/page1.aspx

Another prescription drug would be Xanax but I have to caution you not to give any prescription drug to your dog without consulting your vet first.
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/alprazolam-xanax/page1.aspx

TFLN can be used, but if it hasn't been working, you might want to try a stronger medication until you get him turned around.

Another treatment is Melatonin which you can read about here. It has been shown to work well for noise phobias.
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/melatonin-melatonex/page1.aspx

DAP (adaptil) collars might help a bit as well. They produce pheromones that mimic the ones produced by a nursing mom to calm her pups. It has proven to be helpful with this problem but was used in conjunction with desensitization so it is unknown if the collar or the training was the major factor in resolving the problem.

Since the dog has been displaying this behavior for quite some time, I would use stronger medication, the adaptil collar and desensitization to change his behavior around. You will need to be strong and ignore the undesired behavior. Initially he will be worse because in the past, this behavior got him what he wanted which is attention, so he will increase the behavior thinking that you will react as you have in the past. Once he sees you won't give him attention for the behavior and notices that you now give him attention when he is calm, you will see a change pretty quickly. Once that happens, you can discontinue the medications until he no longer needs any medication, collar or training for the issue.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
.
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19270
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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