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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19951
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My 10 year old beardie is acting strangely. For the last 2

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My 10 year old beardie is acting strangely. For the last 2 weeks she seems to prefer to be in another room to us. She is now even reluctant to come into our bedroom to sleep at night. She avoids eye contact with me, turns away from us when she is in the same room and rarely interacts with us now. I have just got married and moved in with my husband, they both get on very well but of course she is no longer my main focus. I have also recently changed her diet from once a day vitalin muesli with a cooked chicken quarter (no bones) to forthglade 2 packs a day as she had been chewing grass to bring up bile (?) every day. This vomiting has practically stopped as a result. I think she may have worms and am about to treat her for that but not sure if this is explaining her avoidant behaviour.

Just to add to the mix, I am beginning to suffer from osteoarthritis and am currently finding our usual walks in the woods impossible, so we don't go that far and she is increasingly reluctant to go out. We now live near a steam railway station and she dislikes the tooting engine!

We plan to move this summer to greener, dog friendly countryside and I am wondering whether she, too, could with a companion to add some interest to her life.
Our current situation is a bit complicated but I want her to be as happy as possible and I am concerned about her.

Thank you.
Veronica
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Hi Veronica,
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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.
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Often when you add another member to the pack, the lowest ranking dog will avoid the other members of the pack until they are positive how they will be treated. This applies even if the new member is a known individual.

If your husband could work with her a little on obedience, it will help her understand just what he expects of her and she will be more inclined to hang out with both of you. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

It works best to train 15 minutes each day.
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Another possibility is an undiagnosed health issue. Often when a dog becomes ill they will isolate themselves since ina wild pack they often are attacked when not in tip top shape. So a senior check up would be a good idea.
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She could also be experiencing Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) which has been seen in dogs much younger than yours. There is a wonderful site that explains it well and also explains how to document your dog's behavior and discuss it with your vet.

The good news is that there is a drug called L-Selegeline (Anipryl (R)) which has been approved for use in the clinical indication of cognitive dysfunction (CDS) in dogs.

Please see this site for more information and other causes that may exhibit the same symptoms.

http://www.swiftwaterfarms.com/swiftwater/p22CanineCognitiveDysfunction.htm

http://www.cliniciansbrief.com/column/applied-behavior/house-soiling-cognitive-dysfunction-syndrome?96m5sri9MY

Often dogs with CDS will start having house training issues and even get lost or not seem to recognize familiar people. It varies depending upon the extent of the CDS.

If this is strictly behavioral and not medical in nature, the training with your husband should work well to take care of the situation.
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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 .
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
1. We moved in with Peter end January and this avoidance behaviour is very noticeable and incremental over the last 2weeks.
As I think the new hierarchy must be playing a part, I have wondered whether she would benefit from a companion of her own species. Would it be bad timing? We also plan to move this summer to a new home. If we do get another dog, should it be prior or after the move? Filska is a long-lived breed but it may be unkind to get another do. Really confused as to how to get it right for her.

2. While I thought the bile issue was resolved, she has actually started up again for three days in a row.

3. Could worms be at the root of her grass chewing and vomiting and the avoidance behaviour?

I will take her to a vet but wanted to be as certain as possible about what was psychological or medical. They tend to do so many expensive tests without looking at the whole picture, treating each symptom separately.

I found your reply very thorough and helpful. Thank you very much.
Veronica

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Veronica,
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I am sorry I failed to address that. Until she has had a senior check up (10 years old is even senior for a breed that lives to be 18-20 years old), I would not get another dog. If you decide to get another dog, I would get an opposite sex dog and either one that is very young(8 weeks) or one that is older (6 months or so). Be sure the companion is neutered as well.

I would probably wait until you move to a new house and I'll tell you why. If you got a dog now, they would realize that your girl is the "owner" of the house but when you move to a new home, the new dog might feel no one owns that house and they can boss her around. So give her a month or so at the new home before bringing another pup home.

For the bile issue, you should feed smaller meals more often. . This will cut down on excess bile. I'd also add a spoonful of plain yogurt to your dog’s food 2-3 times a week to add good bacteria to your dog’s stomach to aid in digestion as well. A probiotic can also help. These are available from the pet store or your vet.

Pepcid can also be given. Read about dosages and usage information here:
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/famotidine-pepcid/page1.aspx
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Worms can cause some vomiting but I would expect to see loose bowels and more gagging or vomiting at meal time. The same thing with a protozoan infection. If you are concerned about worms, you can go ahead and deworm her. Common dewormers are Panacur, which is a prescription product so you need to obtain it from your Vet and it works on roundworms and whipworms. Wormers labeled as Pyrantel Pamoate are the best over the counter medication for roundworms. Drontal plus is also a prescription product and is used for the treatment of Tapeworms, though dewormers with praziquantel work well against tapeworms. Many heartworm preventatives also help control whipworms and roundworms. Another reason to keep your dog on Heartworm medication.

You are also allowed to refuse specific testing and should if in doubt it is needed. I would start with either a dewormer purchased from the vet (no visit necessary) or one from the pet store and a probiotic and pepcid. If the problem continues , then I would get a fecal test done to check for an infection and then a full workup. Of course if she develops more symptoms, an exam earlier would be in order.



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