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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19591
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Hi. My 6 yr old mini schnauzer has started to stand with his

Resolved Question:

Hi. My 6 yr old mini schnauzer has started to stand with his head and tail down, looking miserable, when he is not stimulated by eating, playing or out walking. He is perfectly normal doing activities, but soon after, will stand , like he is waiting for something to happen, with his head and tail down. He has had various blood, thyroid and ultra sound tests, but so far nothing physical has shown. He is not in pain. This has been going on for 6 weeks.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
.
He had an ultrasound?
What area did they examine?
Did they cover the spine?
Is he jumping onto things normally?
Is he using stairs normally?
Has the vet prescribed anything?
What do you do when he acts like this?
Are you comforting him or showing him a lot of attention?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes he had ultra sound.not sure about the spine. He jumps on the sofa as normal, uses the stairs as normal, chases his ball, catches his hoop, all as normal. He has always had lots of attention, lots of exercise and stimulation. When he stands still, we leave him, then we may say something, and he comes alive again. It has taken 6 weeks for his tail to curl over properly when he plays. For 5 weeks it just either stood horizontal, then vertical or was hanging down. He is being referred to a neurologist. But, apart from the standing still looking like he is waiting for something, he is normal.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Still waiting for answer
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
JaCustomer,
.
Sorry for the delay. I could have sworn I posted the reply but it wasn't here when I checked again. I'd have a CT scan or a myelogram of the spine done. Be sure the cervical area is examined as well. This will check for any problems with the discs in the back or neck. You might raise his food and water bowls so he doesn't have to put his head down further to eat just in case it is in the cervical area or a muscle strain in the neck area.

I would have asked the vet for an anti inflammatory medication as well, but if you are going to a neurologist he may suggest that as well. I personally would crate him and keep him as inactive as possible for at least a week taking him for leashed walks only. If it is from an injury and the everyday movement is aggravating it, strict inactivity may allow it the time to heal.

In addition, if no medical reason is found, start ignoring him when he displays the unwanted behavior. Instead, only show him attention when he is behaving like you want him to. Some dogs will develop certain postures and even limp when they want attention from their humans. This behavior often is learned after an actual injury and then the dog finds that when they display that behavior they get lots of attention, so they continue to do so.

In this case, it is likely to be physical, so definitley keep that neurologist appointment.
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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.
Thankyou for your advice, however the problem, so far, does not seem to be physical . We have an appointment with a neurologist on Monday, when hopefully he will be able to find the problem.
We are not offering Fritz any additional attention when he stands quietly, and if we do, it rarely makes him lift his tail. His tail is only curled up when he meets another dog he likes, or when we play football with him., or during his regular walks. As soon as activities end, his tail drops and he stands around quietly.
He has always been a sensitive dog, so perhaps there is something on his mind.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
JaCustomer,
.
Dogs are not like people. They tend to live in the moment. Fear can cause them to keep their tail lowered and if they are being totallly submissive they might assume that position`but it doesn't sound like anyone is even around when he displays the behavior. As I mentioned, the most common reasons are problems with the discs which in turn affect the nerves in the spine so it is good that you are going to the neurologist. As I thought I mentioned, dogs really try not to show pain and usually only do so when it is unbearable. Now the dog might have had cold tail which is an inflammation of the tail close to the body and causes dogs to hang their tails. It usually follows a swim or bath and can take some time to heal though it can be speeded up with the use of antiinflammatory medications. I would have thought that your vet would have spotted that.
http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/coldtail.html

If your dog was just depressed, he would be more likely to just lay around and not want to move much. Your dog seems to be ok when engaged and not thinking about how he is moving to do play. Dogs will try their best not to show signs of weakness as other dogs may attack a dog showing signs of pain or injury so you wouldn't see it then.

I do feel that the underlying cause is physical in nature rather than behavioral. If the various physical possibilities are indeed ruled out, then we would need to go into more detail on the circumstances surround the issue and a lot more background to see if we can change the behavior.

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