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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20172
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have a 7yr old lab who I rehomed when she was 2. She

Customer Question

I have a 7yr old lab bitch who I rehomed when she was 2. She apparently went gun shy. She is not a bold dog but has come on leaps and bounds over time. she has started "slinking" outside and hiding and wont come back into the house unless I open the jeep for her to jump in and sometimes sits looking at the wall. Generally she sticks to me like glue and I can see no reason for this at all as she is very kindly treated. what is your opinion?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.
Can you give me more informatioon on her background? You state you rehomed her but now you are talking about her sticking to you like glue.
You also state she won't come into the house unless you open the door to the jeep for her to jump in. Can you explain that more?
I'm pretty sure I know what the issue is, but need these answers before I can be sure.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

she is very attached to me and won't willingly go with anyone else that's what I mean about sticking like glue. She loves to go in the jeep with me and is always willing to do this. I really don't know what the issue is on occasion of not wanting to go back into the house. I have 3 cats and she gets on really well with them all.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for that information. I'm still not clear on who actually owns the dog at this point in time.
It sounds to me like she might be experiencing Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) and has been seen in dogs 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 recently approved for use in the clinical indication of cognitive dysfunction (CDS) in dogs. Read this site for other drug choices.
Please see this site for more information and other causes that may exhibit the same symptoms.
I suggest this is the issue because she is displaying some of the symptoms such as developing fears of things she wasn't previously scared of, finding her staring at walls, suddenly not wanting to go in the house and her becoming more dependent on your presence.
Now separation anxiety might also be an issue and you need to understand that reassuring a dog doesn't help the situation but often encourages the behavior. A dap collar can help with separation anxiety and it uses pheromones like a nursing mother produces to calm her pups so can be used with medications. They can be found online and in pet stores. Medications can help as well.
Another thing that helps is to do things that might make the dog feel you are leaving and then don't such as putting on your coat or picking up your keys. Or leave without doing those things. This helps remove things that might trigger the dog to become anxious.
These should help with separation anxiety and boredom. It will not be an overnight cure and will take work on your and your family’s part to be consistent in your interaction with her. Here is a site that also offers idea to combat separation anxiety.
I'd have a complete medical done as well to ensure there isn't a medical condition and ask about CDS. I hope this information is helpful to you. If you need more information or clarification, please reply and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If you are satisfied, please take the opportunity to rate.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I own Isla and have done for 5yrs past February, did not realise this was not clear. I will check out the links you have sent me, thanks.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
When you stated you rehomed her, it made it confusing as it did sound like you currently own her. Definitely check out the links. They should be very helpful.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have checked out the links you sent and it appears clear that CDS is not appropriate for a 7yr old dog who at all other times is happy and bouncy and normal. I will however try the Adaptil collar as this is about the only thing from these links that I haven't tried.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
I strongly suggest you have her checked over medically as staring at walls can also be a sign of seizure activity. Imaging would be advised if you don't want to try the anipryl. Signs of CDS are not all inclusive. In the beginning stages you might only see a few. As she "forgets" things, she will become more fearful and clingy, so just keep an eye out for additional symptoms. I have a dog with CDS and his symptoms started very gradually with him staring at walls, Not wanting in when he normally would and he was still very active and playful a lot of the time. Each case is different with CDS especially in the early stages.