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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20218
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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We have a Deerhound/ Saluki cross who is 2 and a half years

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We have a Deerhound/ Saluki cross who is 2 and a half years old. He has always been a bit of a nervous dog, and cried a lot for a while.
He has always had bouts of diarrorhea since he was a puppy. The last couple of weeks he has had bouts of what appears to be shaking and panting, followed by a bad bout of very loose stools. We put this down to stomach pain and possible issues with his food, then a couple of days ago, he started to show the shakes and panting, and moving immediately away from our disabled young man when he vocalises suddenly. It is very worrying, as a nervous dog is not compatable with a youngster with profound disabilities, and it is very distressing to see the dog in this state.
Hi JaCustomer, 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. What food is he on?Has he had a change in food or unusual treats?Is he fed rawhide, pigs ears or bones?Has he been seen by his vet for these sudden bouts of diarrheaA?Is he ever fed fried or fatty foods like bacon, ham, greasy stuff?What training has he had?Is this dog supposed to be a therapy dog?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Jane, we need this help!
Food: we changed his food 6 weeks ago to a tailor made food we get on line - It appeard to suit him very well
Cutter gets no treats at all, he used to get Dentastix but went off them and never accepted others we tried. He gets cooked chicken at midday - about 4ozs. and never gets bones or pigs ears ect. I think we believed his loose stools were down to food previously, so that is why we went for this specialist food. We have had dogs previously, a pure Deerhound and a Labrador, so have experience of socialising a dog early, and previoulsy I trained the Lab around people and farm animals. I found it difficult to train Cutter, he seemed to get the message then forget it, despite using training treats. We are rarely able to let Cutter off the lead because of this issue, but take him down to the beach when possible to let him have a safe run. We do not consider Cutter a therapy dog, but having ha a son with profound disabilities, we know that the Deerhound is a lovely breed around disability, and our previous pure Deerhound Nevar was a lovely gentle dog, and never nervous around disability or the many foster kids we cared for. Hope this has given you more info to help us. Thank you
JaCustomer, Unfortunately each dog is different even if they are the same breed. They might have similar traits but you can also get one that is a lot different then litter mates or others of the breed. If the dog has been prone to having diarrhea, a fecal exam should be done to rule out parasites such as round worms, tape worms and also protozoan infectins such as coccidia and giardia. If your dog is worm and protozoan free, then you would need to determine if he has an allergy to an ingredient you are feeding him such as chicken, beef or even wheat, etc. A food allergy can cause gastrointestinal problems like your dog seems to have. He is young enough that you might just skip food trials and go straight to allergy testing. Now if every time someone gives him a treat, he ends up with a stomach ache, that might lead to him being a bit nervous. You need to keep up his training as well. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their 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. Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below. So get those medical tests done and then we can take it from there. Also keep up the training. I hope this information is helpful to you. 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 . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jane,
Thank you for the info, I hope you dont mind a continuing conversation as we have had a development oernight, but Cutter appears to be having "panic attacks". Can dogs get these? He has focussed his distress on our disabled young man - he runs to one of us whenever Liam vocalises and makes a sound, and he also reacted to high pitched sounds. He starts to pant and salivate and shake. He wraps himself around us if that makes sense, as he is a large dog. He doesn't bark. We have had him 2 years and he never showed such marked behaviour, just "jumpy" around other small dogs especially, but large dogs barking didn't bother him. My training just didn't appear to sink in with him. We are at very concerned as we can't keep him when he is clearly suffering. Is there any medication that may lessen his suffering?
Dogs can indeed have panic attacks. However, it may be something different as well. I can think of two different reasons for the behavior. One might be a learned behavior IF you have shown him additional attention when he acts this way such as reassurance or calming techniques like petting. He would learn that if he acts this way, he gets attention. The other thing that might be a factor is if the dog is picking up on some change in Liam's condition that you might not be aware of. It has been found that dogs can often tell when a person is going to have a seizure or high blood sugar and even detect cancer in some cases. So this could be a factor as well though I'm not sure how you could "prove" this was the case. I know there might be a correlation between Liam's vocalizations and something else, or it might be totally random. You are in a better position to know that. The fact that this is new behavior for him may indicate that he may be more in tune with Liam than previously thought. You might ask the vet about xanax as that has proved helpful with noise anxieties, but you can also tape Liam's vocalizations and play them back to the dog at lower volumes while rewarding him with hot dog slivers. Gradually increasing the volume while supplying positive reinforcement with the hot dog slivers for non nervous behavior will eventually have to dog to the point where he does not react to the noise anymore. This is called desensitization and often used in conjunction with a DAP collar (available in pet stores, online or the vets) to help dogs with noise anxieties which this would be if the other reason is ruled out.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jane,
Thank you very much for this advice, it really seems to have hit a chord for us, and we are going to try and get the medication and work on to desensitize Cutter with a video of Liam vocalising. I also think that Cutter may pick up on Liam's neurological issues.