FEARS, PHOBIAS and OTHER PROBLEMS

  1. Common types of fears/phobias
    1. Thunder
    2. Fire crackers - 4th of July syndrome
    3. Gunshots - hunting season syndrome
    4. Car travel
  2. Uncommon types
    1. Other dogs
    2. Odors
    3. Certain people
  3. Treatment
    1. Desensitize
      1. Apply very weak stimulus; gradually increase strength (example: shoot gun from distance, gradually approach dog or use tape recording of shots at low volume, gradually increase loudness)
    2. Desensitize and counter condition (BEST)
      1. Teach dog to down stay for food reward; give very weak stimulus, reward dog for maintaining stay; increase strength of stimulus gradually; only reward dog if it shows no fear response (panting, digging, pacing, etc.). The rewarded behavior is called counter conditioning because the animal can't do the undesirable and the desirable behavior at the same time.
    3. Flood (easy does it with this!!!!)
      1. Expose animal to stimulus until it ceases to respond; if you stop while animal is still responding behavior may get worse
    4. Drugs
      1. Reduce anxiety
        1. Clorazepate
        2. Amitriptyline (Elavil)
        3. Buspirone
      2. Reduce Physiological responses
        1. Propranolol - beta adrenergic blocker - prevents tachycardia - plus phenobarbital

    Treatment of Fear, Examples (Specific Cases):

    Dog afraid of qun-shots
    Start with gun muffled by 6 boxes. Cut hole in sides of boxes to just accommodate arm. Put towels over boxes to further muffle. Fire gun (starter pistol with 22 gauge bullets is good) 10 times giving dog a reward of spoonful of ice cream each time that he remains Iaying quietly during shot. Repeat the next day. Remove one layer (I box) and repeat 10 times/day, removing one layer every two days. If the dog responds with a fear reaction, replace one layer.

    Dog afraid of thunder
    Test to see if dog reacts to tape recording of thunder as it does to the real thing. If not (twenty-five percent of dogs do not), add strobe lights (simulating lightning) and sprinkler in window or shower on cookie sheet (simulating rain). If dog does respond wait 2 weeks before using for desensitization. Meanwhile teach dog to down stay on a special rug. Scent rug with oil of cloves or something strong and unique. Play thunder recording at very low (inaudible) volume. After 5 minutes increase volume and remain at that level for 5 minutes. Give dog food reward if dog is calm (not anxious). If dog shows mild response do not reward but wait for it to habituate. If dog shows marked fear response turn recording down until dog relaxes. Proceed with increases in intensity very slowly. After 20-30 minutes begin to decrease intensity. Session should be 45 minutes long. Over a period of days gradually add dark room and then flashing lights. Play tape in different locations. In addition tape can be played at low intensity during feeding or play sessions and put on a timer to play in owner's absence.

  4. Age related behavior problems or canine cognitive dysfunction
    1. Diagnosis
      1. Alzheimer's-like pathology in brain, non-matching to sample
    2. Signs
      1. Pacing
      2. Vocalizing
      3. Failure of housebreaking
      4. Destructive behavior

SEPARATION ANXIETY COMPLEX

High Incidence in Rescued Animals

Destructive Behavior

  1. Causes
    1. Puppy- chewing (many puppies go through destructive stage)
    2. Hunger
    3. Separation anxiety (increasing with increasing number of working couples)
      1. Barrier frustration
      2. Good scents- socio-sexual - nesting and destroying area that smells good or taking underwear (preferably dirty)
      3. Elimination
      4. Barking
    4. Phobias - thunder especially
      1. Usually old dogs whereas others are 6-18 months
      2. Probably due to changes in brain with aging
    5. Boredom - probably only important in young dogs
  2. Types
    1. Shoe and electric cord chewing - puppy exploration
    2. Worrying of pillow or paper - probably boredom
    3. Garbage -groveling - probably hunger
    4. Door or rug scratching - probably barrier frustration
    5. Digging in sofa bed or other places where humans recline (good scents) separation anxiety or even pseudo-pregnant bitches
    6. Underwear, socks or other- clothing - separation anxiety
  3. Treatment (tailor to specific cases)
    1. Prevention
      1. Can train puppies. 2 boxes: o.k. things = reward let him chew (don't use old shoes, socks, etc.; nothing that resembles bad things); bad things = scold
      2. Crate train
    2. Punishment by owner
      1. Must be within 3 seconds of act, otherwise dog doesn't understand connection between punishment and act
      2. Can exacerbate if after the fact (> 5 sec)
    3. Punishment by object
      1. Booby trap (noise, taste, odor associated with a noxious stimulus, deodorant spray, jiggle alarm) - not usually effective with older or bigger dogs
      2. Kohler's methods - the chewed object in mouth (humanness?)
    4. Punishment by electric shock
      1. Shock collar but have to hear dog misbehave or use video
    5. Feed ad lib
      1. Less effective because many dogs will not eat unless owner is present (social facilitation)
      2. Skinner box - dog can feed itself apparently so can work while owner is working
    6. Provide stimulation in owner's absence
      1. Works 50% of time or less
      2. Special toy (rawhide, kong toy, hollow bones filled with peanut butter, cheese or liverwurst, etc,)
      3. Radio noise, tape of owner's voice
      4. Companion cat or dog
    7. Desensitize to absence of owner
      1. Safety cues
      2. 20-minute goal on a variable schedule (1, 2, 5, 13, 7, 2 minutes, etc.) - dog should be relaxed between trials
      3. Do not use isolation as punishment
      4. Reduce emotion/excitement of parting; ignore for 30 min. before leaving
    8. Reduce excitement of reunion
      1. Sit-stay and one pat; stagger walks, meals, etc.
    9. Sufficient exercise on leash
      1. Walking on leash forces owner to be with dog
      2. Rule-of-thumb: large dogs need I to 2 miles per day
      3. Don't chain out
      4. No rough house games or tug-of-war
    10. Denning (caging, kenneling) - airline crate better than open wire
      1. Presupposes no previous bad experience
      2. 6 week program
        1. Familiarization for 1-2 days
        2. 2 weeks in at all times except for elimination and exercise
        3. 2 weeks in except when owner is home and awake
        4. 2 weeks in only when owner gone
        5. At end of 6 weeks no more confinement, but crate always available with door open
        6. Occasional relapse: put in for 2 days
      3. Owners often object to use
      4. Works 80% of time - if no previous bad experience
    11. Free access (barrier frustration)
      1. Doggy door
      2. Train to open doors
    12. Drugs
      1. Anti-depressants for 6 weeks and then taper off: amitriptyline (Elavil); 50% effective; best if combined with progressive desensitization or denning; may take several weeks to be effective
      2. Diazepam (Valium; interferes with leaming), metabolized or another benzodiazepene: clorazepate potassium (Tranxene; good but expensive); atropine-like side effects (i.e. dry mouth); longer half life than diazepam
      3. Serotonin agonist buspirone (Buspar); may take 2 weeks for effect
      4. Phenothiazine tranquilizer may be effective when problem is just beginning, dog may be too sedated
      5. Progestins: megestrol acetate (Ovaban, Megace), work well, many side effects
    13. Castration - ineffective

Hyper-vocalization - Barking. Whining. Howling.

  1. Causes
    1. Presence of normal stimuli - strange dogs, strange people, noises, etc.
    2. Social facilitation
    3. Owner's absence
    4. Teaching dog to speak - rewarded
  2. Treatment
    1. Keep dog inside and mask- outside noises
    2. Reduce number of dogs by crating or finding another home
    3. Desensitize to owner's absence
    4. Counter-condition. Associate stimulus for barking., such as doorbell with food or play
    5. Punishment
      1. Collars - if collar removed will bark
        1. Citronella best for nuisance barking - also humane
        2. Shock, collar - that is triggered by bark
        3. Ultrasonic - not effective
      2. Owner inflicted
        1. Water
        2. Lemon juice
      3. Barker breaker (buzzer doesn't seem effective)
      4. No bark muzzle is also no pant, no eat and no drink!
    6. Surgical debarking saves canine lives. Some think it is cruel, but there is no evidence that dog's mind having a different voice. Surgery itself is a minor procedure.
    7. Don't encourage barking, except in very specific circumstances

Elimination Problems

  1. Housebreaking
    1. Causes
      1. Failure of owner to teach
        1. Owner has to recognize where dog likes to defecate
        2. Can also be hard to shape where the dog goes
        3. Put feces where you want the dog to go
      2. Crating for prolonged periods (start over as if 8 wks old)
      3. Absence of owner- separation anxiety
      4. Submissive urination
    2. Treatment
      1. Umbilical cord training
      2. Retrain by taking dog out on leash for 5 min. every hour Praise dog for urination or defecation. Couple "word" With act. Must be there with dog.
      3. Make soiled area a den area by keeping dogs there for several days. Best if owner there also.
      4. Teach the difference between bathroom walks and walks
      5. Use of suppositories to classically condition defecation. There is no unconditioned response for urination, but Whistling, etc., can be paired with it
      6. Paper or litter train so dog can eliminate with impunity
        1. Use a wading pool or bread carrier
      7. Reschedule feeding and drinking
      8. Desensitize to owner's absence

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