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Discussion Starter #1
My schnoodle Bella is having a hard time. She is a 18 lbs white bundle of fluff. We've had her since she was approx 3.5 months old. I'm so worried that something is very very wrong with her.

We have her booked for a vet appt. BUt I need to figure out what to ask.

Here is the scenario. She has always been timid. We have done training classes with her. She was in a year long program. She is incredibly intelligent. Her repertoire of commands is envious to most owners. She is becoming increasingly anxious. She can't sit still. Even when laying she's tense. If we have company, she is intolerable, barking, and it's anxiousness.

IF we play fetch in the house she is amazing, will drop the toy in my hand or beside me. But outside she cowers and hides.

She cries like some one is beating her when we bring her for walks, she is so worked up. We've never been able to leash train her, but she is quite good off leash. A fantastic recall.

She is also very jealous of our other dog, if some one pays attention to Gizmo, Bella will beat on her. Thankfully, Gizmo has started fighting back and it's not happening as much. But we can't even groom Gizmo, Bella will try to come between.

I used to be able to have Bella lay on her back and trim her nails. Now it's a 2 or 3 person job. Gizmo still just lays on her back and it's done in just a couple minutes.

Yesterday we had a scary moment. Bella lunged at our dd6. I can't say 100% certainty that is was unprovoked, but I'd be 99% sure dd wasn't doing anything, she was sitting on the floor watching tv, there were no dog toys, no bones out. Bella let a snarl go and lunged. She didn't make contact, no broken skin, not even a mark. However Gizmo lunged at Bella a fraction of a second after, catching her in her ribs(T-boned her) and knocked Bella off balance, hard enough that Bella yelped and fell, which is why i think no injury occured. I didn't think Gizmo had a protective bone in her. I never in a million years thought Bella would show aggression toward any one, being timid as she is.

So for now until she sees the vet she is on strict restrictions. There will be no opportunity for her to hurt some one. I don't know that I would even say it's her fault either. There's something wrong with her, I think it may be physiological. I had the appt booked before this occured, I booked last week, the anxiety and neurosis has been concerning me. Now there has been another change. At this point it is really out of character for her, I will not label her aggressive, but I'll not allow an opportunity for it to occur again. We have a soft muzzle we will use until this gets sorted out.

I don't know what is wrong. I am losing sleep over it. I can't figure it out. Every book says lack of training. We have done LOTS of training.

Any ideas on what to ask would be fantastic!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She will be 3 in December.
 

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You have an extremely insecure dog on your hands. Hate to say it, but that is a time bomb waiting to happen.

The best way to deal with the aggressive problem is to stop it dead in its tracks. Dog usually are aggressive because they think that they are being threatened by whatever they are barking at. This is usually caused by you the owner because the reason for this is that he thinks he is the leader in your household. He has been given enough power and leeway to feel as though you should be following him so any attempts to silence him will go on deaf ears so to speak. The best way to silence this kind of issue is to show him that you mean business and that you are the leader in this household and not him.

There are a lot of animals that in the wild before they were domesticated ran in a pack mentality. This means that in a pack mentality there is only one leader and it is usually the one who is the strongest in the pack. He relates this mentality to the home and sees that he is stronger than you. With that in mind you need to take back that leadership role and show him that you are the leader. This is the quickest way to silence your dog and to have some kind of confidence that he wont one day turn violent whether it be towards you or to someone else outside.

This is a very good book to start with, do a search for "A Guide To Living With & Training A Fearful Dog"

Victoria Stilwell also has some good info on her site

You will need to find a trainer that can recognize the signs and help the dog with the insecurity it has.

Hope all goes well.
 

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Well said HPH -I totally have to agree. Your vet will probably recommend you to an animal behaviouralist. Behavour is very difficult to correct if not done correctly. Not to mention very time consuming. I truly hope all ends well for you.
 

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I second the animal behaviorist. When Greebo and I had an aggressive feline, our Vet suggested contacting Cornell University Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell University it is a bit pricey but if they can help diagnose and treat your furry family member, it might be worth a try.
 

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If this is a newer behavior, her thyroid levels could be off. Thyroid issues in dogs often lead to anxious/cranky/nervous behavior. Before giving up, I'd rule out medical with a full blood panel and a free T4. there are other hormonal or autoimmune diseases that can start this too. One that comes to mind is Cushings.

Good luck to you
 

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Oh, that sounds so scary......sorry for you and your Bella.

I would have some time-lines in mind........even write them down...so you can share them when you go in..........when did this start occurring? (not the 'major' stuff but the little small things) Has it been going on for long? Do you know her history prior to you having her? Do you know the history of her parents? Don't know that this will help much but might be some things that they will ask......so thinking about them before will have you prepared.

Keep us posted..........good luck....hope you find the cause...or what to do about it.
 

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I was thinking Cushings also...that is what my little ShihTzu had...but she was 15. It is usually caused by a tumor on the pituatary gland.
 

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I had the vet tell us that when you wake up or come in the house. You should ignore the dog for the first 15 minutes. That lets them know they are not in control. I would be very worried about the attempted attack on dd. What kind of dog is it? I mean really doesn't matter but some are just prone to being very jealous.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
We had the blood work done. It came back clean. Vet said Bella is a worries. She is very loving, and sweet, but worries. When the vet picked her up to bring her for blood work, she blew her anal glands. More proof on anxiety. Vet says it's likely genetic factors we don't know about. That she has an anxiety disorder. She recommended an antidepressant to help calm her some and get us into training again with her. Teach her to deal with the situations that cause this.

I'm not sure anything will work. We are on day 2 of meds and if anything she is more wired. But vet said give it a couple weeks to get thoroughly in the system.

Now I'm am waiting to hear back from a trusted trainer.
 

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There is also something that health food stores have..........called Calms............might try that...not real expensive.

It made Muff sick..........she couldn't take it.

Hope you find something that works.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
We tried it, it didn't do anything. Even at a double dose.
 

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Give the antidepressant some time. It takes up to 4-6 weeks to be at optimum levels.

Does she have her own bed or place to go that's just hers? Give her that kind of place and try to keep the kiddies and other dog away from it, so she has a haven/safe place.

Then wait. Let the pills work. Poor little thing, I hope she gets over it, and you are all OK.
 

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Sort of sounds as if Bella doesn't know boundaries. Also that Gizmo is understanding to be an alpha dog. May take awhile to sort everything out.

My heart goes out to Bella since it seems really having a hard time right now. Hopefully the medication will take the edge off and you can get really good advice.

Keep us posted.

I noticed with my one cat if she is not feeling well, furr ball or stomach upset she gets really testy and starts fighting with other cat. When both are feeling good they tend to enjoy playing with each other. The more I pet both at the same time the more they get along also.

Pets can be such characters but you really want the best for them.
 
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