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panicking dog has us baffled... and exhausted

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Consider this a desperate cry for help. For the last month or so, our 6 year old beagle/collie mix has been keeping us up at night, and frustrated. She gets these "panick attacks" about every 2 days. She paces, ears pinned back, trembling, panting. The worst one seem to happen in the dead of night, and last a LONG time. At first, we thought it was because of strong winds, but she's had these attacks when there's not a breath of wind outside. We are at our wit's end with this. We can't figure out what's freaking her out so much.

At night, we've tried putting cotton balls in her ears, covering her head to toe under the sheets, putting music on low, ignoring her, nothing seems to work. And she insits on sticking her face in yours and panting to get your attention.

During the day, we've tried music, stuffed kongs, obedience training, clicker/target work, and she still freaks.

WHAT is going on here?!?!?
post #2 of 11
Have you taken her to the vets to check for seizures?
post #3 of 11
If it only happened at night I'd say separation anxiety, but you say it's also happening in the day. Is there anything going on in your house before she has these episodes? Puppies goes thru phases, and I think there is a fearful stage about 6 months old.

I'd call your vet on this one. You want to rule out anything physically wrong with her first, and if this is a behavorial issue, either your vet can offer advice, or you should get her to a good obedience trainer. I had a fearful girl that came around totally after obedience training - a good trainer can help you with all types of issues - not just training on commands, but behavioral also. Call around and interview some on their techniques. 6 months old is the ideal age for this type of training!

Sorry I can't be more help.
post #4 of 11
What is her history or do you know? We had a dog here one time that arrived as a pup (German Shepherd) as a pup she was a joy to be around and we knew that she had come from abuse so we were extra loving to her. As she grew out of the puppy stages, she changed. Instead of joining in with the others, she would hide under the bushes, ears pinned, and stalk us, or the cats. It was really disturbing. She would hide under our dining room table and shake for no apparent reason. We took her to several vets, had neurological checks done, x-rays the works. But as she grew, she got worse, until one afternoon she took off after the horses with evil intent. We put her down the next day.

A dear vet told me that possibly what happened was as she grew stronger, and was given food, the abuse she suffered (which was horrendous) came back to her in memory and she couldn't overcome it. Neither could we, though we did try.
post #5 of 11
I can't give you a lot of help, but I have a friend whose dog was very high strung because of the breed, and this dog started having panic attacks and seizures in stressful situations. After a through examination the vet prescribed tranqulizers(sp?) which helped the dog somewhat.

If your dog is also normally high strung maybe medication is the answer?
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
We got Dixie when she was 1 year old. She came from the SPCA with what I can only describe as confusing stories. One was that her previous had gotten a purebred dog after they got Dixie, and the two dogs didn't get along. So naturally, they got rid of their first dog (though it was perfect for us! She's our first dog, and we love her to bits!!) The other was that she came into a home with cats, and didn't like them (but I don't think that's right, because we have 2 cats, and she's the most patient girl around them). She's always been a very laid-back dog. I spoke to my vet/boss, and he suggested a drug(?) called Clomicalm, but I'm not nuts about the idea of "drugging" her every day for the next 3 months to see if it works...

Thunderstorms don't bother her... go figure...
post #7 of 11
Maybe a dog behaviorist?? I know these have worked wonders for us in the past. Good luck!!
post #8 of 11
Originally posted by okeefecl
Have you taken her to the vets to check for seizures?

From what you are saying I would also STRONGLY suggest you get her to the vet!!! That is very comment behavior in dogs that have had/are having seizures!!!!!!!!!! and it just might be something else. but please take her to your vet!!!!!
post #9 of 11
I knew a person that only had seisures while sleeping. Please have the vet check it out.
post #10 of 11
I would strongly suggest a complete physical exam at an animal clinic. We had a dog (female Airedale, 6 at the time) who started to have panic attacks, and was very hesitant about climbing stairs if the lights weren't on. Our regular vet basically said that she'd always been high-strung, and prescribed tranquillizers. I took her to a large clinic, and there they ascertained that she had glaucoma and hyperthyroidism, and prescribed drugs to treat the conditions. She did eventually go blind, but lived to the ripe old age of 14 without further panic attacks, and succumbed to a major stroke. Needless to say, we switched vets following that experience. Always rule out physical causes first, and then check out behavior therapy.

We also had experience with an abused Shepherd/St. Bernard, whose behavior was very like that M.A. described. The dog became fixated on "protecting" me, and started attacking anyone who raised his voice to me (meaning just about everybody, as I'm hearing-impaired). We went the whole route of medical exams and behaviorists, but in the end had him put to sleep, because he was simply too much of a threat. I would have welcomed panic attacks in his case.

In short, problem behaviors can take a while to manifest themselves, and you have to do things in order: rule out physical causes, try out behavior therapy, and only give up when the dog represents a real danger.
post #11 of 11
Our dog will get very anxious and panicy whenever I rush around doing vacuuming or various other things around the house. It started one year when my husband was hauling some things upstairs to take onto the roof to do some work on it. For some reason she got very nervous. He wasn't near her, didn't talk to her or drop anything. It took me a while to pinpoint the start of it. We had problems like that with another dog of the same breed, with the same type of breeding. Our other dog back then, also the same breed, didn't have any breeding in the same family line and was a much calmer dog. Even though yours is a mixed breed, the parents may have had the same problem.
If your vet rules out a health problem, you could try a product called Rescue Remedy to see if that would calm your dog. I've used it on mine. It's available through some natural food stores or vitamin stores.
I hope you can resolve it. I wish you the best!
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