Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What about Boone?

You may have noticed that Boone didn't get mention in the trial results posts...

Boone is having a hard time mentally. Plain and simple he is having a complete meltdown with life. We have had LOTS, and LOTS of very bad, very loud, very long storms pretty much the whole summer. Boone started out having mild anxiety about storms, and now any slight rumble of thunder, or rain cloud sends him into a barking, spinning lunatic.

The Thundershirt is amazing. I must say- it has really made a difference in how bad he reacts. He still is scared, but isn't so unsettled. He is able to lie down beside me instead of spinning and barking. I am also using rescue remedy although I haven't noticed much difference with that. I am going to try another natural product that a friend suggested and see if it works better.

Anyway, back to the trial. I only had him entered in three things- but I knew after an hour of being at the trial site that there was no way he was going to run, and have fun with me. It made me sad, and I was upset for him. He was nervous, and hyper (which is how he gets sometimes), and couldn't focus on me at all. Barking, Spinning, almost in a trance. He was way, way over the top. So I asked my dad to come and take him to my house for me- where he could at least settle.

I am upset that it seems like we have taken this giant step backwards. But am not willing to concede defeat.

I've ordered a desensitizing CD for thunder storms, and have started thinking about a game plan to help him to learn to self calm. He just gets so wound up, and then can't calm himself. If he could just learn to take a deep breathe and focus he'd be okay. :)

Fear is an interesting (but sad) thing, and I've been doing quite a lot of reading about general fear, as well as specific fears such as thunder. I do think that Boone's already unstable temperament has made this problem a thousand times worse that it could be. Really he is not that sensitive to noises anymore at all and used to manage storms just fine. It's just been this summer that it has gotten bad. Boone is a strange dog on good days though- Pyr Sheps are not known for their stable temperaments...he is easily overwhelmed, distracted, lots of nervous energy, would spin and pace in every new place if I let him. I have to keep his brain busy or he goes a little crazy. It's been a journey with him for sure.

My hope is that I can at least get the happy, goofy Boone back at home. He had started hiding, barking at noises, being anti-social and just being weird. So I've had to take away his hiding places, close the crate door when I am home, in some cases tie him to me, and am trying really hard to let him know that nothing has changed. When I first got Boone this is how it was- worse actually, and I got him through once and I am sure I can get him through it again. If I can get the normal Boone at home I will be happy. He doesn't have to play agility if he doesn't want to, although he does like it. We'll just have to play it by ear and get him over this one tiny step at a time.


Elayne said...

Have you tried melatonin? We get a lot of thunderstorms in the summer as well and it's been a tough summer for Strummer who pants, shakes and panics, running from room to room, digging at the floor, etc. The Thundershirt alone helps him a bit but the melatonin really helps him at least be able to settle and stop running all over the house.

Jules said...

I am sorry the two of you are going through this. You have probably heard of these cds, but just in case I will mention them: Through a Dog's Ear.

Jules said...
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Taryn said...

I can certainly commiserate with you on the storms. Jimmy's reaction doesn't seem nearly as intense as Boone's, but it does keep him from being able to participate in things. I've had several agility classes get ruined by a poorly timed storm. The one thing that does bring Jimmy out of his funk is I get Wilson out and let him run the course. Jimmy is so jealous he completely forgets about the storm and runs the course! Of course this will work at class, can do it at a trial :-)

I hope you can get Boone back on track. Probably when the storm season passes, he'll improve more quickly.

Empty Nest Mom said...

Max also has had a lot of thunderstorm anxiety. I found the thunder shirt combined with ear t-touch has really helped. At a seminar I was at besides getting rescue remedy I got a mixture that was for generalized fear to be given daily until done. I was a skeptic but I think that is the one single thing that made a difference. There was thunder (in the distance) this evening and Max did not even bark once.

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. We've had a storm-filled summer as well, and my CWC Gracie has become a maniac with thunder.

In fact we are having a really bad storm right now. She's sitting next to me on the sofa, wearing her Thundershirt. What a wonderful invention. It relieves about 75% of her anxious behavior.

I just try to be mellow and keep her chilled out, as well. I might try that CD tho'

Maryk &
Gracie, the blue CWC
Philly, PA

Jenilee said...

Boone's such a cool boy, I always love watching him do tricks! Thankfully he found someone with the skills and thoughtfulness to help him! Let me know if I can help in anyway!

Raelyn said...

Wow, Amanda.... You CERTAINLY have A LOT to deal with right now!! :-} Sorry.... :-( Now I feel sorta WIMPY complaining about Rose's current ongoing fear of BEING OUT AT NIGHT!! (On the weekend of July 4th, our entire world "blew up". She now RELUCTANTLY steps into the backyard.... But is SURE another bottle rocket will go BOOM at any random second!!) See what I mean, Amanda? WIMPY!! ;-}
Hope everything works out for you both.