disturbing behavior of my rescue Questions

Discussion in 'English Setter' started by dickerrich, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. dickerrich

    dickerrich New Member

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    disturbing behavior of my rescue

    I need some serious help! I've had my rescue setters for two months. The last three nights have been a nightmare. Last night at about 2:00A.M. he suddenly started howling. When I found him he was shaking and acted as if he did not even recognize me. I comforted until he calmed down and I stayed and comforted until 7:00 A. M. Two nights ago he growled and barked and my wife stayed up for hours comforting. We put on his thunder shirt and played "music to calm dogs". which worked as well as anything. Does anyone have any ideas? Is he having flashbacks? Help!
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  3. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Did the rescue give you any details of your boy's history. If not I would contact them and ask whether they have any relevant information.
    I don't know where you are located, but is it possible that you might have wildlife prowling at this time? If the problem was just related to being rehomed, I would have expected it to have shown before now. If you cannot come up with any leads from the rescue, it might be worth having a talk with your vet.
    I am intrigued, do follow up, and let us know what happens.
  4. Chris B

    Chris B Member

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    Does anything turn on around the time he starts (boiler, machine turn on etc)?

    As Carole has suggested, maybe wildlife, a local cat?

    If you can rule these out as much as possible, I'd also suggest a vet check, making sure you give your vet as much information as possible. The thing that I'd want the vet check for more than anything is the shaking and not recognising you. Some sort of seizure perhaps???
  5. Malka

    Malka Member

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    Chris B likes this.
    How old is the Setter, and what, if any, information the rescue gave you about why he was in the rescue, ie why had he been handed over to them?

    Your vet can get a full blood work-up done but that will not help regarding the shaking and, most important, your dog not recognising you. Whatever it is, it does not sound normal to me - if this happens again can you ask your vet for a referral to a canine neurologist? But please, do not rush into neurological tests.

    I would suggest keeping an online diary, noting everything, and I do mean everything, that happens each day. What the dog ate, whether you went out and took him somewhere new, any outdoor weed spraying has been done, whether you have used a freshener spray in your home, whether you have changed your washing powder - anything and everything.

    Because that might give you an idea what is a trigger for these episodes.

    And tbh, I do not think dogs have flashbacks.
  6. Malka

    Malka Member

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    @dickerrich - I hope you had a quiet night Gary with your Setter. May I ask why you had a thunder shirt ready to put on him and "music to calm dogs". Have you had a dog previously that needed them?

    Regarding keeping a diary - I keep two online diaries, one having a copy of what I put in the first one. They are free online diaries and one sends me an automatic email first thing every morning - in fact it is already in the computer when I surface.
  7. dickerrich

    dickerrich New Member

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    Last night was a good night. I will probably do nothing if it does not happy again. My theory is it had something to do with the fact that his first adoptive house put him in a kennel for two months before we got him. He acts mostly like he is in terror. Do dogs get night terrors?
    Does anyone know of a dog psychologist who will do talk therapy with him.
  8. Malka

    Malka Member

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    Chris B likes this.
    A dog psychologist doing talk therapy with a dog? Are you serious?

    I am beginning to wonder. You did not answer when I asked why you had a thunder shirt ready to put on him as it is not normal to keep one. And "music to calm dogs". Loads of those on YouTube. Have you had a dog previously that needed them? If not, I will ask you again why you had a thunder shirt ready to put on him.

    Thunder shirts are used for specific purposes, they are not a normal part of a dog first aid kit.

    Before you rescued him, you said he was about three-years old [it is in your Profile]. Are you now saying that his previous owners kept him in a kennel [what sort of kennel?] for two months, meaning 24/7 in a kennel? What about the time before they had him?

    Dogs do dream although it is not known what they dream about, but night terrors?

    No. Dogs do not have night terrors. They are not human and their dreams are not like dreams that humans have, therefore they can not have night terrors. And they do not have "flashbacks" either.
  9. Chris B

    Chris B Member

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    I do believe dogs can have nightmares but 'talk therapy' for dogs??
  10. dickerrich

    dickerrich New Member

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    I had a thunder shirt because Riley is afraid of lightening and thunder. The previous owner's wife died and the husband was obviously flummoxed by the responsibility of raising his children, and running a house. He may not have been a dog person, perhaps the wife was. Oesr did not know about the kennel. He was in 24 hours a day for two months. The kennel was known as Rover's playhouse and it is in Fargo N. Dak. All I know about it I learned from the web site.

    I am curious about how anyone knows what dog dreams about. I believe dogs have a memory that is longer more vivid than we expect. How do we know about dogs ability to flashback. Of course had my vet thoroughly check him out and we have tentatively ruled out neurological problems. Our vet estimates he is 4 or 5 years old rather the 3.I have found music to relax dogs online and it works in thunderstorms. Since this has happened only twice I am reluctant to use a relaxant.

    Has this fleshed out the problem more.
  11. Chris B

    Chris B Member

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    I tend to agree with you on dogs having very clear thinking and good memory. If they didn't, they'd be impossible to train. Watching my dog and previous dogs while they slept also leads me to believe they have both good and bad dreams.

    We know very little for sure about how dogs think and whether their memories are acute. We do know they are very forgiving, but that doesn't mean they don't retain at least a 'sense' of past experiences if not more vivid recollections.

    Like someone else said, I'd have expected the behaviour to show sooner with a rescue dog which makes me think there is some trigger to it
  12. Malka

    Malka Member

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    Thank you for that explanation Gary - how has Riley been since his last disturbed night? If he is afraid of lightening and thunder, perhaps he heard it in the distance and that was the trigger for his shaking, although not recognising you and taking so long to calm down would worry me.

    I do hope hope neither you nor Riley have any more bad nights. You all need your sleep. :)

    I would still keep an online diary though, so if it did happen again you might have a better idea of what caused it.

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