"Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD?

Posted by: GSDElsa

"Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/07/13 07:52 AM

I received an email from the director of one of the rescues I volunteer with asking if I could foster this dog because she needs someone with "shepherd" experience since they think the dog has shepherd in it. Off the bat, I do not think that is the case AT ALL. What do you guys think?




But, either way she needs to go into a foster that has more experience with "stronger" personalities. She didn't do well in a kennel environment (there is a kennel that will keep a dog here and there for free for us), so they took her out of there. But she isn't doing much better in the house it sounds like.

I, unfortunately, am not in a position to help in any tangible way. The dog sounds like a sweetie, but definitely has some issues that are an absolute no-go in my house. But I thought I'd give you guys a background on the problems and see if you have any suggestions I might be able to pass on.

They say she has an "alpha" personality and and is a rescource guarder of toys. Those, meh, not such a big deal. it sounds like this dog is TOTALLY independant and wants nothing to do with the fosters. IMO that is the antithesis to the typical shepherd personality.

The real problem is that she has what they are describing as "night anxiety" where she can't settle at night. Barks, whines, paces, has accidents, etc. I'm not sure of all the training things they've tried, but I know they've tried benedryl to make her sleepy (works for a few hours) and a xanax, which she has a bad reaction to. This is a total humdinger to me and I can't say I've ever heard of anxiety at night like this. Obviously wearing on the current fosters and they can't do it any more.
Posted by: Kayos

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/07/13 08:01 AM

Maybe low mix, I do see some shepherd in the ears and eyes.

Alpha..... another dominance theorist. Hope she finds a home that can help her.
Posted by: JeanKBBMMMAAN

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/07/13 08:17 AM

Right? If I see a dog as alpha, I am going to react in that mindset, until the dog becomes what I think - not in a woo-woo way, but I will create a dog that sees me as a nemesis instead of partner.*

I do see a touch of GSD in there. Maybe some lab. I almost see a touch of Chow Chow in the head? If you assume that could be right, then positive methods will be HUGE in whoever works with her. No leash corrections, pops on a prong, power struggle type things. Chows have no respect for that.

Even if not, I would still go this way - dogs in rescue who don't listen often don't listen because they are in survival mode - they have had to do things on their own for so long, it is difficult to give that control to someone else when you aren't sure that they have your best interests in mind. So NILIF, tons of mini-training opportunities throughout the day where the dog is caught doing things well, and never worrying about where their food is coming from (I don't play any mind games with food with fosters - you sit, you get) will help her to start looking at the fosters in a new way.

Tiring her out before bed, but not right before, might help. Mentally/physically.

Nina had night terrors - I would wake up to her screaming barking in her sleep. It wasn't right away when I got her, but later on. She started on Elavil and that was the end of it.

Poor dog - she does want to connect, is all alone in her world at night and scared. Fosters changing mindset on a dog often creates a change in the dog, too, so that might help, to reframe her behaviors - not what these behaviors are to ME, but what they are to the dog (adaptive, learned, protective).

*Realize you are just the messenger, Justine.
Posted by: GSDElsa

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/07/13 08:41 AM

Well, I think "alpha" is the easiest way to sort of describe the "I do what I want" attitude, but this rescue as a whole isn't into that. Actually, they are postitive training to a fault I think.....or at least IMO as someone who isn't oppossed to giving corrections when they are warranted.

I really feel for the foster home...they've had her for awhile now and there hasn't been much improvement with the night issues. Not sure how long I could handle being kept up all night by a dog barking.

However, I did find out she likes to bark at anything and everything...squirrels, deer, people walking by, etc.
Posted by: JeanKBBMMMAAN

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/07/13 09:00 AM

Hopefully it is positively done well/right so that the dogs don't feel like they are dangling out there without boundaries. smile I would tighten up the structure for her. If they have a dog door, it gets closed, everything would come from me, etc.

I take it they don't crate at night? Would they/could they try it in their room one night? Or them sleep where a crate is - because I am not sure where she is/where they are. That could be a big thing - where is she/are they at night time. As much as she's doing her thing, she really wants/needs those limits and connections.

http://alldogswelcome.com/5/post/2012/01/recognizing-preventing-and-curing-anxiety-in-dogs1.html

I cannot say enough how much Elavil helped Nina over the behavioral wall without gorking her out. Had it not, I was going to go woo-woo with the communicator next. laugh
Posted by: Krissy

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/07/13 09:58 AM

Our dogs misbehaved at night... and still do... unless they are run. She looks like a dog with A LOT of enegry (sounds like it too). Maybe taking her to a dog run or just getting her lots of exercise will help. Maybe they aren't doing that enough? Due to her shape, she reminds me of the dogs mixed with greyhound or a type of terrier that just runs a lot and needs that type of attention.

To correct the dominance issue, I usually just remind them whose boss and secure what I want from my dogs before they get anything from me. If you want to eat, you better wait patiently until I say the word!!!

I do hope they crate at night and throughout the day so that she doesn't destroy everything...
Posted by: MaxaLisa

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/07/13 11:19 AM

I am going to tie in with jean here - those signs at night sound medical to me. It could be stress, and the neurotransmitters at night are different. I had similar problems with max when he was so sick. Jean mentioned survival mode, so that could go with stress and neurotransmitter issues. I would consider medication, st john" wort, something.

The other thing might be to rule out something like a UTI, which seem to cause those ymptoms, even when there are no signs of uti, but the urinalysis comes up positive.

Eta: anxiety is probably a better word than stress.
Posted by: JeanKBBMMMAAN

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/07/13 01:26 PM

She does look like a dog with some good energy! She just seems to be like a Tigger!

Oh, yeah, UTI - that is huge.
Posted by: PositiveDog

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/07/13 05:30 PM

Quote:
The other thing might be to rule out something like a UTI, which seem to cause those symptoms, even when there are no signs of uti, but the urinalysis comes up positive.


Yes - this was the road Skye took when she first began a series of UTIs. Much better after they were treated, but not entirely normal. I have seen it compared to 'sundowner syndrome' in seniors in nursing homes.

That is when we started cholodin. She is now great unless she misses her dose in the early evening.

I hope this poor dog gets sorted out. frown
Posted by: GSDElsa

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/07/13 06:41 PM

Hm, interesting. I"ll ask about the UTI. I"m thinking she's been tested as she's been to the vet recently, but will double check.

THe first thing I asked about was if a crate had been tried, but I'm iffy on that. Definite red flag to me that she appears to be out of the crate at night!
Posted by: BasiaBear

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/07/13 08:33 PM

I could see 'a touch' perhaps as well.

Basia paced a lot at first but it dwindled down. The first few nights I barely got any sleep with the pacing and whining. I left my bedroom door open and gave her the opportunity to sleep with me if she so desired. In the beginning she'd lay at the foot of the bed but short amounts of time before walking out again. But I don't think it took too long for her to come in and sleep the night with me. I saw sharing our sleeping place as a way to instill trust and start the bonding process.

Is she the only dog? Has it been weeks or months that they've had her? I can definitely get behind the 'survival mode' thought as well (kinda thought that with Basia in the beginning). Sounds like a tough spot and I kinda feel bad for the dog. Maybe she needs more time to figure things out. Maybe she needs to have a good deep bond.

Just some thoughts, not much advice though.

Just curious, why is the lack of crating a bad thing?
Posted by: GSDElsa

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/08/13 05:59 PM

I definitely feel bad for the dog, but I also feel bad for the fosters! I can't imagine being kept up all night by a barking dog. That really can't be a good environment for anyone to be in.

I'm not sure of all the details....I've been playing phone tag witht he director and emailing so things are coming piecemeal. I think she's been at the foster about a month or so? Not 100% though.

No crate doesn't really give the dog structure. A lot of dogs need a safe place to go and be kept (not to mention a way to keep a new dog out of trouble!). She could really need the crate to keep the anxiety in check.
Posted by: MaxaLisa

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/08/13 09:16 PM

Originally Posted By: GSDElsa

No crate doesn't really give the dog structure. A lot of dogs need a safe place to go and be kept (not to mention a way to keep a new dog out of trouble!). She could really need the crate to keep the anxiety in check.

That's a good place to start, but be aware a crate may make things worse, depending on the cause of the anxiety. Won't know until it's tried though!
Posted by: BasiaBear

Re: "Night Anxiety" and Is This a GSD? - 03/09/13 01:16 PM

I agree with Lisa! I get the comfort aspect of the crate but I also think with certain dogs it might not be such a great thing. I have no experience crating a dog though so take it with a grain of salt. Your description of the dog reminds me a bit of basia. I was told that she could not be crated, she appeared to have been traumatized. So I never bothered to try. I'm lucky though because she's never needed it.

I don't know why but my gut tells me that she needs time to adjust and a bond. Hope it gets better! I really wish I could help.