a little while later…

Ok, so it’s been a while since I was actively blogging. Let me tell you what I’ve been up to.

I’ve been trying desperately to deal with Isabelle, my beautiful Blue Heeler/Australian Shephard.

Ok that’s not her anymore. I lied. She is of course beautiful, but she has grown increasingly less cute over the last few months. I have asked for guidance from several dog owners about how to deal with her incessantly possessive and protective nature. Here is some of the advice that I got on how to deal with her anxiety.

  • Anxiety vest. Be careful, there’s a video that’s quite loud when you go to the site. Apparently by restricting the dog’s nervous system the vest manages to calm the dog down, reducing anxiety. To be fair though, the dog in the video is far calmer than my Izzy, who will outright attack the vacuum and try to kill it before it even turns on.
  • The dominance factor. Thinking that she is the alpha in the house/family, she thinks that she has to protect us. Quite frankly, I don’t think that this is Izzy’s problem in particular, because we do many exercises that solidify the fact that she is not running the household. She has to sit for everything: food, leash, going outside, coming inside, petting and attention. She just seems to be super nervous and so high strung that the unfamiliar freaks her out to the point of manic behavior.
  • Drugs. Benadryl can be given to dogs infrequently and in small amounts to help calm them. There’s also obviously the option of going to the vet and getting a prescription for doggy Valium.

If anyone has any more advice to give on the matter of severely and certifiably anxious dogs, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave your comments and any help you can provide.

For the record, this is Izzy now:

Ok so she's still kind of cute. In her own little manic I'm-gonna-attack-you-in-three-seconds kind of way.

5 thoughts on “a little while later…

  1. Is she getting enough exercise? We have a fearful dog as well and when her stress ramps up we will take her out for a run in the yard. It seems to help redirect her energy. We still struggle with thunderstorms and have thought about getting her an Anxiety Vest for that. We have a relative who works at a Zoo and she said they can really help.

    I was looking up Australian shepards on Animal Planet and they state this about the breed: “The Australian shepherd has a great deal of stamina and is loving, bold, alert, confident, independent, smart and responsive. If it doesn’t get a chance to exercise and challenge its strongly developed mental and physical activities, it is apt to become frustrated and difficult to live with.”

    Not sure if any of this helps? She is such a pretty girl! Keep us up to date on your progress!

    • I think that does in fact help, Jennifer. I did notice that when she started getting more and more protective/aggressive, we started walking her less and less, and that probably set off a chain of events that led to her having so much energy and becoming more unruly. We have a long running area in the house that I will often use to play fetch inside (we have no fence around our yard), and that is most of the exercise that she gets since we can’t take her on walks right now. That girl will play fetch with vigor for up to an hour, so it’s enough exercise to tire her out for a while.

      Thank you for the help! I will definitely keep you all up to date on Izzy happenings 🙂

  2. Please do not go any further with the dominance idea – this is very outdated erroneous information. See the position statement of the American Veterinary Society of animal Behavior on the use of dominance theory in behavior modification: http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/dominance%20statement.pdf

    Also, if you are going to go with an anxiety wrap, get the original, patented Anxiety Wrap. To save myself some writing, please see the following article describing the differences between the Anxiety Wrap and the Thundershirt: http://dubuquedogtrainer.hubpages.com/hub/dog_anxiety_wrap.

    • Thank you, Cindy. I really appreciate the advice. I have noticed that my other dog has no problem with dominance, and I don’t think that ideas of grandeur and being the alpha are clouding my little lady’s ideas on proper behavior. I plan on checking into the Anxiety Wrap to see what might be best for her.

      Again, many thanks.


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