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rachelleigh
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14-11-2017, 08:07 PM

Help needed please

Hi all - my first post here - really hoping for some positive and helpful feedback. I have a 6 year old male Jack Russell cross (Toby) who had been badly treated before he came to me at around 7 months old. He has always displayed symptoms of separation anxiety. Recently he has shown an increased level of anxiety around my 2 year old niece (my sister and I live together) and we have experienced a number of bites, which have been distressing to all concerned. We are lucky that these bites have not been puncture wounds and have been limited to my niece's hands. We have made several changes around the house - use of child gates etc. We have tried various medications without success, and had a behaviourist on board. Her approach was a desensitization separation anxiety programme with the aim of helping Toby to be kept separated from my niece without distressing him (he barks, howls, defecates). However - I feel this approach hasn't worked - we are months down the line without improvement. I feel we are running out of options - our vet raised rehoming/euthanasia routes during our last visit. I don't feel ready to give up (though I realise I may have to). This post feels like a last roll of the dice - a plea for help. Can anyone contribute anything that we haven't thought of/tried? A behaviourist with a different approach? An unconventional therapy with a proven success rate? A medication route that the vet might not be aware of? All help appreciated - thanks for reading.
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brenda1
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14-11-2017, 08:20 PM
I am really sorry to hear about your problem but you must put your nieces safety first. So, with that in mind see if you can re home with some one telling them what the problem is. Maybe another rescue specifically for Jack Russell's. I know its hard but you would be so upset if something worse happened to your niece or yourselves. In the meantime although I don't like them or say this lightly, when your niece is around the dog he must where a muzzle for safety.
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Besoeker
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14-11-2017, 11:01 PM
Originally Posted by rachelleigh View Post
Hi all - my first post here - really hoping for some positive and helpful feedback. I have a 6 year old male Jack Russell cross (Toby) who had been badly treated before he came to me at around 7 months old. He has always displayed symptoms of separation anxiety. Recently he has shown an increased level of anxiety around my 2 year old niece (my sister and I live together) and we have experienced a number of bites, which have been distressing to all concerned. We are lucky that these bites have not been puncture wounds and have been limited to my niece's hands. We have made several changes around the house - use of child gates etc. We have tried various medications without success, and had a behaviourist on board. Her approach was a desensitization separation anxiety programme with the aim of helping Toby to be kept separated from my niece without distressing him (he barks, howls, defecates). However - I feel this approach hasn't worked - we are months down the line without improvement. I feel we are running out of options - our vet raised rehoming/euthanasia routes during our last visit. I don't feel ready to give up (though I realise I may have to). This post feels like a last roll of the dice - a plea for help. Can anyone contribute anything that we haven't thought of/tried? A behaviourist with a different approach? An unconventional therapy with a proven success rate? A medication route that the vet might not be aware of? All help appreciated - thanks for reading.
I agree with Brenda and I greatly respect her contributions.

Our dog is a big, gentle fellow, all 80 pounds of muscle and bone. But fireworks unsettle him.
Recently, we have tried Melatonin. Calms him right down. All natural Worth a try but dosage depends on weight.
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rachelleigh
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18-11-2017, 06:28 PM
Thank you for the replies so far - especially the melatonin suggestion. Any other suggestions?
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Besoeker
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18-11-2017, 07:38 PM
Originally Posted by rachelleigh View Post
Thank you for the replies so far - especially the melatonin suggestion. Any other suggestions?
Brenda, as ever, gives excellent advice. Your niece has to have priority.

To me it sounds like it might be jealously - your niece getting the attention. We occasionally get that with Max if a neighbour drops by. Not the biting - just a bit of barking. I send him out to the back garden.
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Trouble
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18-11-2017, 08:47 PM
Of course your Niece takes priority but if you're using baby gates how does he get close enough to nip her. Can you give him a safe place such as a covered crate when they are separated, make it his safe place so he doesn't feel like he's shut away.
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rachelleigh
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20-11-2017, 10:23 PM
Hi - the most recent bite was at a gate - the little one touched the gate and he caught her fingers. He gets extremely distressed when separated - even when we are all within sight and sound. The combination of separation anxiety and the anxiety around my niece can make this feel like a difficult problem to solve. I'm hopeful that a new behaviourist and other changes will give us the fresh start we need.
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Besoeker
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20-11-2017, 11:11 PM
Originally Posted by rachelleigh View Post
Hi - the most recent bite was at a gate - the little one touched the gate and he caught her fingers. He gets extremely distressed when separated - even when we are all within sight and sound. The combination of separation anxiety and the anxiety around my niece can make this feel like a difficult problem to solve. I'm hopeful that a new behaviourist and other changes will give us the fresh start we need.
I think Brenda is right. You can't have them in the same house if that's what happens.
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Pitrescuemama
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23-11-2017, 09:26 AM
Brenda gave excellent advice! Until you get this worked out, for the safety of your niece you should definitely muzzle train him. My boy has not bit but has shown fear aggression and has became a bit over protective. He has growled and snarled a few times for reasons known only to him. Muzzle training him not only keeps everyone safe but also helps me to calmly correct his behavior instead of freaking out and reacting in fear which will only escalate his bad behavior.
Good luck hope you find a safe solution to your problem.
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rachelleigh
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24-11-2017, 08:03 PM
I have looked at a calming muzzle online. We have a behaviourist coming next week and will ask her advice on muzzling Toby - I wouldn't want to do anything to risk increasing his anxiety. We have made a number of positive changes in the past couple of weeks - in large part due to suggestions on other online forums - diet, exercise, toys, better management of the environment, more involvement of the wider family and new meds which have helped to ease the pressure. The Blue Cross advise that he is not rehomable. With thanks for all the advice. Any further suggestion welcome
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