Despite working with our vet and even a trainer, Louie's anxiety is just ridiculous.
We are all stumped on what is going on with him. His separation anxiety has gotten worse it seems like.
Here is what we have tried so far:
1. Establishing a routine where we are both out of the house at the same time and Louie is left alone. He gets a little cheese and an "I love you see you in a bitty!" and then I leave and go to the office with Loon.
2. We do not make a big deal out of leaving or coming back. We treat it like it is a normal everyday thing. No big deal.
3. When one of us gets out of bed we do not acknowledge Louie's crying. We just do what we need to and then come back to bed. Again, behaving as if it is a normal every day thing...because it IS.
4. Thunder Shirt. I thought it was helping a little but it is not. Not only are we in the 20% of dogs it doesn't work on, I think we have invented a whole new category where it actually makes the anxiety worse.
5. We practice positive reinforcement.
6. We make sure to keep ourselves calm and positive.
7. Putting Louie in the bathroom with a blanket, his Bink and Pappy and one of our shirts while we are gone. (this is because he has started peeing EVERYWHERE when we leave him)
8. Crate training him. This was an absolute disaster. He screamed and screamed and slammed himself against the side of the crate so hard he actually turned it over on it's side.
***Note: I did not just stick him in there and close the door. For nearly three months we had the crate in here and his blanket and favorite toys inside. He had special things he ONLY got in the crate. It sat with the door open and he could go in and out as he pleased. He was fine going in and taking a nap. Then I closed the door and all hell broke loose.
9. We have him on a grain free limited ingredient diet in case it was some food additive causing the issue. Even the cheese he gets is organic and made from free range hormone free cows. Our next step with this is cooking his meals.
10. We have worked on trying to establish boundaries with him and not baby him so much.
11. Walking him more often and working on teaching him "tricks" to keep his mind occupied in case his behavior was from boredom.
12. Special sprays and plug in that release something that is supposed to be calming for dogs.
I'm sure I'm forgetting some things. I have followed advice some our vet, from the trainer, and from y'all. Louie is just crazy.
We tried some all natural calming treats in the past (when we first moved here) and they did nothing. Benedryl does nothing. I have not tried Dramamine.
Right now we are trying a canine form of melatonin. Under his vet's advice and supervision he is taking a little more than the recommended dosage for his weight.
We are also discussing having him neutered. We are still on the fence because there is the chance it could make everything worse.
If this doesn't work then it is some neurological testing and some actual legit anxiety medication. We are trying everything we can before going that route.
I just don't know what else to do. I want Louie to be happy (and he is when he is getting his way and we are with him). I want us to be happy. I feel guilty because I am the one who really wanted a pug and now he is driving us both nuts.
We left to go to grocery shopping yesterday. I put him in the bathroom with the gate up. I gave him his cheese and left. He was fine for minute but as soon as I closed the front door he started screaming. Our apartment is in the back of the building. You have to walk down a hall and past another apartment to get to the parking lot. Our car was parked on the other side of the lot and we could hear Louie screaming all the way out there.
When we are in bed and one of us (mainly me although he does get upset if Loon gets up too) he will start grabbing me trying to pull me back and crying and screaming. He does this same thing to Loon but when we are in the car. I can get out of the car (he still cries) but not out of bed and Loon can get out of bed but not the car.
Just pray for us that we can find some solution to help him so we can all live in peace.
***Also, getting him to take the melatonin is an ordeal because all of a sudden he no longer likes cream cheese!
Last edited by BabsandLoon; 11-23-2020 at 09:31 AM.
~Babs Mom #1 to Louie
Oh oh . I am no help. I am totally honest about it too. All I want to say it is nothing to feel guilty about! I think you both need to step back and get a break! I would never suggest a trainer taking your dog by himself but in your case it might help ? Have you considered a dog day care? Where I used to live they offered a day care and they also did training at the same time. I am thinking the way some parents teach little kids to swim. Drop them in the deep end of the pool.
I am worried my Henry might head in that direction? He is so different from the other 2. He has some anxieties especially in new areas. I take him in the stroller which works better. I am working with him alone and with Bruno helping him out.
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Last edited by GordonBrunoPugMom; 11-23-2020 at 11:45 AM.
It may be hormones. If you are not going to stud him out I would have him neutered. It is a healthy operation and beneficial to him. He may be freaking out because he smells a female somewhere or his hormones are out of control. I didn't neuter Rocky he ran off got a show Poodle happy (that cost me 140.00 for a shot to clear the pups) he then had prostate problems again a huge vet bill all because he was not neutered. I have since spayed or neutered my babies.
"A life without pugs is possible but pointless." Vicco von Bülow My Sweet Babies until we meet again at the Bridge Sassi (1998 - 2011) Angus (2005 - 2017) Meelah (2005 - 2018) Sissi (2011 - 2019) Cecil (2018 - 2020)
It certainly isn't for lack of trying so you have nothing to feel guilty about. Have you tried puzzles for dogs? They have to figure out how to get the treats out and it exercises their minds which is just as tiring as physical exercise maybe even more so. People assume that Pugs are couch potatoes but when they are younger some of them may need a good bit of exercise. Maybe Louie falls into that category.
We never touch people so lightly that we don't leave a trace.
With Bree my cocker spaniel I think her separation anxiety was exacerbated by her diet. She had to go on Royal Canin SO urinary for about 18 months and got spectacularly worse to the extent that a neighbour told me she was howling and barking incessantly while I was out at work. I got a webcam soI could see what was going on and started trying all sorts of anti anxiety pet remedies with no real noticeable effect at all other than the good old fashioned Vetzyme B + E tablets seemed to take the edge off. That made me wonder if it was more diet related as she’d never been as bad as this before in her life. After some research I came across Burns Alert dog food that is specifically designed for therapy dogs to help them remain calm when working. It really has helped Bree and unless she can hear someone immediately outside the front of my house now sleeps peacefull when I’m out.
I think the other thing that also helped calm her though was when Darwin decided at around 16 months old that he would no longer accept being in a crate. Xanthe loves hers and enjoys her own space, but not so with Darwin. So Darwin and Bree share a bed when I’m out now. It’s more Darwin that wants to snuggle with her than vice verse but before Darwin arrived I had an elderly Trailhound who Bree had always snuggled with and I think she was very upset when he passed away.
So maybe if you could find a young adult rescue of a calm temperament that Louie likes, it might be worth considering
Bree, Xanthe and Darwin
Right now he is getting melatonin twice daily. Once in the morning and once at night. I don’t know if it’s supposed to have instantaneous results or if it has to get in his system good over time. We just started it today.
I think we are going to have him neutered after the first of the year.
I cannot handle another dog right now. I just can’t.
I just feel like Louie takes a LOT and it wouldn’t be fair to bring another dog in. What if it doesn’t help and then it’s “Sorry new puppy, Louie is crazy and requires ALL my energy and attention.”
If supplements/training/neutering/medications can’t get him under control then he will definitely have to be an only pug and we will just spend our lives like we are now.
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~Babs Mom #1 to Louie
Sorry I am no help either. It sounds like you’re doing all you can. Lolli was incredibly active and required a lot of work to get her energy out, she still is pretty active but I am lucky that I have Murphy who loves to run and play chase so they complement each other. Aggie (my doxie) developed a lot of anxiety issues and they gave her Xanax but I swear it made her 10 times as anxious, the only thing I kind of figured out with her was to take her on a long walk so she would be tired when I left. She eventually outgrew this stage as she aged but she still had a lot of anxiety with lots of things. I don’t know about neutering cause them to be more hyper, in all of my boys it always seemed to do the opposite.
Mom to Lolli and Murphy
Forever in my heart Aggie, Tucker and Frank
My cousin has had alot of good positive results using CBD oil for her anxious German Shepherd. It takes about a month for it to fully start working, she said. But it has worked wonders for her and her shepherd. Might be worth a shot??
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I am sorry to hear that Louie is being 'snowed' with melatonin. Does he understand the word 'no,' or 'stop?' Start with neutering, yes, male dogs can scent a bitch in heat from a far. Pick up his toys and only give him the special toys on special occasions like behaving in the crate for gently increased increments. Your tenants don't need this behavior and you would be hard pressed to let the tenants keep an opera star. Dogs over America make do with cheese from Kraft or Generic, so can he. He is not a baby human, he is a yearling dog now and might discover the big world if you can budget a day or two at doggy day care to which he will adapt better than you can imagine the minute your tail lights leave the parking lot. The old line lab rescue people used to sever eye contact with a dog behaving badly, just keep up with the lesson casually until they could reward one positive behavior. Be patient, be laid back, I would feed him straight kibble morning and evening and pick up the bowl after fifteen minutes without saying a word. (he does sound wired from his diet, and that is a simple fix for a test run of two weeks)
I hate that Louie has to take melatonin as well but we’ve reached a point where all of us (including Louie) need some relief.
Louie understands no and stop but only obeys them for a short time.
He think “no” means no only for that time that you said it. So we tell him no and he sits and looks at us for a minute or gets up and walks out of the room and then comes back and tries again.
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Last edited by BabsandLoon; 11-24-2020 at 07:18 AM.
~Babs Mom #1 to Louie