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Postby TheRedQueen » June 5th, 2011, 11:35 am

Have you switched his food lately? (I seem to remember you switching his food a while back) I know that there is a lot of speculation into protein in the diet and such...with reactive dogs. So his food may be good digestive-wise for him, but not good for his reactivity.

That's something that you can research on your own, to give you something to work on also...in case you can't afford a full-out vet visit right now.

Some good thoughts on food and reactivity...I just skimmed it, and it's not exactly Toby's problem...but good ideas here: http://reactivechampion.blogspot.com/20 ... c-dog.html
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Postby Tubular Toby » June 5th, 2011, 11:40 am

I did switch his food. He had been on Blue Buffalo (Chcken) pretty reliably, but he I switched him to Diamond Naturals, Chicken and Rice. Thanks for the thought. I'll check into it.
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Postby TheRedQueen » June 5th, 2011, 11:45 am

Tubular Toby wrote:I did switch his food. He had been on Blue Buffalo (Chcken) pretty reliably, but he I switched him to Diamond Naturals, Chicken and Rice. Thanks for the thought. I'll check into it.


Might be something different in the food that's causing him to be *more* reactive than before... :|
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Postby amalie79 » June 5th, 2011, 12:02 pm

I forgot-- we also moved Simon to a lower protein food. Pinnacle and then some of the Natural Balance varieties...
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Postby Tubular Toby » June 5th, 2011, 12:37 pm

Does anyone have a link to these studies about protein/reactivity?
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Postby plebayo » June 5th, 2011, 4:10 pm

I can't find a study but horses sometimes react to high protein feed by getting hot... so it wouldn't be that far fetched to say that it could happen to dogs.

This also could be a coming of age thing. It would seem to me if you worked more on basic obedience, practicing a solid 'leave it' command, and solid 'down' and 'sit' it might help you. If you had some really solid commands that you could fall back on, when he's being anxious you could redirect him by telling him to do things which would mean he would need to focus on you. Like, instead of trying to redirect him to a treat or a toy, you would be saying 'hey dude, you need to focus on me. I'm asking you to do something and I am more important than the thing you're getting anxious about.'

In the meantime if you're really worried you might consider purchasing a basket muzzle and get him started on learning to wear it. At least if he has a lapse in judgment he can't hurt anyone. We have a client with a schnauzer mix that she muzzles because the dog will randomly attack people on walks. It's something to consider at least for now if you can't afford a vet visit/trainer consult.
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Postby Tubular Toby » June 5th, 2011, 4:17 pm

As far as management mode- How do you manage a dog that out of nowhere snarls and lunges at someone that he has known for two years. There are no consistent triggers identified at this point.

A full medical exam is in the future. I'll just have to wait and go from there.

I *can* tell you that this isn't a simple obedience fix.
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Postby Tubular Toby » June 5th, 2011, 4:23 pm

Toby has an extremely solid "Look" command in which he looks at me. It's what made his dog reactivity manageable. He targets someone SO quickly that you can't redirect his attention. Trust me. He has known Allen for two years. He went from "Oh hai!" to lunging in a second. Yes, I saw the signs in his body language, the stiffness, but it escalates incredibly quickly. I've had a trainer see him display this behavior. She agrees that this is not merely easily fixed by a command.
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Postby TheRedQueen » June 5th, 2011, 5:29 pm

Tubular Toby wrote:Toby has an extremely solid "Look" command in which he looks at me. It's what made his dog reactivity manageable. He targets someone SO quickly that you can't redirect his attention. Trust me. He has known Allen for two years. He went from "Oh hai!" to lunging in a second. Yes, I saw the signs in his body language, the stiffness, but it escalates incredibly quickly. I've had a trainer see him display this behavior. She agrees that this is not merely easily fixed by a command.


Yes, this is why I'm thinking it's a food allergy-symptom or medical problem at this point...which we talked about earlier. This isn't just a management issue...this is a major issue since his signals are brief/non-existent at this point. The sudden on-set and going after a person he knows...very odd indeed...since he hasn't displayed this before. I'd accept that it's a coming of age thing if he was only being dog reactive, since he's a pit, that wouldn't be a big surprise, but for it to escalate/switch to humans also...that's odd.

I do agree that a basket muzzle might not be a bad idea...Inara has learned to wear one, just in case. She also can wear a soft fabric muzzle at the vet without freaking out. Actually, I train all of my dogs to have their mouths restrained (muzzle or bandana) now, so I hopefully never have a problem.
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Postby Tubular Toby » June 5th, 2011, 5:31 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:I do agree that a basket muzzle might not be a bad idea...Inara has learned to wear one, just in case. She also can wear a soft fabric muzzle at the vet without freaking out. Actually, I train all of my dogs to have their mouths restrained (muzzle or bandana) now, so I hopefully never have a problem.


Yup, I've already got one that was highly recommended that I am ordering with my next paycheck. =)
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Postby plebayo » June 5th, 2011, 7:29 pm

All I'm saying is if he had a solid obedience foundation it would help out and it never hurts to make your commands as solid as possible so when the dog is under stress it differs to you.
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Postby TheRedQueen » June 5th, 2011, 8:11 pm

John had another thought...something that happened to one of our friend's Hearing Dog. He worked for years in public with no issues...then suddenly one day he started barking randomly at people, even people he knew. Turned out that he had something going on with his eyes/sight (I can't remember what it was).

So an eye test might be helpful too...I know, I'm just adding more to your laundry list of things to pay for at the vet...lol

And Suzanne, no one's saying that solid obedience wouldn't hurt...but if she's already working on his behavior and it's getting more serious...it's time to check into medical issues for one thing.

I have an HA dog...and she's got a solid obedience background...she won ribbons at the DSO last year, amidst the strangers and decoys. But she STILL goes off on strangers at times, when I least expect it...she's not always easy to read. :|
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"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby furever_pit » June 5th, 2011, 9:32 pm

I agree that a vet visit is in order. For now, I would limit where I took Toby. If you know you are going to hang out with your bf and a few friends for a couple of hours take Toby for a good walk first and leave him at home. You can still work on his obedience around people but maybe take a break in asking him to deal with people for such long periods of time.

I'd never heard of the protein and reactivity correlation. Very interesting stuff.
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Postby TheRedQueen » June 5th, 2011, 11:17 pm

I'm trying to track down some more info on food as it pertains to reactivity...
http://positively.com/phpBB2/viewtopic. ... sc&start=0
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby Tubular Toby » June 6th, 2011, 10:37 am

Taking Toby in this week to get tested for Lyme/Thyroid. In other news, I did find this. I thought it was really interesting, but really hoping that's not the problem.

Story about Lyme causing aggression in a dog:
http://www.canlyme.com/dogagg.html

A follow up to this story:
http://www.thedogplace.org/VACCINES/Lym ... ession.asp
Regardless of any bias on this website, the follow up story to Mojo is pretty heartbreaking. Here's to hoping it's not Lyme.
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Postby TheRedQueen » June 6th, 2011, 10:56 am

Rip become irrationally aggressive when he hit about 5-6 years old...we were at the dog park, and his little 40#, dog-friendly self launched himself at a 120# American bulldog and went ballistic. I had to drag him away, literally. He then tried to attack any number of dogs after that...with a particular bias for rottweilers and Am. Bulldogs (just the dogs that a little fluffy herder should try to go after...at least try and attack labs or poodles or something!)

He was tested for Lyme and Thyroid...found to be positive for Lyme and had low thyroid and was put on meds for both. He was symptomatic because of the aggression, and was a bit sore in the joints. We were never clear on which one was "causing" the aggression, because it was becoming clear at the time that both problems can cause sudden aggression. He went through the Doxy regime for the lyme and he's never had a flare-up since. His thyroid will cause flare-ups though...but it's never aggression again...it's always anxiety (he'll suddenly not want to get in the car, or would hide in a crate-he hates crates-at flyball practice), peeing more than usual and in inappropriate areas. So I've always assumed that since the aggression has never cropped back up due to the thyroid levels being off (for many years, his numbers changed each fall/winter)...so I've always assumed that it was the Lyme. He's been back to his old dog-friendly self for the past 6-7 years now...and has no more outbursts of DA since the Lyme was treated. So I have hope that if it's Lyme with Toby, it can be fixed. :hug3: Rip still hates rotteweilers, but he's obviously fine with AmBulls and other bully breeds now. ;)
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"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby Tubular Toby » June 7th, 2011, 9:37 am

Toby is obviously not feeling well. He is very lethargic, just lays down on his side, gets up, stretches, and goes to lay down somewhere else. Not very interested in food, although he will bat his wobbler around, he doesn't eat it immediately and doesn't seem to enjoy it and doesn't finish his food. He has no interest in getting on my bed or in our chair, and his breathing is more shallow. I used to cuddle with him and I'd match my breathing to his so I didn't have to breathe in his hot air. I know how he breathes when he relaxes. It's not the same.

We have a vet appointment at 2:30 today. Good thoughts, please.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » June 7th, 2011, 9:38 am

Tons of good thoughts for him. Please update us as soon as you know anything.
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Postby TheRedQueen » June 7th, 2011, 9:49 am

Keep us updated...(((hugs))) to you and Toby.
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

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Postby Tubular Toby » June 7th, 2011, 10:14 am

I made a time line with important details for me to remember about Toby's outbursts and also his symptoms. I don't want to forget anything. I wish it was 2:30 already. Luckily, my mom is coming into town to go with me.

In fact, I think I will go ahead and freeze his biscuit ball with some canned dog food and take a towel so he'll have something to do while we wait at the vets. I don't want him to be stressed. :( Especially since it seems to trigger his OMG, I can eat you now?


ETA: I also plan on asking to stay with him at all times and keep all people introductions as calm/uneventful as possible. That seems to be one thing that really sets him off, is excitement in meeting people.
Last edited by Tubular Toby on June 7th, 2011, 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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