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Toby needs to to help him
  • Ok, so as many of you know, Toby has his own room, which is the sunroom, since he can't get along with the other dogs. It's a great room--pretty big, and tiled, and he has his chair that he sleeps in. Toby's routine is like this: he's in his room or outside in the yard if we're home most of the day. He gets to go for a walk most days, but it's not a long walk (though he seems tired and ready to go home at the end of it). At night, he has dinner in his room, then when Oskar goes to bed at around 10, Bel gets crated, and Toby gets to come into the house. I stay up quite late, so he has several hours with me. He does't really like to play, but he does like to lay on the sofa with me while I read. He sleeps out downstairs where ever he likes, though I notice he usually gets in the other crate and sleeps in there.

    It's true he's not in the house with us as much as the other dogs, but he's never been a needy dog until recently.

    Recently, as in the past week, he's been a total pain in the ass. As soon as he goes in his room, he starts acting out. He paddles on the sliding glass door (ie scratching with both paws). He howls. He whines. He cries. And he starts immediately when he's been in his room, like after 2 or 3 minutes. In the morning, my husband puts him in the room before he goes to work, and while I'm still sleeping. Toby will literally do this for hours. This morning, I could vaguely hear it, and when I went downstairs to check on him, he had worked himself up into such a state that he was foaming at the mouth, and had drooled all over the sliding glass door. He was panting like crazy. But it's not like he needed to go out--when I went in, he jumped on me a bit and then ran outside and back inside.

    I suspect he suddenly wants more attention. I'm willing to try to squeeze in more time with him, but I have to stop this crazed scratching/paddling/howling behavior. It's annoying to us, but it also gets the other dogs super worked up. My idea was to click and treat him when he is calm, but I'm not quite sure how to time it. He stops with the paddling as soon as he sees me approach the door. I could click and treat then, but will that be somehow rewarding him for the paddling? (ie he's frenzied, so I come by and open the door...will that be what he thinks?) Or should I wait til he's calm? Except he's not calming down on his own.

    (he only does this during the day, btw. At night, he seems quite content in his room. It has not escaped my attention that it is nice outside and he likes being out at this time of year, and is currently refusing to come in when I call him).

    He doesn't like to play, really. He doesn't really like toys. I gave him an antler to chew, but he has totally ignored it. I could try the kong with peanut butter, but I have to be really careful with his weight, too.

    Any thoughts? Esp. on how to get him to stop with the crazed jumping/scratching?

    I'm wondering too, if we need to recheck his thyroid levels yet again. Last time we checked (in July) his levels were a bit higher than they needed to be, so we lowered the dose, but didn't recheck. I wonder if they are still too high and that could be causing this?.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    Hmm... I would have his thyroid levels re-checked. We all know that wacky thyroid levels can cause some crazy behaviour.

    But as for the frenzied actions... How is he in a crate? Do you think putting him in time out for a minute or two each time he starts paddling at the door would help or make it worse?

    And since he is really not into toys or chews, I have no idea what you could give to distract him.

    If he is outside and you are inside, he is fine right? (Just want to make sure he has not suddenly developed some sort of separation anxiety.)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    Conker doesn't get as crazy as Toby but he does flip out when I put him outside and close the dog or garage door. That thread about him being "bad" was the result of him trying to get back inside.
    I don't know what to do about Conker either, since he's fine with going outside but when he wants to come in and he can't he throws a hissy fit and I don't want him looking for more ways to escape.
    I also want to be able to stick him outside for an hour or two without him flipping, since it's a nice thing to be able to do if like, a repairman comes over or something.

    I'd definitely get his thyroid checked again, just to be sure.
    Instead of PB, you could use frozen ground meat or sardines in a Kong? I do that with Conker and it takes him a bit over an hour to get through it.
    Crazed jumping/scratching... Every time he does it, leave? I dunno about that one.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Why not put the other two in the room and let him come out? Do you think he is getting a little dementia? An older Shiba and Pom I babysit for have dementia, and completely freak out if confined away from people or behind a door they can't get thru. Forget crates or expens! It almost becomes a need for them to have the freedom to wander and the movement soothes the anxiety and fear that goes along with being confused. There are some OTCs for cognitive disease in older dogs that helps curb that frantic I'm confused and stuck panic feeling they get.

    It would just be anxiety and panic unrelated to dementia otherwise, and that would take some behavior modification/lifestyle/habit changes from you. Increase walks, play a game with him or groom him in the room, if he finds that enjoyable, etc. I think Stillwell had an episode with a separation anxiety dog that flips as soon as the owner walks away, and her solution was leaving for only a few seconds at a time and then coming right back, giving the dig a food treat like a kong so they don't notice as much the absence and the cues leading up to it.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • He's fine outside, where he lays in the sun and sleeps (which he used to do in his room), so I don't think it's separation anxiety (and if I go outside, he runs from me, because he wants to be outside!) In fact, when I left today, he just refused to come in (either in his room or in the house proper) so I had to lure him into the car, take him for a ride around the block, then bring him in the house.

    Crating him as a time out might work....I've got to go check our crate situation, to see if we have another one. He likes being the crate, actually.

    The ground meat in a kong then freezing it is brilliant! I'll have to try this! I could use turkey to make it more low cal.

    The reason I don't put the other two in the sunroom and let Toby in the rest of the house is because Bel flips out even worse than Toby if she's in the sunroom. Both these shibas are just pains in the butt about being where they don't want to be! (oskar doesn't care where he is, though he prefers to be with us). I guess I could do what I do with them at night, which is Bel in the big cage, and Toby in the house and Oskar in the sunroom.

    I don't think he's getting dementia. He's only 7. Actually, I think he's just....acting out, for lack of a better word. He wants to be outside, and he's going to be demanding until he gets what he wants. He does really like to be outside in the spring and fall.

    And to add to my "i'm not enjoying Toby right now" he's getting his seasonal allergies again (as am I) so he's pawing at his face a bit. Well, perhaps when I start giving him xyrtec for his allergies, he'll cool down a bit.

    I'd like to figure out what the proper way to interrupt his paddling is without reinforcing it. Maybe the time out in the crate would be good. If anyone has thoughts for diverting the behavior to something else, and how I'd time that (because I have to go into the room with him, which always stops the paddling) I'd love to hear suggestions!
  • I'm still looking for ways to interrupt Toby's paddling and howling without reinforcing it. Today he did this for two hours straight, and I'm afraid I lost my patience and used an aversive on him (which I would rather not do!). Granted, I only opened the door and threatened him with the squirt bottle (didn't even squirt him) but still....I'd like to figure out a more positive way of dealing with this.

    However, we've had a slight improvement in that after that, I went and found the extra crate and put it in his room, and now he's in his crate and is quiet. I know he feels safer in his crate, and lately he and Oskar have been barking at one another through the glass on the outside door, so maybe he just didn't feel safe in his room, and that anxiety came out as crying/paddling, etc?

    For now he's quiet, though, thankfully, because seriously, for the past week and half it has been HOURS of scratching/paddling/howling. I need the break!

    eta: and, I guess the novelty of the crate wore off, because now he's back at it, but he's added a piercing shriek to his repertoire. Toby is nothing if not....creative.
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2011-10-05 17:35:18
  • I wish I could offer some advice. I hope someone might have some ideas for you.
    Heather, Logan, and two Shibas named Miyumi & Yoshiro
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    Oh wow... I am wondering if maybe he needs a room without a glass door. Maybe being in a less stimulating environment would help?
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • AnnaAnna
    Posts: 621
    Or, if a room without a glass door isn't an option, maybe hang a curtain/blanket over the door so he can't see the other dogs? Or a blanket over the crate?
  • SakuSaku
    Posts: 372
    Wish I could offer some help but I am currently at lost of how to calm my dog too!

    Thundershirt? DAP spray? or a curtain so he will mroe secured in the room?
    Saku & Mina's mom

    Saku & Mina
  • When I was reading your situation, two things came to mind.

    1 – Maybe the fact that he doesn’t have a nice quiet dark spot to sleep/rest in is adding to his anxiety. Others commented how it is a pretty stimulating environment (he can see outside with all that has to offer and he can see inside and is being kept away from socializing with animals that are being treated with different privileges) and I can agree with them there. Both of my guys actively seek out a dark quiet spot to nap. Luka goes to the spare bed room and rests under the futon and Wickit sleeps underneath a chair in the living room. This accounts for half their day for hours at a time!

    2 – Whatever is being done to correct the behavior isn’t working so he doesn’t understand what is expected from him and what will not be tolerated. I found Shiba’s really need very structured rules, boundaries, and limitations more so than any other dog I have worked with. My guys were both pretty crazy and wild at first and the clicker training and positive training methods were just not working. I started utilizing a 3 tiered approach: step one was a single word that means cut it out, for me it was a stern yet calm “HEY!” If that wasn’t respected, it was followed by a touch, usually my hand shaped like a claw and a quick firm touch to the neck; hard enough for him to feel but not hard enough to hurt, obviously. If neither worked, they were immediately crated. It rarely got to the third step of being crated, but when it did, they behaved like gentleman for at least a good hour after being let out.

    If you are not entirely calm (no angriness or anxiety) when applying these methods, they won’t work either (and will likely backfire), so make sure you are in the right frame of mind if you decide to give these a shot. I stole these ideas from watching too much Dog Whisperer, and am glad I did. They have helped me get past the Shiba Scream, barking too much, food aggression, fighting too rough, eating the house (carpet, couch, paperwork, etc.), and every other issue since they started out far from little angels.

    Keep us posted on your progress and what is working, I’m sure you will figure it out if you stick with it! :)
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Drewrilla, I know your comment is well intended, and I thank you for contributing. But before you get flamed to death (and I hope nobody does that) I invite you to read some of the previous posts on dominance alpha theory and why many of us, also myself, do not advocate those methods (especially Dog Whisperer), for solving or preventing issues with our Shibas. I hope you will find some useful information.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
    Post edited by lindsayt at 2011-10-06 12:38:38
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Lisa, I know your other 2 do not get on with Toby, but are you sure you don't want to try putting them in another room so he can come out? I know there is so much more to the situation, but honestly my initial thought was "I guess he wants out of the room, so why not?" How about an air horn or clapping your hands to interupt him, and then praise him for stopping assuming he does? I guess I don't know what else to suggest. I had some screamers over the years, but they would quiet up once they got the idea that it wouldn't get them what they wanted.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • Lindsayt, Thanks for politely dismissing this training method as a viable option by stating only your theory could be the correct one. That is the key word here…theory. Dogs interact with each other using these methods, and have done so long before humans bred them into being more domesticated, so I disagree with the “theory” that positive training is the correct and ONLY solution especially for a breed that is so primitive and instinctual. Both have their place and should be considered. I invite you to keep an open mind and not shun someone else for giving advice that worked just because you don’t agree with it.
    Post edited by drewrilla at 2011-10-06 12:58:12
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Shiba inu tend to do best with positive reinforcement. There was a thread explaining each one, but I forgot.

    I feel positive reinforcement works best and I do give time outs or ignore the dog for the issue.

    The people who run the wolf park in battle ground IN they don't believe in dominance based training? Odd these are wolves think they'd be doing something different..

    They have good success with their wolves which they hand raise so they are friendly with the staff during photoshoots examination and training.

    They do tricks and pose for treats. They ignore any bad behavior and if they persist they leave the enclosure which means the wolves get no treats..

    Dogs need rules sure don't want them begging or chewing up the house I solved begging issues by body blocking the dog and taught them the out command so if I say out and they leave great.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
    Post edited by Saya at 2011-10-06 13:17:25
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Drewrilla, you are putting words in my mouth. I did not recomend "my theory" or any theory, and I most certainly did not state that there was only one correct one. There is no need to be so defensive, and please don't read more into what I wrote than was written. I have a very open mind about training, and I bumped an educational thread to you sharing current studies that MOST people here have found helpful, as most of us who actively participate here, DO PASSIONATELY advocate positve training methods and emphatically do NOT endorse Dog Whisperer methods. Therefore, I invite YOU to keep an open mind when someone is genuinely trying to keep things polite and friendly.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
    Post edited by lindsayt at 2011-10-06 13:28:25
  • @drewrilla
    There is no one tool/methods that works for every dogs, but I tend to choose methods/tools that not only works, but also not harm or intimidate my dogs either physically or mentally. The methods you describe seems to be a modified version of Cesar Milan's approach with step 1 and step 2 and I don't think Mr. Milan uses your step 3 much - crating a dog, instead he chooses alpha roll, his famous kick or yanking the dog off the ground.

    Mr. Milan simplifies dog behavior problems to 3 causes: 1) basis needs not being met, which he meant not enough exercise, 2) humans not projecting calm and assertive energy and 3) dogs want to be dominant.

    Many of the dog behavior problems come from miscommunications and not just because dogs have pent up energy like Mr. Milan says. You can exercise a dog a lot, so he does not have energy to cause trouble in the house, but it does not mean the dog learns the correct behavior or the dog is happy and content with his life. Just like a person in labor camp does many labor intensive tasks and may not be causing trouble, but it does not mean the person enjoys his life and is content with the status quo.

    Miscommunication is the main reason for many dog behavior problems. Dogs are not sure of what people want and people have trouble communicating with their dogs what are expected of them. This is where clicker or marker word come into play, to mark the exact moment that appropriate behavior is done. You can make the communication more clear by marking the behavior on the spot, which really helps a dog to learn fast.

    I am sorry that positive reinforcement or clicker training is not working for you, but I disagree that it is the method that is not working. The problem with any training methods are how they are executed or implemented. Clicker training is not just click and treat, but also fast delivery of the treat, location of where you deliver the treat, position of your body, value of the treats delivered and frequencies of the treats that can affect how effective your training goes and how fast a dog learns. To be successful, you should also manage your dog at the beginning of the training, so you set them up for success, rather than failure. Dogs even human learn so much faster when they can get it right fast, so help them to succeed, but raise criteria once they learn the basics, so they don't get bored.

    Even with step 3 you use, you just crate your dog without telling them what is the appropriate behavior and I don't think it is as effective a method to really teach a dog what you expect of them.

    Positive reinforcement is just one tool in any dog owner's toolbox and I know there are others like negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. These tools are how any animals learn, but which tool or which protocol/methods you choose depends on the owner/trainer and the individual dogs. There are also classical conditioning, operant conditioning, desensitization, counter conditioning, shaping, luring, chaining techniques you can use to change a dog's behavior.

    To be honest, I think it is not just changing the dog's behavior, but changing the dog's state of mind, so his behavior changes.

    Lisa, sorry for hijacking this thread. With your situation, I would start with trying to figure out what Toby wants or what Toby is afraid of when you confine him in the room during the day (either too much stimulation/want socialization/want out exploring other parts of the house etc) and use that knowledge to first manage his behavior and then try to figure it out a way to train him out of the unwanted behaviors.
    Post edited by sandrat888 at 2011-10-06 13:40:09
  • @Drewrilla

    I think Lindsay actually was trying to politely suggest that dominance based training was not going to go over well with me AT ALL, and in general, is not really popular on this forum. I won't even go into how much I LOATHE Millan and his methods. I appreciate your suggestions, but I am dedicated to positive training, and firmly reject Millan's methods and the lack of science behind them. And aversives do not work at all with Toby (water bottle aside) and I know; when he was younger, I listened to a vet who recommended the old, outdated training methods, and it simply made him more difficult to deal with.

    (on a side note about aversive/dominance training: just read about the elephant sanctuary in TN and how all their elephants are handled and managed with non-aversive methods, and they said they firmly reject the dominance theories used for elephants and have found they can co-exist well with elephants without it. If it works for elephants, it will sure work for dogs!)

    On to other things:

    I should have said that we long ago blocked off the glass, so he can't see the other dogs in the house, and they can't see him. That was necessary to keep everyone calm. And I should also say he does come in the house, and actually, now has been able to come in much more, as that seemed like a reasonable way to fix the situation as well. One of our problems with management beyond the sunroom is the fact that our house doesn't really have many doors (it's a very open floor plan) and so while I could put the other dogs upstairs, the dog gates there aren't very secure--Bel routinely gets past them--so I need to fix that problem first if we're going to have a new management plan. I'm super paranoid about having Bel and Oskar upstairs and Toby downstairs because of that. But I may try a replay of the night management plan during the day (Oskar upstairs, Bel in the crate downstairs and Toby out) if I'm home.

    The problem remains that he will now not tolerate ANY time in his room...literally as soon as he goes in, he starts up. It's difficult to shift the entire management plan by putting Bel and Oskar in there, because while the room is quite large and comfortable for a 40 pound Shiba, it's not nearly so comfortable for a 30 pound Shiba and a 110 pound Akita (and Bel will also do the same thing as Toby, and work herself up into a horrible state, but the problem is Bel is so easily...unhinged....that I always worry about putting her in stressful situations. As most of you know, she can become aggressive when she is super stimulated).

    He's just been a pain in the ass in general lately. He also won't come in from being outside, so now we have to let him out in the little side yard only, and he's protesting that too. But there are three dogs to manage here, and he can't everything he wants.

    I think I'm going to try a loud noise (like the air horn thing--not that I have one, but I'll figure out something) to startle him, then I'll open the door, make him sit, and click and treat for that. I think the idea of interrupting his behavior is a good one, and then he can be rewarded for appropriate behavior. He probably could use more exercise that wears him out too, but of course now I'm working full time and in school and have so little time! (which he is probably aware of!)

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    @sandra No problem! It was a good post and you covered a lot of very important points!

    and I think it's interesting to think about what Toby wants. I suspect it's conflicting. I honestly think he's lonely for other dogs, and is frustrated that Bel and Oskar are together. But he won't tolerate any other dogs, so he can't be with them...yet I see him watching them, and he does try, even now after so many attacks on him, to approach Bel in a friendly manner when she's crated. But he can't be with her, and he is super reactive to meeting other dogs (Oskar could learn to get along with him if Toby didn't immediately snarl and try to bit him, as Oskar is a pretty mellow dog).

    He's probably a bit bored and wants not to be alone. I'll have to figure out ways to give him more time, and also find something to do that he's interested in. If only I weren't so damn busy right now, I'd enroll him in a one on one training class...
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2011-10-06 13:57:31
  • You are right lindsayt, you didn’t recommend your theory over others you just said mine is wrong. It is like an argument of God versus evolution with you people. Letting emotions tell them it is ok to tell other people how right they are and how wrong the others are. I use several methods, and my comment was merely a suggestion that you felt necessary to tell me I should read on why it is wrong. You were not being polite, you wanted to let me know and everyone else that these methods should not be used. And then quite a self-righteous comment from the next person to say the reason clicker training failed was because I applied the methods incorrectly. Unreal.

    Someone can’t express an opinion that is against your belief system without backlash. People who use all methods and don’t firmly believe one way is best are open to conversation, but god forbid someone recommend something they feel is wrong then duck and cover.

    My methods don’t harm them any more than the way they correct each other, a playful bite warning to let you know what you did was inappropriate. Just because you read a book that said otherwise, doesn’t discredit the other theory.

    Guess what, I have no issues with my dogs and it is because I used techniques you think are wrong.

    If you don’t want advice, then don’t ask. If you don’t agree with the advice offered, offer your own. If you have nothing to contribute to the comment positively, then ignore it.

    You don’t see me bashing all of the breeding talk when I am pro rescue only do you? No. Why? Because people are entitled to their own opinions and I don’t want to be a jerk. You apparently have no problem with this.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    @drewrilla, I beg your pardon, but you are completely off base here. I did not say you were wrong, and I think you are taking this way too personally, and my intention was not to push any agenda that you are imagining. I was TRYING, knowing how passionate other people are about the Dog Whisperer and how much of a hot button it can be, to let others reading know that there was no need to jump down your throat, and that we can all discuss things like adults.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    OK, pause and breathe, people.

    Let's stop with the "You-you-you" rebuttals for a moment and step away from the computer.

    Continued discussion of the overall usefulness of particular training methods should be carried out on this and this thread. Please leave personal feelings out of the conversation and focus on the content of the methods that are being debated, okay?

    And let's return THIS thread to helping Lisa take care of Toby.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
    Post edited by curlytails at 2011-10-06 15:07:46
  • AnnaAnna
    Posts: 621
    @shibamistress Is it possible he's got some sort of separation anxiety, now that you're busier?

    For a while my vet was considering putting my cat on anxiety medication, because she was getting so clingy and stressed during preparations for an apartment move (all 4 humans she lived with were constantly in and out, gone for days at a time, stuff was moving around, etc.) and she's a very clingy, needy cat even when not worked up by change. She was crying a lot, pooping outside her litter box constantly, etc.

    Or, if he's suddenly so opposed to any time at all in his room, did something in the room change? Is there possibly some sort of electrical device that might be giving off a noise that is driving him nuts? Or maybe (I hope not for you, but..) bugs in the walls or something?

    Alternately, would adding a radio or something help to distract him/make him feel less alone? Or maybe a baby monitor, so he can hear you guys moving around the house even if he's not out with you?
  • I know you mentioned having a thundershirt for bel, do you think maybe a little time with it for Toby would help?
    Stefanie & Sakura Twin Cities - MN
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    I have the PERFECT solution. Get Toby a puppy. :)

    (Am I recalling that Toby does okay with puppies, or was that Bel...?)

    Seriously, though... Do you think it is separation anxiety. I know your schedule has changed, so that might have something to do with it.

    How is he with being outside during the day? Does he want to come in by himself? If not, is he easy to call in?

    How would he react if he were in a different room, such as the bedroom? I know you said your baby gates were a little unsteady, but if you could get more secure gates, would he do better in a bedroom versus his sunroom? (by the way, if you guys have Burlington Coat Factories out that way, they have AWESOME deals on baby gates.)

    How does he act when you are not home? (I know this is hard to answer unless you have a nanny cam or something.)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • The semester (or quarter as the case may be) started fairly recently. Though Toby has seen this change in the past, if he's already got stress built up about anything else (the summer trip to Germany perhaps, or the time spent on Oskar's recent post-neutering care) he could just be acting out.

    Violet is very adaptable and generally quite good at dealing with my somewhat chaotic lifestyle and odd living situation. However I do see her act out a bit whenever new people leave/join the household, or if I'm doing an unusually heavy load of work or freelance. Lisa, can you try spending a bit more time with him or possibly bring him into your office every now and again (don't know what the rules are for your department/university)? I found that spending extra time and then easing Violet back into her normal routine during periods of acting out was fairly successful.
  • @shibamistress: You've mentioned that Oskar could probably get along with Toby if Toby didn't react so nastily to him. Do you think there might be a way to interrupt that behavior so that Oskar doesn't go after him? Like maybe find a way to interupt the behavior when he sees Oskar through a window, then treat him for being calm, then try and work up to having them in the same room? If I remember right, it was Bel that went after Toby, so it seems to me that if you could keep Toby from setting Oskar off, you might eventually get to the point where they can be together, thus making poor Toby less lonely.

    Just a thought. Not really sure how great of a suggestion it is because I only remember some of the situation between your three but maybe it'll be of help anyway.
  • @drwerilla. I will say that I actually find your comments very rude. Lindsay was pointing out that I, the person who was asking for help here, would be annoyed by aversive training methods and Cesar Millan methods, and that many others here do not like these methods. There was an opportunity there to stop this part of the discussion--the opportunity being that such methods would not be found useful, so let's move on.

    Then I said I would not like those methods, and really, it should have stopped then, but it hasn't. I find it offensive in the extreme that you say "My methods don’t harm them any more than the way they correct each other, a playful bite warning to let you know what you did was inappropriate. Just because you read a book that said otherwise, doesn’t discredit the other theory.

    Guess what, I have no issues with my dogs and it is because I used techniques you think are wrong. "

    First, you don't know us and have no idea how much experience any of us have with dogs, so to say Lindsay (or anyone) is basing their opinion out of a book, is a huge (and incorrect) assumption. 2) you're implying in your second statement that your training way is the only good way (I have no issues with my dogs because I use these techniques). You've just condemned others for saying what you percieved to be that there is only ONE way to train, but now you're saying the same thing, AND you're accusing other people of being too misguided to recognize the error of their ways. This is also offensive, and also, utterly useless to my situation.

    I'm not going to use Cesar Millan methods, which I disagree with. You think they don't do harm; I think they are bullying and unnecessary. We don't have to agree about this, but you certainly do not have a right to insist that way I choose to train my dog is incorrect and suggest I would not have problems with I followed a way I find repellent in the extreme, as well as scientifically unsound and unnecessary. Someone could come and try those on Toby, but they'd get bit. End of story. It is utterly useless to subject a fearful and reactive dog, like Toby, to ANY sort of dominance based training, and I wouldn't allow it in the first place.

    Now, since this post is quite long enough, and will cut me off some, I do have some things to say about TOBY, which have come up from the more useful comments in this thread, and I'll get to that next.
  • Now some thoughts on Toby.

    I discounted separation anxiety because he doesn't seem to want to be with me particulary, in that mostly he wants to be outside. I let him out, and he refuses to come back in. So I assumed it wasn't separation anxiety, but it occurs to me that Shibas are odd (and Toby is particularly odd) and perhaps he is feeling the change in the schedule. I am home a lot less, and while he's not in his room a lot more, he still knows no one is home, and he WAS stressed from the trip to Germany (in fact, apparently, this behavior started when the housesitters were here). So it may just be he's feeling anxious and acting out because of it.

    Why I didn't think of putting the thundershirt on him, I don't know, but hey, that's why I ask questions here! Brilliant! He's a bit tubby so I don't know if it will fit well, but I'll try it!

    With a different room--this is a possibility, except that usually he scratches and whines whereever he is (we've done this before, leaving him upstairs and them downstairs for example). He either wants to be outside or with us, and everything else is unacceptable to him.

    I don't think anything has changed in his room (well, I cleaned it!). There was a centipede though. But I killed it, and it didn't look like it stung him. Seems unlikely to be a change.

    Re: Toby and other dogs. That's sad, and is a paradox that is probably not solveable. I do think he's lonely. But he has only tolerated one dog in his life, our GSD who died a year ago. So while he seems to want to hang with other dogs, he's also so afraid of them that he immediately tries to attack them, and of course, they don't much seem interested in him after that. I've thought of Oskar and Toby together, but the problem is Toby doesn't even like puppies (he bit Oskar when Oskar was 8 weeks old, and that's put a damper on their interactions, and he bit him again the only other time they were together. Oskar's a mellow Akita, but if a dog gets in his face, as Toby ALWAYS does, then he doesn't want to back down either, and Toby won't, and someone will get hurt like that). So Toby SEEMS to want to be with other dogs, but when he meets them, he's just nasty and attacks them. So toby + dog friends. Not promising, unfortunately.

    I think I'm going to work on the idea that this may be a kind of separation anxiety, and try to spend more time with him (we just went for a very long walk) and also try interrupting his paddling, and perhaps use the thundershirt too. I'll try to work more time in with him, and I do have to figure out some new management plan, because Oskar just had the idea that he wanted to see what that dog was doing in the room in there, so he tried to stand on the back of the sofa like the Shibas do, so he could get a look in there, and, well, 110 pounds of Akita on the back of the sofa meant the sofa turned over and there was one very surprised Akita!

    So I'd like to stop some of the noise and acrobatics, here!

    Anyway, I very much appreciate the suggestions! Some good things to think of here. And also, Toby is always odd and unsettled in the fall for some reason, and has bad allergies, and maybe it's just all that and the change of me not being home as much, etc.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    "well, 110 pounds of Akita on the back of the sofa meant the sofa turned over and there was one very surprised Akita!" Oskar sounds so cute doing that. :D

    Bella my parent's boxer tried to lay on the top of the couch like Saya does and she learned it's not as fun couch didn't fall over, but the pillows on the back went down. lol

    Sorry about Toby it might be from the change of you going to Germany or allergies. Saya seems get boogers on her eyes in times when farmers are cutting the corn up..

    Hope things work out.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • It was pretty funny to see, if alarming too! Poor Oskar! He doesn't understand his size.

    And, I just tried to put the thundershirt on Toby, but he's a fat little f---ker, as one of my friends calls him (fondly, of course!) , and it would not go around his middle. It's a medium, and almost too small for Bel, but absolutely too small for Toby. Sigh. Guess I might need to invest in a larger one.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • AnnaAnna
    Posts: 621
    If it seems to have started when the petsitters were there, I'd definitely lean towards separation anxiety issues (speaking as an as-yet non-dog owner, but an anxious cat owner). When I get back from even just a weekend away, it takes my cat several days to a week to settle back down into a routine. And that's if I come back and get right back into the same schedule I already had. If I come back and am then busy and out late every night, it takes her longer to settle back down.

    Or, I hate to suggest it (especially since I have no idea who they were), but is it possible the petsitters did something to upset him? Like you use absolutely no aversive methods, so I'd assume you'd pick sitters who agree with you, but if he was being difficult maybe someone yelled at him and sent him to his room for punishment and then didn't spend enough time with him, so now he has a grudge against that room or being inside in general? Or is just worked up because people who were not you were in HIS house and you weren't there? (Again, wildly guessing here, since I missed previous posts about Germany, etc., so I have no idea about that situation aside from what was specifically mentioned in this thread)
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    @Anna - Those are some helpful insights, and may help give Lisa (shibamistress) some other ideas as to Toby's behavior change. Even though you may not know much about the history of these dogs, you are offering a view that many of us may be overlooking.
  • emmyemmy
    Posts: 553
    I have no advice....but I'm glad to learn that I'm not the only one with a shiba that can howl and "paddle" for hours. When my pup did it in his crate in the middle of the night, people insisted that I was ignoring some need he was trying to bring to my attention. So I followed their advice and went to the crate, only to discover that his three a.m. "need" was to romp around and play with his toys in the living room. And beg for treats. Needless to say, he doesn't get out for that anymore. (Note that in the past when he has been sick to his stomach and NEEDED to go out, he cried...I will still go check on him if he cries because I know it means he needs something.)

    I hope you sort this issue out....I know it can be really annoying when dogs do something that drives the whole household crazy and you can't figure out why they do it or how to make it stop.
  • @ Shibamistress - if he always gets a bit upset around autumn then I lean more heavily towards the semester/quarter schedule theory. Shibas are odd and sometimes they try to pretend or act as if they don't miss you when they actually do. The other thing is that as dog owners we sometimes get complacent with their behavior, especially when they seem ok with things. It's possible that this yearly schedule change has always bugged him a bit and he may have figured that if you were too clueless to pick up on his subtle expressions that he should take it to the next level.
  • McYogiMcYogi
    Posts: 518
    I think the thundershirt route is the way to go. Mind if I post a video of my dog doing the same stupid thing that I think Toby is doing only mine does it at the back door? The problem is all but remedied when I put him in his "thundershirt" (which is really just a regular dog shirt).

  • @McYogi--no go ahead! I'd love to see it, and actually I tried to video Toby, but it's hard because of the way we've got the glass doors blocked off so he can't see the other dogs.

    I tried to find a t-shirt to put on Toby last night, but everything of mine is, um, rather huge on him! *lol* I need to find something tighter for him!

    @Anna...I don't think the petsitters would do anything aversive--they're really animal savvy, and know I don't use aversives. However, when they were here, Oskar was recovering from an injury, and needed a lot of attention, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if Toby got a lot less attention than usual, and that might have left him disgruntled. He loves the housesitters, but I know they said he was paddling and howling a lot. When I got home he was ok for a month or so, and then he started up again. Still, it's worth thinking about!

    Today the weather changed dramatically, cold rain and it may even snow (I hope not!) and he seems a bit calmer. But then again, I was home all day today too and took him to run errands with me, so we had a lot of time together.
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    Hmm... you could always get a shirt you don't like, hack it apart, and re-sew it to fit Toby? The other day I saw a guy with a Pit Bull wearing a Led Zeppelin shirt that the dude had modded to fit the dog. It wasn't the best sew job on earth but it looked fine and he did a good job making it fit the dog.
    Or you could trace your Thundershirt onto some fabric, or a t-shirt, and make the pattern bigger and make one of those?
    Post edited by Losech at 2011-10-07 23:33:20
  • bobc33bobc33
    Posts: 287

    My heart goes out to you, and I always think how lucky your dogs are to have ended up with you as an owner. After having Scout for almost three, and Shadow almost two years and finally seeing their behaviors (for the most part) improve, it is a joy that I appreciate more than the "normal" dogs in a family situation. Having the tough times makes me appreciate the good times so much more, and I pray more of the good times come your way.
  • McYogiMcYogi
    Posts: 518
    Lisa, this is the video of Gufi (my youngest male, about 3 years old) scratching at the back door. He started doing this about a year ago, and it goes in cycles of intensity. It got the worst in July with the fireworks and tapered off in August and September. He doesn't do it at all anymore really. Sometimes he does this and pauses to howl at the neighbors or the door. He seemed to get better when I upped the walks and training. He has however, been chewing on himself relentlessly as we are battling a huge flea epidemic in my house. Maybe he's focused his neurotic energy on himself rather than the door.

    We also tried taping sandpaper to the door (you can see the leftover tape in the video) so the roughness would deter him from scratching and it worked for a few days but then he just scratched the sandpaper off and ate it.

    I've tried conditioning him to stay away from the door by having him sit a few feet away before he can come inside, but my husband doesn't use this method and if I'm not religious about it then he forgets the next time he wants to come in.

    Sounds like Toby could benefit from the shirt. It's kind of magical! At least, I hope it is for him!


  • inubakainubaka
    Posts: 174
    you can do a wrap with any slightly flexible material:

    the thundershirt really helped our anxious dog Kiba. It is magical!!!!
  • @McYogi--that is EXACTLY what Toby does! And yes, he can do it for quite a long time. (I love in the video that we see the other Shiba (Miki?) watching like hey, dude, why are you doing that? *lol*)

    And thanks Inubaka, for the link to the home made anxiety wrap! I didn't really want to get another thundershirt for my tubby boy, so now i have some options!

  • Well, I didn't have much success with my version of the anxiety wrap, but if anyone wants to see pictures of Oskar trying to watch Toby when Toby was putting on his grand performance, or if you want to see how my anxiety wrap looked, check out the blog, as I just posted some pictures about all this on it, here:

    I think the anxiety wrap thing could work, but I haven't quite got the hang of it yet!
  • McYogiMcYogi
    Posts: 518
    Poor neurotic little Toby :)

    Try getting a wider wrap (just googled "wide ace bandage" and it seems they come in 6-inch) or taking like... a bathing suit, maybe a child's, or something stretchy.

    I honestly think it works partly because it makes them miserable. We used to call it the "sweater of shame" because it made them so melancholy that they just went and laid down somewhere, without a peep for hours. You have to deal with a little stink-eye, but it's worth it. The minute it was off it was yapping and shiba 500's again.... now, the effect is in the middle of the spectrum while it's on and while it's off.

    If Toby isn't phased by the clothes, then he might not care about the wrap either. Keep us updated!

  • vnovikovavnovikova
    Posts: 532
    I don't know if this would be any help, but we noticed that Nami calmed down substantially when she was in season and we put a home-made diaper on her (boy's underwear turned upside down, allowing the tail to come out of the hole). She curled into a ball and slept for hours.
  • Toby update:

    He has not calmed down in his room at all, but we have made some rearrangements. Interestingly, he's pretty much ok in there at night. He'll protest a bit and howl or scratch, but then he stops and lays in his chair and seems fine.

    But during the day he's a holy terror. Example: awhile ago, he was out in the morning as usual, and my husband put Toby in his room when he went to work. I was trying to sleep, and I heard Toby start with the scratching after being in there maybe all of two minutes. I fell back asleep anyway, but woke up an hour later to the most piteous howling, and when I got downstairs, Toby was really super distressed--he was foaming at the mouth, had drooled all over the door, etc.

    So it's not just that he doesn't like being in there during the day, but he really works himself up into a state of huge anxiety.

    So we've rearranged the schedule a bit. Now he comes up with me in the bedroom when my husband goes to work, and the other dogs are downstairs. He can't stay upstairs on his own, though, because he'll start getting agitated if I come downstairs, and he'll knock down the gates, so I bring him down with me.

    What I've noticed, though, is that if I put on his halloween sweater and plug in the DAP diffuser in his room, then he'll calm right down. And at night, if he's in there he only gets the DAP diffuser and seems fine and content. I got the sweater as a test to see if it would help calm him before I bought him his own thundershirt, and it does work, so I may go ahead and get him either a thundershirt or an anxiety wrap (same principle, different brand).

    I also sometimes leave Oskar in his room and Toby in the house with Bel (who is crated).

    So we've found some ways to work around his anxiety, but I'm really puzzled, because I can't imagine what started it. His room is no different than it has been for the past two years, but he's really super anxious when he has to go in there during the day, for some reason.

    Poor Toby!
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    Oh wow... I am so sorry that Toby is going through this. I can not imagine what has him so anxious though. Stuff like this is what really makes me wish dogs could talk.

    I am glad that you have found some ways to work around this issue, though. Since the sweater seems to chill him out a bit, I definitely think a ThunderShirt is a good investment. And hopefully it will help.

    Keep us updated. Have you talked to the vet about this? (I am too lazy to scroll up) I am wondering if maybe your vets might have any suggestions about what could have triggered the behaviour.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • I wish he could talk too! (or maybe not--maybe he'd just yell about how he doesn't want to be in his room and wants the other dogs gone!) But I do really wonder, because it's only during the day he gets so worked up, poor boy. And I do wonder if he's developed a phobia like Bel does from her seizures. Toby did have a seizure once, a full on one, but I've never seen any evidence of any others, which doesn't mean he necessarily hasn't had one. That makes me wonder if something like that happened once, and I didn't know, and now he associates the room with that?

    I have mentioned it to my vet, and one thing we're going to do when they are back in town is to retest his thyroid levels. It was too high last time we checked and we cut his dose of meds, but perhaps not enough. Other than that, they didn't have suggestions, but as great as they are on other things, they're not good on behavioral issues. I scouted around for another vet to take the dogs to for these things, and found one I thought was ok, but then he went over to VCA and I hate that chain and will not go to it, so...

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