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Canine Behavior/Sleep-like Behavior


Thank you for your time and thoughts.

7 weeks ago my wife and I received a 10 week old Alaskan Malamute female from Japan. We had raised this puppy's mother for 8 months before she went to Japan to live. Our puppy was the "runt" of a litter of 7. Within 10 days she had already eaten a squeaky toy which needed to be removed from her stomach via surgery. This was followed by almost 3 weeks of recovery. During the surgery and recovery several doctors noted her heart beat was rather fast and a echogram found a heart murmur. The hole is quite small according to the specialist who did the echogram. But the issue that we thought at first was jet lag, now has us concerned as it does not seem to be going away. She sleeps most of the day, which we consider normal for a fast growing pup, but night she paces continually for at times more than 10 hours straight. During this time her eyes are almost closed and her ears are down to horizontal. She will follow the same path around any room she is in, and if she encounters a corner or some obstruction she will try to push straight through or over it. If she can get her nose between the object and a wall she will force her way forward. Last night she pushed her way between the slats on the back of an upright chair that were only 14 cm wide. We have crated her while she is in this state and she does not complain at all. When she is "awake" and is crated after a time she will let us know that she does not appreciate the confinement. During this sleep state she will eat, but most of the time will not stand to eat and is quite erratic. She will put her face into the food and then react in surprise when her nose gets into the food. We have a test set for her on Monday which will check her liver condition, and depending on the results of that test will continue on to a Neurologist. Do you have a feel for what we might be dealing with?

It sounds to me like this puppy is blind.

I suggest a large teaching hospital attached to a veterinary college, even if you have to drive to get there.  All the specialists you need will be under one roof.  I doubt the heart murmur has anything to do with the behavior you describe but the puppy may have multiple problems.  Heart anomalies such as you describe are congenital and inherited, they are in the "line", there are tests to rule out any breeding "stock"; persistent retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts (including juvenile onset) and other types of sight disorders are also congenital.  This puppy needs a complete evaluation.  Life quality issues need to be addressed.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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