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Canine Behavior/My dogs Behavior

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Question
I have a 10 Year old black lab, blood hound. In the morning & sometimes at night her behavior is strange to me. She will get up after sleeping at night, and she will start following me around the house, then she will start to shake. She jumps on the living room tables.Then she goes behind the chairs, like she is hiding.Like she is scared of something.

Then the other night when I got home from work, she wanted out. I took her out she seemed to be happy. Until I brought her home. She would not go into the house. She would just sit there.My wife had to come out to coast her in.

She had never done this before, it come on all of a sudden.

Thank You

Answer
I believe your dog requires a full evaluation by a Veterinary Internist (not a generalist).  You will find one by calling the Veterinary college in your geographical area.  The dog's behavior suggests one of two things and the first must be ruled out:
1.  Biological cause: neurological, cognitive, opthalmologic, etc.
2.  Recently acquired strong conditioned fear response.

While you are pursuing the first possibility, sit down with your other family members and brain storm this situation.  WHEN did it begin; WHAT do you do when she shakes and hides; WHAT do you do when she jumps onto living room tables; WHAT has changed in your environment (including interior changes such as new furniture, recent visit from pest control, anything you can think of).  WHEN was she last vaccinated (over vaccination can cause all sorts of problems).

Just sit together (you, your wife, any children or others who live with you) over coffee with a piece of paper and think this through as carefully as possible.  This data will be extremely useful for the internist, as well.

The dog may require medication, I can't see anything from here.  If this is not physiological, then we can counter condition her, carefully, but I will need you to provide every single detail you can recall.  Use re-post to followup.  Thanks.

Meanwhile: DO NOT attempt to calm, soothe, or coerce the dog if she shakes, shows fear, hides.  DO NOT force the dog back into the house.  If she demonstrates any distressing behaviors (distressing to you, her signal that something is wrong), have a one minute "party".  Sit on the floor, (you and any others nearby), toss a ball around, laugh and sing, get up and leave it at that.  This will confuse her, it will interrupt her fight/flight response, and she should be "curious" enough to come forward.  Praise calmly in a low voice and give her a special treat (ONLY if she is VISIBLY no longer afraid).

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.

Expertise

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.

Experience

30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for ThePetChannel.com for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, K9Shrinks@egroups.com. 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.

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

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

Education/Credentials
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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