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Canine Behavior/puppy freak out


The puppy has been good and a joy to have the last few months however recently he has had these episodes where it starts with like over excitement it seems then turns to pure fear to the extent of howling crying and not even knowing who we are like he is somewhere else and he runs and hids wherever he can. He loses control of he bowl movements and is petrified of any human contact during the episodes.  Therer is not a way to calm him down its just a waiting game.  They can last between 10mins to 30mins. Things that have triggered them is I came home late 2am with a friend he knows very well and he was super excited in the crate then I let him out and with in a few mins out he had an episode (his first) then he was outside middle of day with my mom and sirens went off he howled then an episode started (2nd one) last one so far this morning my dad let him out of the crate to go potty at 5am and he just freaked out.  So what I am asking is why is he doing this? ?? What is causing it how can I help him and is this something that happens with this beed?

You need to consult a veterinary behaviorist.  It is possible the puppy is having temporal lobe seizures.  This over excitement can be normal in dogs during the period between 10 months and 18 months: they will suddenly race around the room like a maniac, etc.  But this is an extreme and it requires eyes on, hands on by an expert.  

First:  find a veterinary behaviorist.  If you are near Berkeley CA, Dr. Ian Dunbar is not only a veterinarian, but a foremost authority in dog behavior, the best in the world.  You can most likely find contact information online or at his site:  Since he appears to be limiting his practice to seminars, he may however know a veterinary behaviorist in your area.

Otherwise, try the following lists:

A baseline neurological exam and a history of behavior from you, his owners (entire family should go to this consultation) will help the Vet to arrive at some (even tentative) diagnosis and will most likely result in the dog being given medication.

Following this visit, ask this Veterinary behaviorist for referral to a CERTIFIED APPLIED ANIMAL BEHAVIORIST (not a dog trainer!) in your area for followup treatment, training, and counter conditioning.

His eyesight might be failing; I don't know what breed this is, or breed mix, the Vet will examine him for anything that might suggest cause.

Meanwhile: Do not over crate this dog; when you let him out of the crate, simply open the door and walk away.  Do not disturb him in the middle of the night, if he is having seizures this will precipitate one (old adage: let sleeping dogs lie).  Once out of the crate and behaving normally, sit next to him on the floor and attach a house tab (very lightweight leash).  If the dog begins an episode such as you describe, without using his name, making eye contact, or going toward him in a straight line (approach on A CURVE), pick up the house tab.  Sit quietly with him at your side until it is clear to you that he has calmed and his fight/flight response and panic has extinguished.  Then, ask for a simple "sit", pop a small treat in his mouth, release the house tab, go on as normal.

If you need further advice, please use followup.  

Canine Behavior

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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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