Canine Behavior/Toy poodle
My 12 year old poodle has been with me for many years and in the last 5 years we moved in with my boyfriend, my dog use to sleep with me and now he doesn't. My dog attacks my boyfriend and he has even bit me. He yelps in pain and I have him on metacam for pain which he gets daily. He shakes sometimes and he is a white poodle with a little bit of peach color too. I am not sure if his attacks are because he is jealous of other pets and my boyfriend or is he in pain and just crabby? My dog also just recently started peeing on the rugs in the kitchen and he has pads that he goes on. I don't know what to do? He was to the vets a few months ago and they did tests and found nothing. Maybe he has arthritis?
Greetings, and thank you for contacting All Experts,
Many dogs don't like changes, as they disrupt their routines and habits, especially the older ones who have lived quietly for most of their lives. It's not clear to me if this is a new behavior or if it's been going on for the past 5 years. Any how, it's clear that your poodle isn't too happy about things that have been going on in his life lately. On top of that, we must consider the health issues your dog has. Health issues, such as chronic pain, may lower a dog's impulse threshold making the dog more reactive. It may likely be a combination of factors you are seeing. If he is yelping from pain and you were prescribed metacam, most likely your dog has some form of severe arthritis/joint pain going on. I would consult with your vet again to see what other options there are to make him more comfortable.
Also, it's a good idea to ensure there aren't other health issues going on. If he is peeing on rugs, you want to rule out urinary problems. Some dogs also urinate when they are highly stressed. Shaking can be stress related, but there are also medical causes for it.There are also chances senior dogs go through congnitive dysfunction, a sort of canine dementia, which causes major behavioral changes.
From reading your description, my impression is of a highly stressed dog. As mentioned though, pain and other potential medical issues may contribute to causing reactive behaviors. If your dog used to sleep with you, and now no longer does, it's likely because he doesn't feel comfortable being around your boyfriend, which I assume now shares your bed. Urinating in the home-- once medical causes have been ruled out-- is often seen in dogs when there are changes such as guests, other pets in the home. It's their way of trying to "make things smell familiar again."So here's what I would do;
Have a vet see him tfor a thourough exam. Mention the urination, and the fact that despite the metacam he still yelps in pain. Have his sight and hearing checked out. Talk about the shaking, when it happens and for how long. Discuss about the behavior changes and ask the vet about running a thyroid panel.
Once medical conditions are ruled out/ and the pain is better under control, invest in calming aids. DAP diffisurs, calming tabs, calming music etc. Here are a few tips: http://alexadry.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Reduce-Stress-in-Dogs
There are some behavior modification programs that work to change a dog's emotions. If your dog doesn't take treats and reacts, you are working too fast. The secret is to work under threshold. It would be best if you could have a behavior consultant walk you through something similar for safety. Here are 2 examples of behaviot modification programs that can be used towards your boyfriend or your other dogs if that's what seems to make him react: http://alexadry.hubpages.com/hub/Changing-Dog-Behavior-Through-LAT-Look-at-That
You mention your dog has bitten you, in this case I am pretty sure it happened because you touched your dog when he was in an aroused state. Never touch your dog when he is stressed by something and is tense/barking/growling at somebody.
I highly recommend a behavior consultant to help you out.
If your boyfriend's presence/other dogs stress your dog out so much, it's best to provide him with a quiet spot, where he feels safe and can relax. Prolonged stress in dogs is harmful, lowers their immune system, making them more prone to diseases, so it's very important to help your dog out. I hope this helps! Kind regards, Adrienne
Disclaimer: behavior modification comes with risks. If your dog is aggressive at any time please consult with your vet to rule out medical problems. Once medical problems have been ruled out, consult with a behavior consultant/ behaviorist using force-free methods for the most appropriate behavior modification program. By reading my answers you accept this disclaimer.