Strange fear episode - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Strange fear episode

This isn't V related, it's a rat terrier issue. My Dad has a rat terrier named Louie and Louie has had about three of these episodes over the last couple of years. My Dad can't figure out what triggers it, but all of a sudden Louie will just become afraid and if you try to pet him he'll run away from you and if you follow him to try and catch him he'll snap at you (which isn't unexpected because he's afraid). Last week he had a bad experience at the vet - they had to sedate him to give him a shot and when he was coming out of the sedation he freaked out, started growling and snapping at everyone and ran under a chair in the corner to hide. My Dad had to physically remove him, but once he got home he seemed to be fine. Well, today my Dad was getting ready to go on vacation for a week and he was planning on taking Louie with him, but Louie woke up this morning and when my Dad tried to pet him he ran away. My Dad packed up the car and went to get Louie, but Louie started growling at him and wouldn't come near him. My Dad decided that it wasn't a good idea to take him because it usually takes a day or so for Louie to get back to normal once he gets like this and my Dad thought it would make him worse to be in the car all day. So now I get to deal with Louie for the next week. I'll have to go over there later today and see if I can get Louie to come to me and then I'll bring him to my house. I'm baffled at why he gets this way, it never seems to be anything consistent that sets him off.

My Dad is getting frustrated because he takes it personal when Louie won't come to him. He said today that he's not sure how much longer he can deal with this. Ugh - I'm assuming that he's just saying that because he's frustrated and when he gets back from vacation he'll have a better outlook, otherwise I'm going to end up with one more dog living in my house!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Strange fear episode

Yes, I'm not sure what to do about him either. When he freaked out at the vet, the vet said that there's nothing medically wrong with him. He did say that sometimes dogs are disoriented when they are coming out of sedation, but Louie took it beyond that. I'm going to head over to my Dad's house soon so hopefully he has calmed down by the time I get over there.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-20-2013, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Strange fear episode

I went to my Dad's and successfully picked up Louie - he was barking up a storm when I got there but as soon as I walked in he ran up to me with his tail tucked and wanted to go outside to my car. I brought him to my house and Penny actually really likes him, so she gave him a nice greeting when he came in and now he seems fine. They all ate dinner just fine, played in the backyard a bit and now are sleeping together on my bed. My Dad has a fairly big house and I'm wondering if there is something in there that Louie is afraid of. My Dad has calmed down too - he's already called me twice to check on him. So strange, I don't know what triggers these episodes, but he seems to have bounced back from this one quicker than usual - maybe from the contagious happiness of the Vs.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-20-2013, 10:51 AM
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Re: Strange fear episode

There's really no way of knowing if this will help or not, so I'll just throw it out there... Louie's mysterious episodes are baffling, for sure!

Last winter, on a couple of different occasions, Willie suddenly yelped (more of a scream, actually), and then ran and hid, trembling uncontrollably. It was awful. I was sure he was in pain, and so rushed him to the Vet each time. At first we all thought he might have hurt his back, but then his doctor could find nothing wrong with him physically. Nothing at all.

So I'll cut to the chase... Willie had received a couple of jolts of static electricity. The air was kind of dry, and I don't have a humidifier in the house. Anyone who has ever gotten a shock from static electricity knows how much they hurt!! It took us a while to figure this out. The trembling was really from fear rather than pain. I couldn't explain it to him, and even if I could, he still wouldn't like it!

My remedies for this are ongoing... In the winter when the air gets drier, I replace all plush, polyester blankets with cotton ones. I replace his stainless steel dishes with glass ones. These things are much less likely to generate static electricity. Also, I buy a fresh spray can of "Static Guard" and spray it around places he likes to hang out. I spray his sweaters, too. When I wash his bedding, I use unscented fabric softener, which reduces static cling. These measures have helped a lot. Don't know if that's what has happened to Louie, though.

Good luck with Louie!!

"Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love
can make him wag his tail." -- Kinky Friedman
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-20-2013, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Strange fear episode

Mswhipple - actually that is very similar to what happened the first time Louie had one of these episodes! It was Christmas time, everyone was at my Dad's house and Louie was sleeping at the top of the stairs when all of a sudden Louie screamed, ran down the stairs and went into the corner and hid. He was all shaky and scared and wouldn't let anyone near him. When he finally calmed down we checked him all over and couldn't find any injuries. We thought that maybe he had been bitten by a bug, but we couldn't find any bug bite.

I'd never thought about static! I'll have to talk to my Dad and see if that could be what's happening. Thanks for the tip!!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-20-2013, 03:02 PM
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Re: Strange fear episode

You're welcome! There isn't any way to be sure about this unless you're nearby exactly when it happens. The first time Willie ever got a static shock, I WAS right there. His first winter here it was very cold outside, so we were playing with a tennis ball in the living room. He approached one of the upholstered chairs and the static shock jumped right out and got him on the nose. I heard it snap and had no doubt what had happened. Of course, he screamed... because it hurt!

These last two episodes happened just last winter, and I had sort of forgotten about the first time, so it took me a while to put two and two together. The scream is from pain, and the trembling that follows is from fear. The Vet concurred that this was the likely cause. Static Guard!

"Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love
can make him wag his tail." -- Kinky Friedman
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-21-2013, 01:42 PM
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Re: Strange fear episode

I'll echo mswhipple.

Savannah had a bed that used to go in the car with her. Last winter, we had a stretch where the air was dry enough that the bed was generating static. She got shocked a few times getting out of the car and by the end of the day flat out refused to put a paw outside. I changed the bed for a cotton mat. Problem solved... well actually, problem solved after a few high value treats convinced her to try getting out again. :

Good luck with Louie!
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