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Old 02-13-2007, 06:35 AM   #1
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Default Yorkie on Prozac for aggression not working :(

I found this website and thought this would be the perfect place to come to for the problems I am having with my baby. Chloe is a 7 year old Yorkie who is really sweet most of the time but she gets very aggressive and bites me.
It started a few years ago when she started guarding toys and she would hide under chairs and lunge at you if you came near her. She then started guard the couch that she would lay on - if you came over to pet her or sit next to her she would attack you. This got progressively worse and I started bringing her to the vet, then a trainer than a pet behavorist, then a neurologist. I had a bile acids test done to see if she was having a problem with too much protein with her liver which could make dogs aggressive, then to the neurologist who said she was fine and then finally to the vet behaviorist who said she had anxiety and that is she felt threatened or anxious she would react. She said that there was nothing I could do training wise that she just had some "wires crossed in her brain", which seemed like the best way to describe it. She was an angel most times and then she would just snap. It makes it really hard to approach her to pet her or to sit next to her because you just dont know when she is going to turn and attack you. I have had Chloe since she was a puppy and it has been really hard over the past year or so, as this gets worse and so unpredictable. She takes 5 mg of Prozac in the morning and 5mg more at night and sometimes takes Zanax in between on bad days. I dont know if this is even helping her but I dont know what else to do. If I have to give her drugs to keep her from attacking so I can at least have her with me, than that is what I am doing but it is really upsetting and frustrating and sad not just for me but for her. Doesnt seem like much of a life for this adorable (loving 97% of the time) doggie. Any advise would be so helpful!

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Old 02-14-2007, 07:57 AM   #2
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Ask your vet if food is the problem too. We have our one Yorkie on a food diet and it seems to be helping some of the time. Of course it hasn't been long enough to find out. some of the dog food has too much junk in it and causes different reactions in dogs, according to my Vet.

I'm certainly not an expert in this area and have had the same problem with aggression . We are trying the food change to see if this will help. He took steroids for awhile but no change, except he slept more. Prozac is the last thing my Vet wants to do. Hope the diet food will help.
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Old 02-14-2007, 11:20 AM   #3
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I'm not an expert, but my 5 mo. old puppy was getting very aggressive when we would try to put her back in her carrier after an outing. She bit my hands quite badly. So I decided to take a page out of Cesar Milan's book (not literally his book as he has one out) who has a show on the National Geographic channel. I've watched many of his episodes involving agressive dogs, particularly toy breeds as they tend to get neurotic when treated like little humans.

His method is to grasp the dog's upper shoulder (right around the shoulder socket) very firmly using your thumb, index and third finger and then push the dog onto it's side and hold firmly until the dog calms down. Now I'm not talking about digging your fingernails in, but this is supposed to simulate a bite as the mother dog would do to correct her puppy. So you do have to dig in a bit like you are biting. The left shoulder seems to work best for some reason.

I did this when my puppy got aggressive last time, and it worked like magic! She yelped once, and I let up, and she has never bit me again! She will lick my hand occasionally but the minute she threatens to bite, I say "eh-eh" to her in a "no-no" kind of voice and she immediately backs off.

If you don't succeed with this, I would get Cesar's episodes on DVD (available from various sources, and also in libraries) and watch his technique, and if all else fails, I would email him on his website and ask what else you can do. He doesn't give up on dogs that everyone else has given up on.

Good luck on this!
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Old 02-14-2007, 11:25 AM   #4
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Love I Love Ceaser Milan!

This man is AMAZING. Run - Don't Walk - to the nearest store and buy his video's. Pop some popcorn, grab a note book - stay up all night if you have to - this WILL help you!

She's exhibiting classic dominant behavior.

Best of luck and please keep us posted. Can't wait to see what you think of Ceaser!
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Old 02-16-2007, 07:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chloevalentine View Post
... and then finally to the vet behaviorist who said she had anxiety and that is she felt threatened or anxious she would react. She said that there was nothing I could do training wise ...
That's one of the most absurd things I've heard from a supposed "professional". Yes, your dog has anxiety and reacts inappropriately when she feels threatened or is anxious. But to say there is nothing that can be done through training is utterly ridiculous!

My first recommendation is to look for another behaviorist or trainer. Ask them if they have had experience with these issues (which are not uncommon, by the way) and if they've had success in treating them.

Here is a good article on guarding behaviors which is exactly what your dog is doing - she is guarding toys and she is "location guarding".
http://www.canineconcepts.co.uk/ccp5...guarding.shtml

Here is another good article on object guarding although it doesn't refer specifically to location guarding. The principals are the same, however. ClickerSolutions also offers a yahoo group that you can join. There are alot of well-respected dog trainers on that list who could give you some good ideas to try.
http://www.clickersolutions.com/arti...ctguarding.htm


There is hope! The implication that there isn't is absolutely ridiculous.

Good luck!
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Old 02-16-2007, 09:49 AM   #6
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ChloeValentine,
The other thing that I would do - if it were me - would be to implement the NILIF program which I have posted here:

NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE (NILIF) ?1999 Deb McKean
The NILIF program is remarkable because it's effective for such a wide variety of problems. A shy, timid dog becomes more relaxed knowing that he has nothing to worry about, his owner is in charge of all things. A dog that's pushing too hard to become "top dog" learns that the position is not available and that his life is far more enjoyable without the title.

It is equally successful with dogs that fall anywhere between those two extremes. The program is not difficult to put into effect and it's not time consuming if the dog already knows a few basic obedience commands. I've never seen this technique fail to bring about a positive change in behavior, however, the change can be more profound in some dogs than others. Most owners use this program in conjunction with other behavior modification techniques such as coping with fear or treatment for aggression. It is a perfectly suitable technique for the dog with no major behavior problems that just needs some fine tuning.

ATTENTION ON DEMAND
The program begins by eliminating attention on demand. When your dog comes to you and nudges your hand, saying "pet me! pet me!" ignore him. Don't tell him "no", don't push him away. Simply pretend you don't notice him. This has worked for him before, so don't be surprised if he tries harder to get your attention. When he figures out that this no longer works, he'll stop. In a pack situation, the top ranking dogs can demand attention from the lower ranking ones, not the other way around. When you give your dog attention on demand you're telling him that he has more status in the pack than you do. Timid dogs become stressed by having this power and may become clingy. They're never sure when you'll be in charge so they can't relax. What if something scary happens, like a stranger coming in the house? Who will handle that? The timid dog that is demanding of attention can be on edge a lot of the time because he has more responsibility than he can handle.

Some dogs see their ability to demand attention as confirmation that they are the "alpha", then become difficult to handle when told to "sit" or "down" or some other demand is placed on them. It is not their leadership status that stresses them out, it's the lack of consistency. They may or may not actually be alpha material, but having no one in the pack that is clearly the leader is a bigger problem than having the dog assume that role full time. Dogs are happiest when the pack order is stable. Tension is created by a constant fluctuation of pack leadership.

EXTINCTION BURSTS
Your dog already knows that he can demand your attention and he knows what works to get that to happen. As of today, it no longer works, but he doesn't know that yet. We all try harder at something we know works when it stops working. If I gave you a twenty dollar bill every time you clapped your hands together, you'd clap a lot. But, if I suddenly stopped handing you money, even though you were still clapping, you'd clap more and clap louder. You might even get closer to me to make sure I was noticing that you were clapping. You might even shout at me "Hey! I'm clapping like crazy over here, where's the money?". If I didn't respond at all, in any way, you'd stop. It wasn't working anymore. That last try -- that loud, frequent clapping is an extinction burst. If, however, during that extinction burst, I gave you another twenty dollar bill you'd be right back in it. It would take a lot longer to get you to stop clapping because you just learned that if you try hard enough, it will work.

When your dog learns that the behaviors that used to get him your attention don't work any more he's going to try harder and he's going to have an extinction burst. If you give him attention during that time you will have to work that much harder to get him turned around again. Telling him "no" or pushing him away is not the kind of attention he's after, but it's still attention. Completely ignoring him will work faster and better.

YOU HAVE THE POWER
As the human and as his owner you have control of all things that are wonderful in his life. This is the backbone of the NILIF program. You control all of the resources. Playing, attention, food, walks, going in and out of the door, going for a ride in the car, going to the dog park. Anything and everything that your dog wants comes from you. If he's been getting most of these things for free there is no real reason for him to respect your leadership or your ownership of these things. Again, a timid dog is going to be stressed by this situation, a pushy dog is going to be difficult to handle. Both of them would prefer to have you in charge.

To implement the NILIF program you simply have to have your dog earn his use of your resources. He's hungry? No problem, he simply has to sit before his bowl is put down. He wants to play fetch? Great! He has to "down" before you throw the ball. Want to go for a walk or a ride? He has to sit to get his lead snapped on and has to sit while the front door is opened. He has to sit and wait while the car door is opened and listen for the word (I use "OK") that means "get into the car". When you return he has to wait for the word that means "get out of the car" even if the door is wide open. Don't be too hard on him. He's already learned that he can make all of these decisions on his own. He has a strong history of being in control of when he gets these resources. Enforce the new rules, but keep in mind that he's only doing what he's been taught to do and he's going to need some time to get the hang of it all.

You're going to have to pay attention to things that you probably haven't noticed before. If you feed your dog from your plate do you just toss him a green bean? No more. He has to earn it. You don't have to use standard obedience commands, any kind of action will do. If your dog knows "shake" or "spin around" or "speak" use those commands. Does your dog sleep on your bed? Teach him that he has to wait for you to say "OK" to get on the bed and he has to get down when you say "off". Teach him to go to his bed, or other designated spot, on command. When he goes to his spot and lays down tell him "stay" and then release him with a treat reward. Having a particular spot where he stays is very helpful for when you have guests or otherwise need him out of the way for a while. It also teaches him that free run of the house is a resource that you control. There are probably many things that your dog sees as valuable resources that I haven't mentioned here.

The NILIF program should not be a long, drawn out process. All you need to do is enforce a simple command before allowing him access to what he wants. Dinner, for example, should be a two or three second encounter that consists of nothing more than saying "sit", then "good dog!", then putting the bowl down and walking away.

ATTENTION AND PLAY
Now that your dog is no longer calling the shots you will have to make an extra effort to provide him with attention and play time. Call him to you, have him "sit" and then lavish him with as much attention as you want. Have him go get his favorite toy and play as long as you both have the energy. The difference is that now you will be the one initiating the attention and beginning the play time. He's going to depend on you now, a lot more than before, to see that he gets what he needs. What he needs most is quality time with you. This would be a good time to enroll in a group obedience class. If his basic obedience is top notch, see about joining an agility class or fly ball team.

NILIF DOES *NOT* MEAN THAT YOU HAVE TO RESTRICT THE AMOUNT OF ATTENTION YOU GIVE TO YOUR DOG. The NILIF concept speaks to who initiates the attention (you!), not the amount of attention. Go ahead and call your dog to you 100 times a day for hugs and kisses!! You can demand his attention, he can no longer demand yours!

Within a day or two your dog will see you in a whole new light and will be eager to learn more. Use this time to teach new things, such as 'roll over' or learn the specific names of different toys.

If you have a shy dog, you'll see a more relaxed dog. There is no longer any reason to worry about much of anything. He now has complete faith in you as his protector and guide. If you have a pushy dog he'll be glad that the fight for leadership is over and his new role is that of devoted and adored pet.
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