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Fear aggression and long term meds #356688
01/19/22 08:07 PM
01/19/22 08:07 PM
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Two weeks ago, I took Gypsy to the vet for a nail trim and it didn't go well. A vet tech bent over and reached out to pet her, and Gypsy's reaction was aggressive barking with a bit of a lunge. It scared the tech, and I understand that. My failure here was not having her Do Not Pet vest on her (not that people always pay attention to what it says! ). At that time she weighed 76.6lbs.

Yesterday we tried again. This time they came out and got her while I waited in the car. She did much better. Her shots were updated, her nails were trimmed and I got a new prescription of Acepromazine. Her previous prescription had long lost it's potency. Prior to her going in, I had to muzzle her, and that took what felt like forever. Very frustrating. My failure here is that I have done no real muzzle training.

When we got home, Gypsy was extremely wound up and intense from the vet visit. Very jumpy and on edge. Later in the afternoon, I decided to give her 1 Ace tablet to help her settle. It worked wonders for her nerves...and mine. She settled down and had a relaxing night. Today she is still mellow and it is a welcome behavior. Rather than pacing nearly 24/7 she is casually laying on the couch, and occasionally looking out the window, rather than ready to pounce at the sight of anything moving.

I now have a basket muzzle on the way and will do true muzzle training so it is a better experience for her.

Today I talked with our regular vet, and we have decided to put her on Buspirone. I did some research prior to speaking with the vet, and felt this medication would be a good fit for Gypsy. It has no long term side effects that I can find. My vet had not heard of this medication so looked into it and agreed with me on it. He has to order it in, but said he may be able to get it in as soon as tomorrow. The vet and I have talked about the possibility of medicating her before, but his suggestion then was valium and I didn't like that option. Today he also mentioned another medication - Fluoxetine (reconcile for Prozac). I had also considered it, but feel better to start with Buspirone. I don't want to put my baby on *Prozac* !

[Buspirone is typically prescribed to help dogs who become anxious in social situations—for instance, in their interactions with other dogs.
Buspirone is a member of the azaperone class of anxiolytics. This medication requires continued use to be effective, so it is not helpful for dogs that suffer from situational anxieties like thunderstorm phobias.
It appears to work as a mild anti-anxiety medication because it, in part, activates serotonin receptors within the brain.
Buspirone is dispensed in the form of tablets that are given with or without food.]

Gypsy also does not ride well in the car and never has. If I put a crate in the car, she will not even get in the car at all. As the weather continues to clear up, with the aid of the medication and muzzle, I will be driving her to the park (a 5 minute walk) and walking around the park where she can see other people and dogs. We will not interact directly with them, but the visual may help her to some degree. (at this point, and to start with this, I would not be comfortable letting her interact with others) I will do this in an effort to recondition her so she can eventually learn better behaviors towards others. If this doesn't work, I am strongly thinking about sending her to a dog trainer that specializes in this type of reconditioning.

I am hoping that the combination of the medication and drives with walks around the park will help her to calm down enough to be able to start being reliable enough that she can eventually begin to enjoy more of what life has to offer.

If anyone has other suggestions to help us, I would appreciate any input. At 3 years old, Gypsy needs things to change before she is deemed a dangerous dog.


Bev~mom to:

Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356689
01/20/22 09:10 PM
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Ah Bev, what stuck out to me in this is that GB was much better with you out of the room. I've had dogs be the same way.

Long term sedation would be scary for me to think about. But I am about to take my two in for a citopoint (SP) injection as the itching has gone full bore. Hopefully, this shot will last another good long while.

Basically, I have no information for you. Just wishing the two of you the best on this which ever way you go.

Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356690
01/20/22 09:25 PM
01/20/22 09:25 PM
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jarn Offline
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Is this sedation or just anti-anxiety? Luc was on an anti-depressant (clomipramine) to help with anxiety - to some but not huge effect.

If you do decide to go the medication route and buspirone doesn't help, out of the box - I take gabapentin for anxiety. It's actually a pain med (and one vets use) but just a thought.

I'm sorry you guys are going through this.


Jenn
Neb, Xerxes, and Agis
Timothy and Cordelia (kitties)
RIP Luc
RIP Teagan
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: jarn] #356691
01/20/22 11:26 PM
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I'm sorry you're having these difficulties, Bev. I agree with Middle, these dogs can be a completely other dog when we're not around.

I don't have any experience with medicating dogs to calm them down but would worry how she would feel if she was medicated and then faced with another dog for example. I would think it might make it worse since she may feel less in control.

The situation at the vet doesn't sound all that bad. That's the way some dogs are. And lots of GSDs don't like other dogs. This would be no reason to label her as a dangerous dog. Is there more going on here that might help us with this? Kody isn't dog friendly at all. I've worked with him over the years reinforcing any positive behavior whenever I distract him from another dog and he's gotten much better.

Doe's she get enough exercise?

I couldn't send my dog to a trainer. There's just been so many cases of abuse, I just couldn't do it. I'm thinking a trainer that would work one on one with you would help a lot. I know you've had trainers in the past, is that an option now?


Rosa

Proud Mom to Kody and Sasha
and never to be forgotten, Shiloh, Shoshi and Eli
Every dog deserves to have a human that thinks its the greatest dog that ever lived!
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356693
01/21/22 12:01 AM
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It strikes me that Gypsy is regularly wound up in the home - pacing, not settling - if I'm reading right. That seems like more than situational anxiety to me.


Jenn
Neb, Xerxes, and Agis
Timothy and Cordelia (kitties)
RIP Luc
RIP Teagan
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356694
01/21/22 07:37 PM
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This is an anxiety med. Just to take the edge off. Better than Prozac. Gypsy does not get enough exercise, but we are stuck like chuck for now where we are, and her anxiety is over the moon and out of control. Even daily walks are not enough for her, along with multiple games of fetch, work on OB, and games we make up along the way. While she is 'better' without me in the room at the vet, she is in no way okay either. It takes two people to hold her and one to do the work, and she bucks like a wild bronc. What we really need, is a HUGE yard for her to run in and space away from other dogs where she can really relax. That is just not possible at this time. At this point and time, if I do something out of the ordinary she freaks out- paces and spins out of control, keeps her distance from me, whines, and is, in general untrusting. Nothing I do is taken with a grain of salt by her. I relate her refusal to let her feet be touched to being extremely ticklish. I get that because I am the same way. It has taken the majority of these 3 years to get her to stand still so I can brush her. She has BIG reactions to everything...from turning on the hand mixer to the hair dryer to the vacuum cleaner (normal to a point I guess, at least with the vacuum) and she has at different points even hurt me...like jumping up and scratching my back when I use the hand mixer. Or barking in my ear as we pull into the garage which has caused my ear to ring ever since. Or shredding my coat when I tried to brush her (last year).

I need her to calm now and use her head. She is not even close. Her fight of flight response is in overdrive. Always has been. The way I understand this particular medication to work is that is just takes the edge off. I have hopes that it will be just enough to enable her to use her head before she reacts in a way that could cause trouble for us. For instance, the other day on our walk as we came by a house that typically has no dogs, there was a lady with a small dog on leash in the unfenced portion of the yard they were visiting. The moment Gypsy saw this dog she reared up growling at it. I always watch her body language and had an odd feeling and had held her leash a bit shorter and avoided any trouble that time, however there is always a chance that a critter- cat, small dog, squirrel, etc could be closer and I miss it, and she could easily knock me off my feet in her intense reaction.

There is a training facility in Boise that has a great reputation, and of course, before I go that route, I would check them out more, but I am keeping that option open. Something has to change to help her and in these 3 years, I have tried everything but these two options.


Bev~mom to:

Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356695
01/21/22 07:43 PM
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It sounds like medication is the right route to try at this time. It may be a bit trial and error to find one that works. But I would say definitely worth a shot.


Jenn
Neb, Xerxes, and Agis
Timothy and Cordelia (kitties)
RIP Luc
RIP Teagan
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356696
01/21/22 08:56 PM
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jarn Offline
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One other thought - what about a behaviourist? Some will do phone consults if you can't find one locally.


Jenn
Neb, Xerxes, and Agis
Timothy and Cordelia (kitties)
RIP Luc
RIP Teagan
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: jarn] #356698
01/21/22 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jarn
One other thought - what about a behaviourist? Some will do phone consults if you can't find one locally.


That is the same place in Boise, different program. I will talk to them (and visit them) before taking her there. In my local area, there is nothing. I did try one trainer/behaviorist early on, before Gypsy turned a year, but she proved to be unreliable, despite having ben paid in full, in advance, so I ended up having to get a refund.

My goal no matter what way I go is to get her calm and trustworthy enough that we can go out more to do fun stuff, without her going all whacko and cause trouble. Right now even hiking is out of the question, because if we saw any other creature, it could spell trouble ie: squirrel, bear, rattlesnake, deer, etc And I will Never trust her off leash even with extra training etc.


Bev~mom to:

Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: jarn] #356699
01/21/22 11:29 PM
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Thanks for the additional info. I hear you and have some of your same fears-not being able to control my dog. These dogs are so strong. And as we age it can become harder and harder to control them. I'm fine walking one at a time, but I don't dare walk the together. I'm able to pull back one, but not both and anything can happen on a walk.

You've researched this medication and it sounds like something that would help Gypsy. Once you begin that can you also work with a trainer? Maybe you could call your local GSD Rescue and see if they have anyone that can help you.

You've already made so much progress with her. I remember when your daughter stayed there and how good she was with her. She even met that neighbor man. She's come a long way.


Rosa

Proud Mom to Kody and Sasha
and never to be forgotten, Shiloh, Shoshi and Eli
Every dog deserves to have a human that thinks its the greatest dog that ever lived!
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356700
01/21/22 11:32 PM
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edit deleted duplicate post


Last edited by Shilohsmom; 01/21/22 11:33 PM.

Rosa

Proud Mom to Kody and Sasha
and never to be forgotten, Shiloh, Shoshi and Eli
Every dog deserves to have a human that thinks its the greatest dog that ever lived!
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Shilohsmom] #356701
01/22/22 05:19 PM
01/22/22 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Shilohsmom
Thanks for the additional info. I hear you and have some of your same fears-not being able to control my dog. These dogs are so strong. And as we age it can become harder and harder to control them. I'm fine walking one at a time, but I don't dare walk the together. I'm able to pull back one, but not both and anything can happen on a walk.

You've researched this medication and it sounds like something that would help Gypsy. Once you begin that can you also work with a trainer? Maybe you could call your local GSD Rescue and see if they have anyone that can help you.

You've already made so much progress with her. I remember when your daughter stayed there and how good she was with her. She even met that neighbor man. She's come a long way.



Thank you Rosa!

Sadly, this area is just rural enough, that there are no 'local' rescues, other than one who has their hands full with doing rescues and little to no help. Last I knew there were only 2 or 3 people doing the rescue work, foster & adoption applications. So I really am pretty much on my own. Driving to Boise this time of year is terrifying because the mountain we have to drive through is packed with snow.

It feels like I am getting more and more fearful myself of things- like the traffic in Boise- with a speed limit of 80 and traffic driving above that. Like falling on the ice when we walk- that one is very scary now. Several months ago, while helping my brother- or trying to, I blew my back out and it has been painful ever since, despite several adjustments by the chiro and a doctor visit.

So my plan is 1) muzzle training. We just got a basket muzzle and started the muzzle training yesterday. Short sessions, happy endings. That went great. And 2) once we get the medication, and it gets in her system, start taking that little ride to the park and walking the outskirts of the park while she begins to see people and dogs, and starts to process that I've got her back. .

The number one thing to remember though this is that if this medication doesn't help, I can stop giving it to her. It also does not cause any damage to her liver or kidneys. Other meds that could be given are valium, zoloft, and of course prozac along with a few others. Or I could always just give her Ace when we go to the vet, but that won't get us to the point of going to the park, or getting to do other fun things.


Bev~mom to:

Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356702
01/22/22 09:51 PM
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Bev, I'm sorry that you and Gypsy have to deal with her anxiety. My dear Wolf was fear aggressive so I know the condition requires attention. Her anxiety may as well be hip dysplasia-it is not her fault-but you may be able to help her.

Other people here know a lot more than I do-so if what I say sounds off-ignore it. I read a little about buspirone and what I saw said that it can take several weeks to reach efficacy in a particular individual. I do suggest that you frequently write down how Gypsy behaves over the treatment and your desensitization, so if there is even mild progress, you can see it. Behavioral change is definitely tough for people-so it probably is for dogs-so if this doesn't help her don't give up. I personally am not a fan of ace, but that's another story.

I feel awfully bad that you have fears cropping up-your driving conditions would paralyze me. Continue to make time for all the things that you and Gypsy enjoy together.

take care,
MJ

Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356703
01/23/22 03:15 AM
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Bev, I'm sorry Ms. GB is not calming down for you. It seemed like she was making great progress. You've had your hands full with everything else, that pup needs to chill. As I say this, I'll confess that BTY2 still has some very PIA behaviors at 8 yo. A lot of over excitement when I approach the door to outside. Screaming nuts.

It sounds like you and GB need a place like mine - the dogs have about 6 acres to run off steam. They don't use it all every day but it's easy to take off lead walks.

It seems too that if your daughter lived closer and visited more often, GB might mellow out a bit more just having more in her life like that.

And, yes, winter driving can be a freak show in the inland west. But what we have going for us is less traffic to contend with - still plenty but less than in the valley.

Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356707
01/23/22 04:43 PM
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MJ- I have a log book for tracking progress set up just for this purpose. I want to know on a daily basis if this is working or not. If it does not provide any relief, I will discontinue it, but even the slightest bit of help we will move forward with it.

Middle, yes acreage is exactly what this girl needs. Where I can throw the ball way the heck out there, she can spend time looking for it, we can walk off leash and she can explore. She needs a ton of exercise that simply is not possible here.

The lower traffic here is perfect for me. It is the only reason I like it here. I do think that I would endure heavier traffic for the opportunity to enrich Gypsy's life though. Just not in the weather conditions we have.
Our limited ability to get out has to be a major contributing factor to some of this unwanted chaos.

Now that I have pointed out all of her bad characteristics, I also need to mention some of the good. For instance, she waits inside the front door while I take the garbage out, go check the mail, etc. She has learned to lay on the carpet in the living room where she can still see me but not be underfoot while I am cooking, and the same for when I am eating. She prefers to be right under the table or sitting at my side staring while I eat, but has learned it is not allowed. She is good at bedtime, and is even learning to stay off 'my side' of the bed. There are, I'm sure, more good behaviors, but these are a few examples.

She still has those fits when the little yappers next door come charging out and that drives me insane. She still has to wear her e collar when she goes out in the yard, and gets a stim every single time, because in my opinion, just because they are little a-holes, doesn't mean she has to or gets to be a bigger a-hole. I already have secondary fencing up down the majority of that chain link fence and this spring I am going to extend the secondary fencing. The little dogs can get their noses under the chain link in a few places making it a bit dangerous in that she can hurt those noses peeking through.

I have put so much thought and so much effort into making our conditions a safe place for all involved, be it the little dogs, or the big dogs on the other side. And I continue to put time and effort into working with this girl. At the same time, I do not want this 8500sw ft lot and 1100sq ft house to be all she ever knows. Even our walks are limited in distance because she is so reactive to other dogs, and especially loose dogs, that I don't feel comfortable enough to expand our horizon out there.

So reconditioning and settling her nerves, getting her to use her head and to understand that I have her back are critical in making our world easier and safer to explore and enjoy.


Bev~mom to:

Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356709
01/23/22 10:57 PM
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I know you two have made tons of progress. You should be proud of yourself as well as GB.

Sounds like you're doing everything right. Do you use a prong collar? I know some folks don't agree with them but it's a requirement when I take Kody out. I'm so lucky neither of my neighbors let their dogs in their backyards. That's a hard one. Glad you're finishing that second fence this year.

Have you started GP on the meds yet?


Rosa

Proud Mom to Kody and Sasha
and never to be forgotten, Shiloh, Shoshi and Eli
Every dog deserves to have a human that thinks its the greatest dog that ever lived!
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356718
01/24/22 03:58 PM
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Rosa,

The meds aren't in yet or the vet failed to tell me they were so we are waiting for that to happen. I will call them today to ask about them.

I do use a prong collar when we go for walks. It is a requirement for her as well.

Muzzle training is going well though! I am surprised at how well it fits her perfectly!


Bev~mom to:

Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356725
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One more thing to add to my list of why I am doing this, and it is pretty big.

If I ever needed emergency services to enter my home, I doubt they could do it with Gypsy here. I don't know anyone who can walk into my house without her being crated first. If I had a stroke or something similar, I may not be capable of crating her. She is crate trained, and I can tell her to go to bed and she will, but she would not stay there if someone entered the house without her being physically locked in there. so this brings me to another thing I can teach her along the way, but in reality, she HAS to accept people in general for it to work. Right now, the moment she hears a strange voice in the house she would appear, and it would seem to a stranger that she is very threatening. Being in a rural town, animal control isn't necessarily nearby to be called in.


Bev~mom to:

Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356728
01/27/22 03:56 AM
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Bev, I can relate to exactly what you're going through. I have the same concerns. When I heard Nancy was moving I really lost it. She's the only person I know that can walk in this house with both dogs. I thought of every one I knew around here and no one else flips that bill. I'm lucky. Nancy has assured me she will always be here for my pups and will only be a few hours away.

My plan, and it's worked so far, is to get myself outside in the event of an emergency with the pups inside. I know this isn't always possible but it's the best I can do.

I'm glad she's responding well to the muzzle. Baby steps. I've seen videos of GP and she adores you. You've clearly done a great job with her. There are always areas for improvement.


Rosa

Proud Mom to Kody and Sasha
and never to be forgotten, Shiloh, Shoshi and Eli
Every dog deserves to have a human that thinks its the greatest dog that ever lived!
Re: Fear aggression and long term meds [Re: Zisso] #356731
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Thank you Rosa!

That's an excellent idea-to get oneself outside! Something I had not thought of obviously.

You are truly lucky to have someone who can walk in with the pups. I never worried about it until GB. I just know that it would be terrifying for someone to try with her attitude. Fear aggression is scary and dangerous.

Still no call for the meds. I think the vet had to order and didn't get it ordered in time for the next day delivery. Crossing fingers they come in soon. Meanwhile we work on the muzzle. I can now slip it on without too much fuss.

We have also taken a couple walks again- later in the afternoon when it warms up to at least 30. I won't go if it is colder. My old bones don't like it too cold. LOL


Bev~mom to:

Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
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Caleb Moose - Run Free
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by DarkEyes. 05/02/22 03:02 AM
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I'm devastated
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Rosa's Hello old Friends, continued part 2
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