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  1. How do I cheer up my depressed dog?

    This is Rambo:


    She's about 2 years old, and if she were a person, I'd say she is clinically depressed. We have another dog (will be going to another home very soon) that she use to love to play with, then one day the other dog started attacking her. Ever since then we have had to keep them seperated and Rambo is scared of everything, including her own shadow and going outside.

    I try to take the dog for a walk, she freaks out when a car drives by I try to put the dog outside to pee, I end up having to drag her out because she doesn't want to go. If someone comes in the house, she runs into her crate and won't come out, she chooses to spend 80% of the day in her crate. She is great arond our 1 year old baby, very gentle and gives her kisses. She has never showed agression AT ALL, heck she's a huge pitbull and she let a little 50lbs mutt beat her up.

    What do I do to get her to come out of her shell and stop beign so afraid? It wouldn't bother me that much, but a few weeks ago I was home alone with the baby in the evening (my husband works nights) and I heard a crash in the bedroom. I freaked out, I thought someone was trying to break in the window. I went over to the dog crate and tried to get Rambo to come out into the living room with us and she would not come out of the crate LITTLE BRAT!! I was freaking scared and the dog was even more scared than me! I just stayed in the kitchen and called my husband to come home, then the dog finally came out, stepped one foot in the livingroom then freaked out and ran back in the crate Of course that made me more scared, thank got it turned out to be a lamp that fell over and not a robber or a rapeist! I need a dog that will make me feel safe.

    Any ideas on what to do with this dog? She is starting to get really portly looking from just laying around in the house all day, I feel like I have an emo teenager living in the kitchen.

    -Kaela

  2. #2
    Did she grow up with the other dog? Its possible that she hasn't learned to function on her own without the guidance of her buddy. She may just need a very gentle approach, and need to be re-introduced to the world around her in a positive way. Like going out with lots of treats and getting quiet, friendly folk to feed them to her. (I know that will not help her weight issue, but I think the temperament issue is more important right now.)

    Of course, she could also have a medical issue that is causing these problems. How long has this been going on? Has she been seen by the vet since it started? I've heard that thyroid irregularities (which can also cause weight gain) can potentially cause temperament changes. I'd have the vet check her over, if you haven't yet.

    Good luck to both of you. Keep us updated.

  3. Quote Originally Posted by bahamutt99 View Post
    Did she grow up with the other dog? Its possible that she hasn't learned to function on her own without the guidance of her buddy. She may just need a very gentle approach, and need to be re-introduced to the world around her in a positive way. Like going out with lots of treats and getting quiet, friendly folk to feed them to her. (I know that will not help her weight issue, but I think the temperament issue is more important right now.)

    Of course, she could also have a medical issue that is causing these problems. How long has this been going on? Has she been seen by the vet since it started? I've heard that thyroid irregularities (which can also cause weight gain) can potentially cause temperament changes. I'd have the vet check her over, if you haven't yet.

    Good luck to both of you. Keep us updated.
    Yes she was raised with the other dog since she was a tiny puppy, I guess she could be lonley now that they are seperated?

    This has been going on for close to a year now, but slowly gotten worse and worse and now it's to the point that she is almost lethargic. I think I will schedual a vet appointment for her, she hasn't been seen since she got fiexd at 9 months old, which is also around the time that the other dog started attacking her.

  4. Did the dog's behavior start right after the other dog attacked?

  5. #5
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    I hope others can offer more specific help.

    I wonder if the dog is sensing you frustration with her though, and if that is not making it worse? From your original post itt sounds like you are pretty fed up with her, and if she knows that, it is probably making her feel 10 times worse.

  6. #6
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    I'll address this the same way I would if someone were to ask me this in a clinical setting.

    If this were my dog, the kennel would be no more. It's apparent that its her safe spot. Ultimately, you want her safe spot to be with something else. Since she is afraid of dogs...and unless you want to get a puppy and try raising them together...your next best choice is YOU. YOU are a safe choice because you know what is best for her and can curb your behavior. You can't predict what a dog will do, even if its a puppy that grows up with her. She needs a rock right now, something she can trust and lean on. I understand the commitment to a new baby...and getting her to let go of the crate and be more attached to you is ideal. So, it'll probably take some time. Give her the chance to warm up to you again...lots of love, lots of treats and be patient. While she may be a big girl...her feelers are hurt! . On a more serious note, sometimes dogs just don't recover after fights. I've seen a very well socialized dog become DA (and then HA) after being introduced to new dogs. Before being attacked, he would romp and play with ANY dog. Sometimes their mentality changes and there is little we can do for them. We just have to be supportive of their natural ways of protecting themselves (baring that it's safe and does not involve aggression). Rambo seems like a sugar bear, so I sure hope she pulls out of it.

    You might ask your veterinarian about "doggy prozac". They're doing trial runs on a new medications right now because we're (vets/vet techs) seeing a large amount of depressed animals. I don't know anything that has come out that is available as of yet, and all medications will have to be rx'd, but you might be able to get into a study.

    Hope things get better for you and Rambo :)

    Sami

    P.S. If she is less active, cut her food back. If you guys figure out something that will help her to become more bright, alert and active...you don't want to fight obesity on top of that. Obese animals=slow. Try not to put another brick into the load she's already carrying.

  7. #7
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    Good points in the above post. I agree, i'd limit her time allowed in her crate, as I agree, that her crate is what she deems to be safe and is the reason why she continously runs to it=for comfort and protection, which is actually hindering her, instead of helping her. If that were me, i'd set up an area in the same room that you frequent most and encourage her to join you there as much as possible. Put some of her favorite things there and let her learn to $#@!ociate that particular are with positive things=a pat, some treats, attention, etc, so she learns to willingly go there, and NOT have to be lured there.
    My second pitbull was NEVER the same around dogs after she was bitten by a very large German Shepard at 6 months of age. She developed very serious DA issues and could never be trusted around any other dog after that. Your dog has changed, as well, but, imo, in a differnt way:out of fear, and my feeling is: fear issues are the trickiest to treat because they are SO very unpredictable, and dealing with this first hand on a day to day basis, fear issue dogs actually scare me the most, due to them being so very unpredictable. Anti depressants do help in cases such as this, taking into consideration that ALL medical issues have been ruled out and your dog has been detirmined to be healthy by a qualified vet. IF cleared, then, especially since it's been SO ongoing, i would ask your vet about some drug therapy, and /or, inquire about a dog behavoirist=NOT a trainer, to help you all get thru this. I DO believe that dogs can suffer form depression, but the longer you wait, the more troublesome the problem will become, and will be harder to help treat. Also, just a thought:
    I, if I were you, would try taking her out to a place where PUPS might frequent, just to see how she does around young dogs, and if she doesn't totally freak, then, IF ok, try to SLOWLY introduce her to larger, nondominant dogs and monitor her behavior. She basically needs to learn to trust again, and you HAVE to help her do that. Start at home, and slowly branch out. Seek the help of qualified professionals and take their advice, and agreed, in the mean time if her exercize is less, then cut back on her food, or switch to a less active (L/A) formula if you feel it necessary=goint point, Pitrottmommy.
    Best of luck, i feel for yah!

  8. #8
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    oh that just breaks my heart!
    this is the first post that i have written to and it just happens my dog is also named rambo and looks like yours!!
    wow! but anyway- i wish i had some good help for you
    except to spend xtra rime with him
    and maybe he was just used to being the 'alpha? dog
    and now with this one he is afraid of loosing your attention
    and his position?
    i dont know, but i sure hope he will be ok soon.
    i will keep reading about him and hope he will be alright.

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