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Author Topic: Got Him Fixed, Now What?  (Read 8853 times)
marypr2
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« on: September 17, 2007, 01:49:29 PM »

Hi-
My husband and I took the plunge and got our 7 year old Alaskan Malamute "fixed" about 10 days ago.  This dog has only been with our family for 2 and a half months and we have been trying to cure various problems as we go.  He has been prone to howling and whining, and escaping, and that is why we got him fixed.

Unfortunately, things seem to have gone from bad to worse.  His howling, etc. goes on all day long.  When we spend time with him one on one, it doesn't seem to satiate him.  He also has been much more agitated to the point that it is hard to calm him down before we feed him or give him a treat. 

My question now is, have any of you ever seen this kind of thing happen when a dog gets fixed?  Could it be that the hormone changes are causing him to be uneasy or unstable?  He has developed some kind of rash near his penis that we will be taking him to the vet today to look at.  He may have gotten into something on one of his escapes last week that gave him the rash.  It's also in the area that was shaved for his procedure, so it may be a rash that most of these dogs don't usually get for the hair, but the hair is right now gone.  The area where the rash is seems sensitive to the touch.

Any insight would be appreciated.  I think he feels bad, but can't figure out what to do for him.  My husband is again talking about "getting rid of him" which really breaks my heart.  I feel like we haven't given him a fair trial yet, and the "fixing" of him may not yet have run its course.

Thanks,
Mary   
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Scootergirl
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2007, 02:42:05 PM »

I agree. Depending on how long ago you got him fixed, it is possible the hormones have not declined yet. I have found (from years of rescuing and having older dogs neutered) that it takes up to two months for the normal hormonal behaviors like marking and territorial behaviors to decrease.

Notice I said "decrease", not disappear. At 7 years old, most of these behaviors are just that, "behaviors" that need to be trained out as well. If he is used to marking, he may continue to mark unless you teach him that is not appropriate. The howling, etc. is the same. The good news is you have eliminated the biological stimulant so you are half way there, but you will have to invest some time into behavioral modification.

Also, kudos for neutering him - you may have extended his life. Unneutered dogs past five years old are much more highly susceptible to testicular cancer and other diseases. With a little work, you will soon have a happy, healthy, well-adjusted companion. Good luck! Let us know if you need any more help.
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"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between dog and man." -- Mark Twain
marypr2
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2007, 03:00:45 PM »

Hi-
We have not done obedience training with him mostly for lack of time.  All of this has happened so quickly (including our adoption of him) that we haven't had a moment to plan. 

I will say that when we first got him, he seemed to be really pretty well behaved, and responded well to "sit", "down", and "back".  My daughter is even able to hold the leash to walk him.  She is also 7 years old, and he is far more powerful than she, but he behaves fairly well.  I take over the leash as need be if there is another dog around, or cars are passing, etc.  My daugther has pretty much gotten him to quit stopping frequently too, as she just keeps on walking when he stops, and he eventually comes along.  We have not tried to do anything to train out the howling, but I would say we haven't a clue how to do that anyway.  Owing to the fact that he was responsive to commands that we gave him, it didn't occur to us that we needed to do training. 

I am kind of wondering too if the dog could be agitated right now because my husband is kind of "over it".  He returned from a week-long trip and had to repair a fence that was wrecked by our Houdini dog.  Maybe he is giving the dog really bad vibes.  The dog's recent (really bad) agitation seems to have happened since my husband came home.  I could be coincidence, but maybe not.  Unfortunately, the agitation exists when my daughter and I approach him too, which makes my daughter in particular not want to deal with him either.  If he won't sit for her or calm down when she wants to give him a treat, she will just drop it and leave. 

Anyway, this feels a lot like it is spiraling out of control.  If indeed the dog is responding emotionally to some bad vibes, then we need to fix the vibes, which won't be very easy, at least not with this husband. 

Thanks for your response.

Mary 
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marypr2
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2007, 03:03:29 PM »

Hi-
It has only been 10 days since he got fixed, and the vet told us not to expect any real change for at least a month.  So, you are right on target with your remark.  The recent agitation though is moving in the wrong direction, and that's what concerns me.

Thanks for your response. I'm just frustrated.

Mary 
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marypr2
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2007, 03:41:24 PM »

Hi-
Did the blotchiness look kind of like psoriasis?

I haven't caught Kuma licking his wound at all.  I was given one of those collars just in case he chewed on it or licked it, but I haven't had to use it.  And this rash thing developed just this weekend...the surgery was a good week before that.

He seems a little better today, so maybe all of this was for naught.  I gave him a pig ear about an hour ago, and he responded appropriately with sitting and staying before I gave it to him.  He's still moaning and groaning some, but not as badly as early this morning.

Thanks for your response,
Mary
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navarre1316
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2007, 04:09:01 PM »

I know you haven't had him for long, but at least with what's happened this week, could it be that he just doesn't feel good??  Does he moan and groan when he lays down and gets up?  He is an elder man after all!!  I would just second everything that's been said so far, especially when jacksmom said to tell your daughter not to drop the treat!!  I know it's hard with older dogs to have patience, it seems you know you're going to need them with younger ones but for some reason we think older dogs will already be through everything!!!  Do you know any of his background?  I've had Daphne for about a year and a half and she's still changing, she's 6 or 7 too.  Good luck with everything!!
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God placed me on this earth to accomplish certain tasks...I'm so far behind I'll never die!!

Navarre: GSD 9/13/99-5/14/06 patiently waiting
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marypr2
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2007, 04:25:54 PM »

Hi Daphne-
We got Kuma as a result of a family member being unable to keep him.  They fell on hard financial circumstances and had to move, and he could not go with them. From what I understand, the dog stayed in their back yard all the time, except at night when he was in the garage.  I don't think he was walked very much, but he had three kids around him, so I am sure they loved on him when they were with him.

I have been told by others in the family that he seems happier than he did while he was with my sister in law's family, and that he looks healthier.  We do try very hard to get those daily walks in.  It's good for all of us.

Other than that, my sister in law said he would howl a lot when there was a full moon.  She didn't say it was a constant thing.  Perhaps he misses his previous family more than we think, or my sister in law is not telling me everything.  Who knows?

I do not think my sister in law's family abused him.  However, they had rescued him from someone who kept him on a chain all the time.  Abuse was suspected with his original owner, but I don't know the extent of it.

Yeah, I agree he might just not feel good, but I haven't a clue what is wrong.  He is still on antibiotics from getting neutered, and perhaps he is not reacting well to that.  He was prescribed two week's worth of those things.  I havne't noticed if he moans and groans when he gets up, but he certainly doesn't yelp like he is in really bad pain or anything.

Thanks,
Mary
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marypr2
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2007, 04:27:55 PM »

Sorry, navarre1316, that last post was for you.  Who is Daphne?  My brain is somewhere else.
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bigdogs@5501
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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2007, 11:07:31 PM »

I see several issues. He is in a new enviroment, he is a much older dog (7) his routine has changed drastically, he has been neutered and he is probably confused. Toss in the vibes that he is picking up from the family and that he is a Malamute. Malamutes are dogs who need a lot of exercise and attention and from my experience if bored, like a Pyr, they will just up and leave. I have changed my perspective in life over the past 3 years with my dogs, I only use positive re-enforcement and lots of attention. I have found that everyone of my dogs will respond quicker and with better results when I am showering them with love and attention. This is also in conjunction with the training. Maybe try loving on him more- giving him some playtime and a little bit of time to get past being neutered and for the hormones to level and hopefully he will be a good dog. I hope that he is not going to have to go to a new home so quickly, remember at 7 this is going to be extremely hard on him.
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mountaindogmom
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2007, 12:32:23 PM »

As for the barking and howling these are often symptoms of boredom.  Malamutes are high energy dogs and NEED regular exercise and a JOB.  Once he's all healed from his neuter and rash.  Try walking him every day with a back pack.  First start with an empty pack until he gets used to it and then gradually add some weight such as cans or water bottles.  This makes working breeds feel like they have a job and provides mental stimulation in addition to physical.  Also you can try some treat balls and mentally stimulating toys.  Obedience training is also a MUST, as it will be a bonding experience for all the family members involved and will help him build self confidence and learn to trust you.  Just remember that if a dog doesn't have an appropriate outlet (just like a child) for their energy then they will express that energy in an inappropriate way, such as by running away, howling, barking, destroying things, etc.  You have to point him in the right direction and give him a chance to follow your lead.
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marypr2
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2007, 01:38:45 PM »

Hi All-
Just to let you know, things were much improved yesterday, after we got thorugh the morning.  Kuma was calm for most of the day, and he got to have a good walk with daddy at night, and then spent some quality time with dad later watching TV.

Part of our dilemma is that we haven't found anything Kuma enjoys doing, except going for walks.  He won't play fetch and he will only run with us in the yard for a little while.  He also won't do much with chew toys like a Kong....I bought him one, tried it with peanut butter and other treats, and he didn't find it fascinating at all (the ants did though).  We have given him various bones and rawhides that he has dug holes and hidden, so he doesn't do much with them either.  He WILL focus on pigs ears though.  Loves them.

Perhaps a back-pack would make sense for him.  I entertained the thought of figuring out how to train him to pull a wagon or something with kids in it, but I haven't gotten very far with that.  We'd  have to be very careful so that no one got hurt.  We also don't have a harness for him yet, and that is a must if we want him to do any of this stuff short of a back pack.

Thanks for all your pearls of wisdom.  He was supposed to see the vet yesterday for suture removal and to have the rash looked at, but just our luck the vet went home sick with pregnancy-related illness.  We hope to get him in today.

We are having glorious weather here (in Atlanta, Georgia).  That may be lifting the dog's spirits some, too.

Have a great day 
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marypr2
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2007, 07:11:50 PM »

Hi-
As a followup, the vet said that the rash he has is something bacterial, and he provided another round of antibiotics.  Since my DH took in Kuma, I couldn't find out any details about the infection.

The vet said it COULD be he was indeed feeling badly and the infection was especially itchy the first few days, and thus the moaning and groaning.  I don't really get that, since the rash looks the same today as it did on Sunday night.

Anyway, his sutures came out fine, and to my relief all of his escapes of last week didn't undo the surgery.

Thanks everybody for your help.

Mary 
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mountaindogmom
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2007, 08:35:07 PM »


Perhaps a back-pack would make sense for him.  I entertained the thought of figuring out how to train him to pull a wagon or something with kids in it, but I haven't gotten very far with that.  We'd  have to be very careful so that no one got hurt.  We also don't have a harness for him yet, and that is a must if we want him to do any of this stuff short of a back pack.
 

Just a tip for a good back pack at a GREAT price.  Here's the link for the ones that we have... you won't find a better price anywhere - we love this site!  He would probably need a large.

http://www.dog.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=320259%20SM

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Greta - Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (DOB 5-20-06)
Jack - Great Pyrenees (DOB 12-26-06)
& Three Kitties - Zoie, Bella & Nessie!
marypr2
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2007, 09:02:35 PM »

Oh wow!  thank you.  My Kuma is 85 pounds, though I don't know his measurements.  According to the charts, that would mean an XL....do you think that an XL would be too big for my dog for some reason?

Thanks again,
Mary
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mountaindogmom
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2007, 10:30:00 PM »

Well our Swissy weighs 100 lbs and the large fits her great and still has room to grow.  Our Pyr weighs 92 but is already more broad then her and so we got him the XL but we have to tighten it all the way for it to fit him.  My sister has two great danes (130 and 170 lbs) and they both wear the XL.  So I think the size chart is a little off!
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Greta - Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (DOB 5-20-06)
Jack - Great Pyrenees (DOB 12-26-06)
& Three Kitties - Zoie, Bella & Nessie!
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