Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

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Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby Calypso » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:44 am

I have noticed when Havana's neuro issues flare up and/or she's in need of a chiro adjustment she is more irritable. Which totally makes sense. She also goes into full Cousteau mode and will look at me and then choose to not do what I've asked her to do. Some of this might be structural - I think she truly tried to sit, but she just physically couldn't at that moment. And I understand that, too. But it's the other things. Like she's supposed to be the neutral dog in a class I assist with and I tell her "Leave it! Let's go!" and start to walk on and she looks up at me, then makes a bee-line for the other dog, even with food in her face to help her remember. Or she'll just let out repeated little "boofs" when she hears something that annoys her. It's not her alert bark, it's more of a quiet "shut up" that she repeats over and over at increasingly shorter intervals. So she might hear something "boof", a minute or two later she still hears it and does it again, then every minute or so, etc. I can't even hear what she's barking at half the time. But to be persistent about boofing at 3:00am is not ok. Pixel wasn't barking, so whatever she heard was extremely minor.

Her neuro episodes are becoming more frequent and easier to trigger. I know this means she doesn't get the exercise she's used to doing, either. Now she can't do 4-6 inch baby jumps at flyball (no box), but she can't leap through the snow, either. :frown: I'm trying to engage her brain more, but after playing a fun game of Go to Mat which she enjoyed, she was as bad as ever. I'm going to enter her in a rally trial, but I'm concerned about her physical limitations. I don't have the schedule or money to get her into a class and I'm bad about staying committed to working on stuff at home - and it's -2F, so we're not doing outside training.

Someone wave a magic wand and fix it! Barring that, any ideas? I'm very frustrated with her right now and I know that's also blocking my creative problem solving.

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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby LisaT_II » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:46 pm

This sounds more like a medical issue than a training one, since the behaviour is medically induced. I'm not familiar with the type of neuro issues that you are dealing with, but I would look at how to help those flairs, and also betting that between the flairs there is low-level discomfort.
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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby Calypso » Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:26 am

It's tricky. The pain definitely escalates things, but she stole a granola bar from the 5 year old - with dark chocolate chunks, of course. I went to take the bar from her mouth, as I've done dozens of times, and she clamped down and would *not* let me get close. This could be due to the fact that she thought it was high value, but I've taken meat from her without this kind of problem.

Scheduling acupuncture/chiro appointment. I still have some room left on my credit card... The vet is on vacation until Friday, so getting in will be a good trick. :(

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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby UpwardDog » Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:14 pm

How old is she now? What is the "neuro issue" ?
I seem to recall she had an issue with her neck, but I don't remember beyond that. Does she have any kind of rehab program? With her physical/medical issues, I wouldn't choose to do heeling or flyball--both hard on the neck and body, creating muscle imbalances etc As for the leave its etc, I would retrain them and make sure it's reinforcing for her.
Sam 's hearing is decreasing and he's doing things like woofing to go out at 2am to just stand on the deck and sniff the air. He's also strangely over-reative to ceratin sounds like another dog coughing. he'll literally jump up and run to the door. I wish they could tell us what's going on.
I did a Bobbie Lyons seminar on the w/e and am going to try to do use what i learned to keep the old dogs muscles fit (ish) and balanced and keep them limber.

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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby MaisyPancakes » Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:18 pm

I think she might be uncomfortable, too. It's hard to see them owie—I'm sorry. :( I don't recall—what does she get for pain? MP recently started gabapentin. I seem to recall you had a rehab vet you liked. Now that I know how on-going rehab is and how important rechecks are, I would maybe put my money towards a recheck rather than activity/competition. (I also agree that heeling type of activity is really hard on the neck/natural gait.) Have you noticed any muscle loss at all?

Just curious—when you say she was "as bad as ever" after the mat games, what do you mean?

It might be different for Vani, but with chronic discomfort/pain (and probably just straight up getting older), I basically just assume that everything is accentuated—that the shit that sucks is less tolerable, and desirable things are more wanted by 35% or more at all times. Or, they're about 35% less inhibited about their needs and wants. Super arbitrary math, but I am guessing that's about how I'd feel about things when I'm MP's age...probably much worse. ;) I also feel like all these changes occur more quickly than we are usually equipped to notice and have it sink in/adjust to new normals.

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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby Calypso » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:57 am

I wasn't thinking about the heeling exercises not being a good match for the neck thing. Darn it! I guess I can save on those entry fees. :P

The neck/spine issue is our unconfirmed belief that she has Inter-Vertebral Disc Disease - something is going on with a disc in her mid-upper spine. (By "our" I mean the veterinary teaching hospital neuro specialist, the vet-chiro, and the rehab vet who all agree it's highly likely.) She's not dragging her foot consistently like she was before her bedrest, but I'm guessing that just means I need to intervene sooner. The soonest I could get her in to the chiro/acupuncture is a week from Monday. So now I have to Havana-proof my house and my friend's house so she can't get up on the couches or chairs. It's tough because she's a sneaky, smart girl. She'll be 10 in April, so she's physically about the same age as my parents. I can try thinking of her like that. Of course, then I have to acknowledge my parents are older and not able to do everything and I'm not ready to admit to that, either!

Going back to basics with training to make it the most fun ever is a good plan. And a useful indoor activity for all the kids who want to work with her. And I'll dig out the paper with her rehab exercises on it. She hates them so much that I backed off once she was better, but I need to get super delicious treats and get back to it.

As far as being as "bad as ever", she went back to doing all of the things that were naughty and/or annoying me. Usually after a walk or a training session both she and Pixel can just chill for a bit. Not this weekend. Pixel did, but not her. But I also have to remember she's had as many changes as I have this past year, without being able to understand what's going on. Well, I didn't understand what was going on for the first half of the year, either, but she didn't have the clarifying experiences I did!

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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby UpwardDog » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:22 am

I would consider taking a spectator spot in this class and working the exercises:http://classroom.daisypeel.com/courses/k9xtraining/

or using the files in the FB group canine conditioning. It's all stuff you can train as easy tricks and don't need any special equipment (ie you can use couch cushions instead of a fitbone etc)

Doing those those has really highlighted for me how weak R & S are compared to their youth and compared to Will and also how much the DON'T use their rear ends anymore. I'm just starting to design and put in place a program for R & S- just easy, gentle stuff.

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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby Calypso » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:25 am

Thanks for the class suggestion - I'm going to look into it. And I hadn't thought of couch cushions instead of a fit bone. That's totally in my budget right now! And we have cavalettis at flyball, so instead of doing recalls on the flat, we can work on going slowly over the cavalettis, which is something the rehab vet suggested. I made my own set, but I have no idea where they are.

Yesterday she was AWFUL. We visited with my friend, her favorite person ever, and she could not settle. She was aimlessly circling around like a shark and obsessively trying to get into a clean litter box. Even when my friend used his stern voice, something that usually makes her stop instantly and find something else to do, she'd look up at him and walk away a few steps and then she was right back there. He commented he's never seen her like this, either. She didn't have as much interest in him as usual. So hopefully the chiro vet will see something because this is weird. And 9 is way too young for any type of dementia. I decree it.

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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby MaisyPancakes » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:37 am

I hope she was just having a weird day! A lot of humans around me had HORRIBLE days yesterday, so I figured it's one of those days.

Maybe Vani is supposed to do higher cavaletti, but my rehab told me to use a bunch of broom sticks for one exercise, too. :)

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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby Calypso » Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:05 am

If I can find my PVC stash - and get to it! - she can definitely do those at home. I don't have as much space in this house as my last, so I'll have to be creative. And pick crap up off the floor.

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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby UpwardDog » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:23 am

Looking at my notes from the seminar, some stuff you can do with limited space and basically no equipment:

she is big on warming up muscles first so at least a couple of minutes of brisk trotting

tight circles
weaving through legs
backing up (taught using rear foot targeting)- trying for several steps in a row


Folding down from stand with NO foot movement (rear end and core)
Stand from down with no foot movement
tuck sit
kickback stand

stand stays while you walk around - gets them to move their necks to watch you
down with head on the ground between their paws -neck/shoulders

perch work /pivots- all the way around both directions

crawling--many crawls in a row , not 2 crawls, pause (can use cavaletti to go under)

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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby Sabine » Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:47 pm

If it is IVDD, you might want to check out this site:
http://www.dodgerslist.com/

They are focused on Dachshunds because the breed is so predisposed, but it's a resource for all breeds, really.
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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby LisaT_II » Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:11 pm

If it is IVDD, you might want to check out this site:
http://www.dodgerslist.com/

They are focused on Dachshunds because the breed is so predisposed, but it's a resource for all breeds, really.
Definitely a great resource, and people that can help address the medical side of this issue.
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Re: Behavior with chronic pain/discomfort

Postby Calypso » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:08 am

I've got Havana back on the high end of the dosage for her supplements - Myocalm and Microlactin. (Or something like that.) She is more playful today, but then again she was also crated all weekend because of flyball. I'm going to wait until her acupuncture next Monday before deciding if we should go back to strict crate rest. It was just nice to see her be goofy this morning. She hasn't been for too long I realized.


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