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Discussion Starter #1
I'm so sorry this got long...I'm a bit distressed right now.

As many of you know, Alvin and I moved out of my parents' house three weeks ago today. Initially, Alvin was rather fearful in the house. He didn't like the floors and had trouble getting around. In the intervening weeks his fear has improved in some ways and, I think, greatly worsened in others.

The improvement is that he will now walk on the floors in the house. He physically moves with confidence. Also, he treats the front yard like his own, seeming to feel very comfortable there.

Otherwise, his behavior is getting more and more weird.

He whines almost constantly. He has never done this before. Now there are only three times he does NOT whine: 1) When we are on a walk, 2) When I am in physical contact with him, and 3) When I have been sitting doing a quiet activity for a prolonged period of time.

He seems to enjoy his walks, to a certain extent. He starts out well, trotting merrily away from the house. But it doesn't matter how long or short the walk, as soon as we turn around to come back, I practically have to drag him. Now, this could be because his leg pains him...although you would think a shorter walk would mean less pain, but even if we only go down to the corner, he straggles several steps behind me on the way home. The moment we walk through the door and I take off his leash, he's whining again.

If I get down on the floor to pet him or Furminate him, he stops whining. In addition, if I am watching tv on the couch, grading papers at the table, or using the computer at the desk, he'll settle down next to me fairly peacefully. But the second I get up, he's on the alert and whining again. It doesn't matter what I get up to do...make myself dinner, vacuum the floor, go the bathroom, unpack a box...he's watching/following me and whining.

The more active I am, the more stressed he seems to be. Last night my parents were over. My dad was doing some handyman jobs for me and my mom was helping me put together a bed I just bought. All of us were paying attention to him as we worked. He had been walked. He had been fed. Nothing particularly loud or scary was happening. But he wouldn't settle down. He paced around the house until I got irritated enough to make him lie on his bed. Then he laid there and panted as though he'd been on a run. The next time I went over to visit with him, I realized he'd been drooling in a big puddle on the floor.

There are some toys he simply won't play with anymore. He won't play soccer with his ball and he won't chew anything that isn't a bully stick. At the old house I would sit on the floor and pet him while he chewed his Nylabone or antler, but he won't do it anymore, even if I'm down there with him, holding the chew.

I can give him pain meds for his leg and his behavior doesn't change. He's eating, drinking, and eliminating normally. He's getting the same amount (if not slightly more) exercise than he was at my parents'. When I am home, I make very sure to pay extra attention to him.

The whining, the drooling, the shadowing, and the heavy breathing all seem like an anxiety thing to me. Does that sound right? If it is anxiety, shouldn't it be getting BETTER, not WORSE, after three weeks?

If I had no other options, I would work him through it...stick it out until he was okay. But he's an older dog and has never been very adaptable. Back at my parents' house I moved his bed once because it's location was becoming inconvenient. For a couple weeks he would lay on the bare floor in the old location of his bed, rather than on the bed in its new location! I don't want to torture him with this move and this new house just because I want him to live with me. He could easily go back to his old house and live with my parents. Would this be better?

ACK!
 

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Sounds like anxiety to me. My first suggestion would be to try something mild to help quell his anxiety. Maybe something herbal? I know I'd rather start with something safe and mild before trying anything drastic, like sending him to your parents or putting him on meds. This is a list of stuff that can be used for different fear/anxiety symptoms:

http://fearfuldogs.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/flower-essences-for-fear/

I'd suggest toys stuffed with really good stuff, like yogurt and peanut butter, but it doesn't sound like he'll be interested.

Maybe a call to the vet is in order?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
He unfortunately was never into food-stuffed toys...he'll eat his dinner from the Buster Cube, but he's too lazy for, say, a Kong. He'll lick the easy stuff off the outside and then leave it to rot on the floor, lol.

We were just at the vet last week, but she was focusing on his skin infection, which is the reason we were there. She did look at the CCL and say it seemed pretty strong, but it didn't occur to me to ask about the behavioral stuff because it wasn't as bad then as it is now, just a week later.

Maybe I can just call the vet and explain and see if she thinks he should come back in. I hate to haul him around for nothing, especially when he's already all weirded out.
 

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Yeah, you might not even need a visit, but when my dog has any behavioral changes, even if I think I know the cause, I like to keep the vet informed.
 

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Honestly, just give him as much time as needed. Dogs don't generalize well, so a new place can be very unsettling to a dog. Rowdy took almost two months to adjust to our new place - he wouldn't go in his crate, walked around whining, barked at every little noise, wouldn't play - pretty much everything you described was how Rowdy acted.
Time is really what it takes...setting up a routine is crucial, don't feed too much into his antics or try too hard to get him to settle down, he'll eventually get it. Just go about your business like everything is just fine. Don't worry, one day he'll start acting like he's lived there all along.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm inspired to go to Whole Foods and pick up some Rescue Remedy. I used it on Clifford a couple times...don't know why it didn't occur to me to try it on Alvin. I think I have a DAP diffuser somewhere, too. Not such a big fan of that, though. Smells very musky to me. Not a pleasant scent with which to fill the house.

I'm glad to hear you had a similar experience, BMI, and that Rowdy settled in. I guess I'm just wondering a little what the purpose of getting him to settle in is. I mean, obviously I want him here with me because I consider him to be my dog. But in reality, he was owned by three people at another house. If it were my only option, I would work with him until he was okay. But I'm left wondering how much stress is really necessary to put him through. Is it my place to tell him he'd better get used to the new house when his old house and two of his owners are ten minutes away?

I don't want anyone to think I'm wanting to give him up or that I'm unwilling to wait for him to adjust...it just pains me to watch him be upset when I might be able to fix it by just taking him "home."

Maybe I'm feeling a little guilty, too. He was used to having my mom home most of the day. During the week, I'm gone about four hours in the morning, home for an hour at lunch, and gone another four hours in the afternoon. Obviously he can live this way, but I'm worried that he's feeling very lonely in a new place.
 

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I'm inspired to go to Whole Foods and pick up some Rescue Remedy. I used it on Clifford a couple times...don't know why it didn't occur to me to try it on Alvin. I think I have a DAP diffuser somewhere, too. Not such a big fan of that, though. Smells very musky to me. Not a pleasant scent with which to fill the house.

I'm glad to hear you had a similar experience, BMI, and that Rowdy settled in. I guess I'm just wondering a little what the purpose of getting him to settle in is. I mean, obviously I want him here with me because I consider him to be my dog. But in reality, he was owned by three people at another house. If it were my only option, I would work with him until he was okay. But I'm left wondering how much stress is really necessary to put him through. Is it my place to tell him he'd better get used to the new house when his old house and two of his owners are ten minutes away?

I don't want anyone to think I'm wanting to give him up or that I'm unwilling to wait for him to adjust...it just pains me to watch him be upset when I might be able to fix it by just taking him "home."

Maybe I'm feeling a little guilty, too. He was used to having my mom home most of the day. During the week, I'm gone about four hours in the morning, home for an hour at lunch, and gone another four hours in the afternoon. Obviously he can live this way, but I'm worried that he's feeling very lonely in a new place.
I can't blame you for feeling guilty, I sure did. But you can't let it get to you. Dogs are very resilient, he'll be back to normal in no time. Rowdy went from a household of 3 other people and another dog, to just him and I. I can only imagine what a shock that would be to a dog. And there's not a doubt in my mind that the change in household didn't leave him a little lonely at first. But that's all the more reason to try and fill the gap with other things, extra walks, some extra training and setting up a routine. I don't think his behavior is anywhere out of the ordinary given the situation...I wouldn't waste your money on drugs and such.
Just do your part and give him time and let him work through it. He'll adjust. I promise.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
No, no drugs. Not worth it. If the anxiety were so bad that I thought he needed actual meds, I'd just take him back to my parents. It's one thing to make him whine a little, it's an entirely different thing to drug him up in an effort to get him to "adjust."

I did pick up a couple of the Bach remedies, though. Bonus...I can use them for myself! I will be interested to see how they work. They didn't work at all on Clifford, but I know people who swear by them, both for themselves and for their pets.

Right now, he's in the yard chewing on a frozen lamb bone. It's hard to find something to occupy him because he's gimpy. I can't walk him too far, too long, or too fast, as it results in total lameness and excessive pain for days afterwards. I can't do too many repetitions of "sit" and "down" or too many rounds of fetch for the same reason. But the bone is definitely keeping busy.
 

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Poor thing. Forgot about his leg. I see lots of meaty bones in his future. Those are always a plus.
 

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Definitely sounds like anxiety. He's calm when you're sitting, when he can touch you and know you're not going anywhere. Other than the new place, the amount of time he's now left alone is the biggest variance to his old routine. He might be associating the house with being alone so any time it looks like you might be leaving (e.g. when you get home from a walk), he stresses. The whining, the excessive drool, the lack of interest in things are all classic signs of anxiety.

Could you drop him at your parents for the day where he would be more comfortable? Or is there any way your mom could help him through the transition by spending a little time with him at your place each day for a while? Her coming and going might help ease him into the new place.

So it comes down to whether you think he will adjust. If he won't or you think it will not be worth the stress it puts him through, letting him live at your parents seems like the best thing to do. A hard choice to make, but if you're asking the question, you obviously have his best interests at heart and will do whatever you think is best for him.

Poor guy. Changes in routine can be so hard on animals. Looking back, our move cross country last year was harder on our girl than I thought at the time. But she has finally adjusted and is doing well. Took a couple of months and the right combination of a good daycare, good vet care, and learning to love the new people in her life.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good Lord...he fully ate the entire bone! I've never seen him do that!

I considered having my mom drop by once in a while, but I dismissed the idea for two reasons: 1) She does work, she just works from home. She made it clear that her job would be disrupted, so she could not permanently function as a dog-sitter. 2) I was afraid seeing her would set him back. She and my dad have both been over since then, though, and it doesn't seem like it's too big an issue.

I also considered taking him to their house while I'm working during the day. My mom is totally fine with that idea. Again, I was afraid he would be confused going back and forth between homes and this would set him back. Also, it is a serious inconvenience. Due to his leg, he can't get into the car without the use of a ramp. So I have to set up the ramp, get the dog, get him in the car, drive to my parents' house (about 15 minutes), set up the ramp, get the dog out of the car, drive to work (about 15 minutes back in the direction I just came from). The process seriously adds about 45 minutes to my morning routine, which already begins at 5:30am.

I guess I feel like he WILL adjust eventually...but how long is eventually and is it worth the stress in the meantime? I mean, it's worth it to me, but that's not taking him into account much.

I am chaperoning a youth group overnight at my church next weekend. I'm taking Alvin to my parents' while I'm gone. I've asked them to pay attention to his behavior. I think that night may be the deciding factor. They've seen him in action here...if they think he is noticeably more relaxed and happy there, he may just stay.
 

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How are things going with Alvin? I dont know if I missed a new thread or not. I hope things turned out well.
 

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I, too, would like to know how things are going.. and REALLY interested in how the Flower Remedies worked out
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for asking!

Alvin is absolutely fine. I don't know exactly what affected the change because two things were happening at the same time, but SOMETHING(S) worked!

The overnight visit to my parents' seems to have helped him a great deal. He was like a different dog when I picked him up and brought him home. Relaxed, happy to be there...maybe he thought my mom and dad had banished us or that they'd died or something. Who knows what goes on in a dog's head, but he seemed happier knowing they were there. He's gone to stay at their house a couple more times since then, when I know I'm going to be away from home most of the day. It doesn't seem to upset or confuse him at all to go back and forth between houses every once in a while.

I did start the flower remedies the day I picked them up and I have seen a definite change. As I said before, they didn't work on my other dog at all, but their impact on Alvin has been noticeable. He has wagged his tail more since starting the flower treatment than...well, ever, actually. And he is much more relaxed in pretty much every situation. I've been bringing him with me on a lot more outings lately because of how easy going he's been. I took him to a couple of meetings at work and church. His previous behavior was to stand by my chair and whine softly til we left. At both of the recent meetings he has laid down under the table and gone to sleep! He's always been pretty bulletproof as far as things like obnoxious kids or loud noises or what have you, but he's generally been quietly anxious in new situations. I don't see that at all anymore.

So all in all I would say I actually have a slightly improved version of the dog I left my parents' house with. Pretty cool!
 

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Awesome. :) Very happy it worked out. If you don't mind me asking, which flowers did you use? Did you mix them yourself, or buy something pre-made? I am looking into them for Marge, but not sure where to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks :) We're both feeling pretty good about the move at this point. It's a relief to feel confident.

MM - I considered giving Rescue Remedy, but it sounded more like it was geared toward a specific traumatic event. For example, you'd give it to a dog who didn't like the car before you took it for a ride or to a dog who didn't like the vet before you had an appointment. I bought a bottle of aspen (replaces apprehension and vague fears with a sense of security and peace of mind) and a bottle of walnut (allows you to make or adapt to major life changes) and mixed them with water in a third bottle according to the directions given. We each have four drops four times a day. I also spike Alvin's drinking water with ten drops, as you can't really overdose on flower remedies.

Here's a simple list of feelings. You find the one that sounds like you and use the corrseponding remedy, alone or in combination with others. This one is a little more in depth.

You can get the remedies at your local health food store or you can order them online.
 
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