Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Week

It's been one week since Maisy and I encountered the off leash dog that may or may not have been attacking her. I've decided to view it as an attack, not because I know the other dog's motives, but because of how Maisy perceived it; there has been some fall-out as a result of the encounter, both physically and emotionally.

Twenty-four hours post-attack, I noted that Maisy was limping slightly. Well, limping is probably the wrong word. She looked stiff in the hips, and when she walked, her legs rotated in a figure-8 type pattern instead of moving smoothly forward and back.

I treated Maisy with arnica every 12 hours for the first three days, then daily until I ran out. I know a lot of people look down on homeopathy, but as soon as I ran out of this natural anti-inflammatory, Maisy began to have symptoms of pain, primarily through excessive, heavy panting. (Then I treated her with buffered aspirin.)

We went to her veterinary chiropractor today, and I just have to say, if you're in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, you really ought to check out Dr. White at Whole Health Vet. They are always so wonderful about taking the time to listen to my concerns, evaluate Maisy, and provide excellent care. Maisy is still stiff, but she's moving so much better tonight.

The most interesting thing is that Maisy is now afraid of hedges. She is also much more nervous while on our walks. Overall, she enjoys them, but if she hears a dog bark, her mouth gets hard. She has, at times, entirely refused to walk, though I can't parse out how the physical effects and emotional effects are interacting.

She was much more on edge at our reactive dog class last night, though. She looked at the other dogs much more frantically, became upset (indicated to me through a hard mouth and a "wild look" about her) when they moved around, especially when she was watching the other dogs do off-leash recalls.

She didn't actually have an episode of reactivity, but she did make some attempts at lunging. Each time, though, she interrupted herself and returned to me. There were many, many cookies handed out, and I am so, so proud of her. She was legitimately stressed by the situation- our classmates are all larger dogs, one looks a lot like the dog who attacked her, the room had been rearranged, she was in pain, and there was a new dog last night. And even so, despite all of that, she was able to remember that she shouldn't lunge, and continued to work with me. This really gives me a lot of encouragement for the future.

Going Forward...
I know we have a lot of work to do. I will need to lower my criteria for awhile on acceptable behaviors around other dogs. I'll need to make situations easier, too- crowded trials will have to wait for awhile. However, I am optimistic that we can return to our previous level of functioning, and I am told that the behavior will even be stronger afterward.

I have become less tolerant of loose dogs, though. I have paired citronella spray with treats, so Maisy is not bothered by it being sprayed very near her. All loose dogs will be treated to a lovely citrus perfume from now on, regardless of whether they look friendly or not. I don't want to take any more chances, and I want Maisy to learn that I will do my best to defend her from unsolicited visitors.

Hopefully, this will be my last post on the topic. For one thing, it's not the most interesting thing to write about, and for another, I'm optimistic that this will be just a temporary blip in the radar with no significant side effects.


M.T. said...

"However, I am optimistic that we can return to our previous level of functioning, and I am told that the behavior will even be stronger afterward"

I have to say that i find this to be true of Dante -- everytime we have a setback in the form of an "encounter" with a loose dog, etc., he seems to recover sooner, with less and less side effects/fallout, and it takes less time to work up to the "functioning level" we were previously at and then move on beyond it. I hope this will be true of Maisy as well!

"I have become less tolerant of loose dogs, though.

I have become so intolerant of loose dogs it├Ęs not funny. I now carry dog spray with me all the time and no longer hesitate to kick or punch or physically yank another dog away from my dog. You have to do what you have to do!

Urban canines said...

It sounds like both of you are moving forward from that terrible experience. Good job on coming up with an action plan and implementing it.