My aunt and uncle have a 9 year old cocker spaniel, Buffy. Last year, they moved from Irvine to a house in Palm Springs. They left the dog with their two adult children while they landscaped the backyard and got the house done.
In April, they brought Buffy to their new home, and she went beserk. Whenever they leave, she scratches at the doors and windows. They bought her a metal crate, she bent the wires and got out. They got baby gates, she knocks them down and scratches at the doors. Buffy recently went almost completely blind and is totally deaf, but has managed to get up on their glass dining room table, so they move the chairs away when they are gone...she still gets up there. Then she began to get onto their kitchen counter. They live in an "active adult" community, so their counters are higher than normal. They can't leave her in the backyard, because she can jump the fence (they live on a golf course, so they are limited with how high of a fence they are allowed). She has also shredded brand new, custom made curtains and ruined their blinds. And she falls in their pool often. They have estimated that she has done over $3K in damage to their brand new house.
My aunt's oldest son and his wife said they would take the dog, they live about an hour and a half away. So my aunt dropped off Buffy, and took her grandson to lunch. They came back and Buffy was gone. Buffy broke their gate and got out. They couldn't find her. My aunt went back home, and a few hours later a man called to say that he found Buffy and took her to the pound. My uncle went back out the next day to pick her up from the pound.
A few weeks later they decided to take her back to their old house, and their two kids would have to take care of her, since she was fine while she was there. My cousins went to work the following Monday thinking the dog would be fine. My cousin came home and couldn't find Buffy. Finally, she found that Buffy had locked herself into her brothers room (the master bedroom) scratched up that door and tore up the carpet, then in the master bathroom, scratched up that door, then knocked everything on the counter onto the floor, and everything in the medicine cabinet onto the counter. She continued to go crazy whenever she was left home alone. She often goes out the front door, which she has always done, but doesn't know when to stop, and being completely deaf, she can't hear anyone calling her.
My cousins moved out of their parents old house this past weekend and can not bring Buffy to their new place. So, she's gone back to Palm Springs. While she was still at my cousins, she did tons of damage there, but they are planning on painting and replacing the carpet before they sell the house anyway. But, one day she broke their gate and got out. One of the neighbors who knows Buffy took her and called my aunt and left a message that she had Buffy. The neighbor then went to work. As my aunt approached their front door to pick her up, she could already see that Buffy had ruined their blinds and shredded their curtains...another $600 in damage that they had to pay.
What would you do? My uncle is losing his patience with her and is saying that he's giving her a couple of weeks and then he'll have her put to sleep (he's been saying that for a while). My aunt doesn't want this, but everything they try doesn't help (tranquilizers, crates, and so on). What can be done?
If the vet can't find anything wrong with her and drugs don't work, I'd put her down. Something snapped. She's 9, somewhat old. Maybe she had a stroke or has some kind of brain dysfunction that is changing her behavior. What else can you possibly do? Its sad.
How does a cocker bend the wires of a crate, though? They'd break their teeth, first, unless it was an awfully cheap crate.
***Edited By: lalayla on 7/6/2006 6:45:04 AM*** Reason: add
Last year, they moved from Irvine to a house in Palm Springs. They left the dog with their two adult children while they landscaped the backyard and got the house done.
~HeatherFeather~ If this dog showed no signs of destruction before she was left with the two adult children. Then I'd have to say that the cause was when she was left with these two people.
I don't want to say this but did she suffer any malice from them? This will be embedded on a dog forever. If not... then it could be she suffers from separation anxiety.
If this is the case... Then she should be left for very short periods of time. For example 10 mins. If there's no destruction add on 5 mins onto the next period. When she's left don't make any fuss about it. Even upon returning home no fuss is to be made only praise!
How many different kinds of crates have they tried, just the one that she got out of? Because there's a few crates that are made for cocker spaniel sized dogs that have only 1 latch on the door, which means that an insanely determined dog can get out. Make sure you ask them how many latches the door had.
In any case, I'd actually suggest a larger and heavier duty crate with a minimum of two latches on it.. one fit for a larger dog, with thicker wire bars for the framework, if that makes sense. I'd certainly try that before euthanasia.
It sounds like the dog has never adjusted to the move to the new house, and kind of came unwound at that. Now she suffers from extreme separation anxiety.
I owned a cocker spaniel for 13 years. That is a sad story, and I am very sorry to hear that.
"Buffy recently went almost completely blind and is totally deaf."
How quickly did this happen? Did both the blindness and deafness come on rather suddenly, within a short period of time. If so, this would suggest serious brain damage. Most normal deafness or blindness as a result of old age happen gradually, and it usually dosent affect more than one system (e.g. vision and hearing) at exactly the same time, instead one system deteriorates and another deteriorates later. There may be some overlap, but it wouldn't be sudden.
Also, the fact that tranquilizers don't work is suggestive of brain damage. Especially if increasing the dose still does not work. If she was experiencing anxiety (e.g., separation anxiety), minor tranquilizers should work. (something like diazepam or chlordiazepoxide - I'm not sure if you can give these to dogs, I know they work in smaller animals and also in humans, check with your vet).
If the symptoms came on suddenly, it would suggest injury with structural damage rather than normal physiological deterioration due to old age. Do you notice any tenderness on the skull? Even if there is none, there could still be brain damage. If so, there is really not very much that can be done, especially if medication is not working.
***Edited By: k9trainer on 7/6/2006 2:26:01 PM*** Reason: type-o
I don't suspect any malice from my cousins. They are 21 and 25, and Buffy was actually a gift to the 21 year old when she was younger. I don't think either of them would do anything to her. They do party a lot, so maybe she "ingested" something? But I don't think that would make her so paranoid or crazy.
When someone is there, she just lays there, but as soon as she's alone, she goes crazy. She's been left alone before they brought her to Palm Springs (at Christmastime she was there for two days, just with someone coming to feed her), but now she can't be alone for five minutes. My aunt has scheduled an appointment with a behaviorist in their new neighborhood, but can Buffy still learn being pretty old, blind and deaf?
As for the crates they used, they used a hard plastic one first, which she chewed out of. The wire crate they used was pretty big, and had I think 3 latches on it, and they padlocked it. But she didn't get out the door, she got out the side of it. I guess my uncle sees it as he's already losing thousands as a result from this dog, he doesn't want to spend a whole lot more if there's no guarantee it's going to work.
K9, I think the deafness has been gradual. I lived with them during the summers for a couple years (2 and 3 years ago) and she seemed to be alot slower to respond and sometimes didn't respond at all. I know she's been on medication for a while, but I think that's for her thyroid, so probably not relevant.
My aunt and I drove out there late last year to pick up my cousin, and when we got there, Buffy was laying on a couch that was close to the front door, but didn't even look up when my aunt came in.
When they brought her to Palm Springs, the new vet diagnosed her as being completely deaf, and her eyesight is going too (I think its cataracts). You can clap your hands above her head and she won't do anything. She can still see a little, but not well at all. Like I said, she keeps falling in their pool.
I don't know about how her skull feels, she's not here with me so I can't check.
So, to answer your question, the blindness and deafness have probably come on gradually, but the anxiety was instant as soon as they brought her to Palm Springs.
This is really sad. BUT, if they got a crate that the dog could get out of... well.. that is their fault. I am sorry, but even a determined psychotic dog can't get out of ALL crates. The wire ones that are STURDY and not large enough for her to squeeze through. I mean, she sounds destructive, but then CONTAIN her.
It isn't impossible to contain a cocker spaniel! Unless she's like the hulk and when no one is around she turns green and can bend steel and stuff.
Ok Dubbs, I don't know that I agree with you, but thank you for your opinion. I was looking for suggestions on how to care for her, not criticisms. My aunt and uncle HAVE contained her, and she has managed to get out of the crates they have bought her, which I am sure are very high quality, as they don't buy anything cheap. She doesn't just slip through the bars because they are far apart...Buffy's fat! She bends the bars and breaks them loose. Now I doubt she turns green, but when they leave, this dog who normally can't even jump up on their bed, can manage to jump onto high counters and bend steel and "stuff". So if you have suggestions on how to help Buffy relax, please share them. Otherwise, please keep negative comments about someone you don't know to yourself.
I'm about to make myself very unpopular here, but this forum is for opinions. There is no way I would allow a dog to continue to destroy my house. Yes, when my Dobes were puppies, they ruined things, and Abby chewed the walls and Penny tore a piece of linoleum off the floor, but these were one time events (cause they weren't allowed in the house for a while and were also punished for their misdeeds) I think an elderly dog cannot be punished as an impressionable puppy can. Pups learn that misdeeds cause punishment and stop the behavior. This sounds like either something snapped in this dogs head or it has some neurological problem going on. Sad as it seems, I would probably put this dog down.
Thank you Schoolbus, thats what I was thinking with the behaviorist. Buffy's elderly, and deaf, so I don't see how a behaviorist would help her, as she is not as impressionable as a younger dog would be.
BTW, I wasn't discouraging people from giving me their opinions on what should be done. I am very greatful for any such opinions and/or advice. I just hate how when someone comes on here for help, someone's gotta insult them in some way. This IS NOT a case of neglect, she's been well cared for in her 9 years. I've owned cockers when I was little, and I've never seen something like this, but I was little. If something happened to her to make her all of a sudden start doing this, then no one knows what it was that happened. I just want to know if there's a way to help this poor old, blind and deaf dog. For some strange, unknown reason, my aunt and uncle have a lot of respect for me and value my opinion on this subject, so I want to make sure I let them know if there is anything that can be done before they put her to sleep, if it comes down to that. I doubt I'd gain too much respect if I just told them that its all their fault for buying a cheap crate, especially as that's not the case at all.
I agree with Schoolbus. Not only are the parents miserable, but the poor dog must be miserable. She can't hear or see, rehoming her would be the imhumane option. I say to your aunt and uncle: Take her, hold her, love her, and send her out in comfort. My heart goes out to your family.
I have a husky that chewed out of an airline crate. She also collapsed a wire crate and got out. We had to buy a wire crate with corner pins. The crate can collapse but you have to pull up on the four corner pins at the same time to do so. It's the only thing we've been able to keep her in. If something like that doesn't work, maybe euthanasia (PTS) would be the best thing for all involved. Wish I had something better to give you.
Thank you Bellas_Mom. When I first heard my uncle say that he's gonna have the dog put down, I was kind of mad. He's not the kind of guy that lets his emotions get in the way, he actually never shows emotion. But the more I think about it, I think he's making the right choice. As much as I wouldn't want to let go of one of my pets, the truth is that Buffy must be miserable. He's very close to the dog, probably moreso than anyone else, so its probably hard for him to say. I just feel bad for my aunt. She's already having a hard time with the move. My uncle's retired so he plays golf all day, and spends alot of the time at their beach house. My aunt has a couple years before she can retire, so she's having to live in that god awful heat all the time, she hates her boss, is away from her kids and grandkids and friends, and now this.
I'm no expert but I'm thinking this is a result of not knowing where she is. They took a blind deaf dog from her comfort zone and put her in a strange house for a few weeks then in another strange house for a few weeks, she probably understands when your Aunt and Uncle are there she is safe, I'm sure she knows their scent but when their not there she probably gets scared and goes nuts. I think I would if I didn't know my surroundings and was in the dark and couldn't hear anything I would go nuts, it may just be the dog has to be weaned into being left alone. Good luck with whatever your family decides.
***Edited By: Syrn11 on 7/6/2006 5:26:00 PM*** Reason: misspelled
i think what syrn said makes a lot of sense. I had no comment on this post until i read what they said. It makes a complete world of difference that this dog is blind and deaf and is in a new place. maybe suggest to your uncle to not golf ALL DAY LONG and maybe stay home with her to comfort her or pop in to check on her and spend a half hour or so with her to see how she is doing. The scent thing makes sense too! Maybe suggest they buy a strong crate like wolf was talking about. If a husky can't get out of it i doubt a cocker spaniel can. My husky I know can get out of ANYTHING and if wolfs is the same (sounds like she is) and can't get out of this crate it would be a good suggestion. And when they crate her suggest that they put a blanket in there for her that has their scent on it. So that way she can still smell them. But the blanket can't be washed and has to be used so that it smells like them. The poor girl. The best thing is to try this and if it don't work, hey they gave it a try and it didn't suit her needs. And then the best bet would be to pts. like bellas mom said comfort her, hold her and love her and let her pass over the bridge peacefully. She will understand and probably be waiting there for them!!!
scenic - your right about my escape artist. She gets crated because we can't keep her in the dog run. She always gets out somehow. The crate we bought is a Bargain Hound from Petsmart and while she has managed to bend some wires by the door, she has not been able to get out. This is the same dog who shredded the plastic pan. We have since put a steel plate in the bottom.
Huskys are very strong and very good at pulling. If my girl can't get out of this crate, I doubt a Cocker Spaniel can (even a very motivated cocker).
Thank you Wolf, Syrn and Scenic for your suggestions. I appreciate your understanding in this dilemma. It's so easy to give advice, but its harder when your the one getting the advice, especially when the dog could potentially be put down. I will give my aunt and uncle all your suggestions and the name of the unbreakable crate tonight and we'll go from there. Thank you everyone!
I was not being rude. I was just saying, I don't believe that it is impossible to contain her so that she can be dealt with properly. That's all. I wouldn't be quick to say "she gets out of everything" because i don't believe that is possible.
I have an LPN friend at work who had to put her 12 yr old cockerspaniel down this past saturday. She also was blind and acting strangely, She took her to the vet and they told her she would ownly get worse and she did't need to live this way. So they put her down.