View Full Version : Nervous dog

18th October 2010, 12:52 PM
Hello… First post here
I have two beautiful cavaliers: Darcy (Female tri 2.5yrs) and Toby (Male b&t 1.5yrs).

Toby used to be a really fearless confident little man but lately has become a nervous wreck! Darcy on the other hand has come out of her shell a lot more and is now much more confident than she used to be!
I did change their food a while ago which seemed to have a great affect on Darcy but I’m wondering if it has had the opposite on Toby – Can a change in diet affect a dog’s nerves[Toby has recently become really jumpy, for example he’s scared of his food bowl, (so we got him a rubber based bowl that doesn’t move), scared of any funny noises like the hairdryer, the hoover, any ‘new’ things to the house etc. whereas Darcy actually likes these things and thinks they are a game! (Sweeping brush wrestling is her favourite). Toby is always jumping out of the way of people, as if they’re going to stand on him.
I think that part of the problem stems from an incident where a friend’s little boy who was playing fetch with him, started throwing stones at him. :x (I stupidly turned my back for two minutes so didn’t catch it straight away). Every since then he has been scared of little boys and hides under the table if any are around. We’re re-socializing him with little kids so he’s starting to relax a little more.

In the last few days, he seems hesitant to do things like go up stairs, jump up onto the couch, which are things he has always done without a seconds thought. We thought he might have hurt himself but we checked him all over and he seems fine. If this continues I think I’ll bring him to the vet.

I would like to get all your thoughts on how I can help him out.. thank you!

18th October 2010, 06:02 PM
Welcome to the board. :)

I think you might be talking about two different things. I would definitely get him to the vet as the inability or avoidance of jumping up onto a couch or stairs does probably indicate a problem. Not sure of his age but this could definitely be a patella problem (common in the breed) and you would not generally be able to see anything wrong -- but a vet will spot it pretty easily or an orthopedist. Other possibilities are disk disease, a sore back or limbs, or if nothing else seems to explain the issue, possibly syringomyelia (all of which you might not pick up on and where there may be no obvious disability, but a vet or specialist will).

On the fearfulness -- yes this could be accounted for by his bad experience with the child. Food change would only be coincidental I think. Also some dogs do grow into more timid adults for a whole range of reasons. You are doing the right thing to gradually introduce him to these things again with a positive association -- nice children who bring him some small treats, etc. I have dogs and cats that detest brooms, vacuums and so on and those who like to chase them! So this kind of thing can really just be personality.

Cathy Moon
19th October 2010, 02:43 AM
I would take him to the vet for a complete exam to find anything that could be causing him pain or discomfort. It seems to me that pain could cause these symptoms.

Some ideas: Could any of the stones thrown at him have injured him? Are his eyes ok, or is he sensitive to bright light, or blinking? Are his teeth ok, or could he have a cracked tooth? (teeth can crack below the gum line and cause pain) Have the vet check his knees - if his patellas are loose, he would definitely be showing the behaviors you describe. Does he have any mats hidden in his coat, behind/under his ears, on the backs of his legs, between his toes? (these can be extremely painful because they pull on the skin)

Maybe try him back on his old food for awhile to see if he improves? I've read that food too high in protein can affect behavior, and can also affect the pH of urine.

If all else fails, I would get him MRI'd. If he does turn out to have CM or SM, the pain can be treated and you'd definitely want him on a medicine to lower the pressure in his cerebrospinal fluid in order to slow the progression of disease.

Our Geordie was a timid little boy, and in retrospect we think it might have been partly CM/SM related.

19th October 2010, 10:14 AM
Thank you both so much for all the info!:thnku:
Toby does seem much better as of last night, well hes back jumping up on things anyway! So hopefully it was just a pulled muscle or something, but I'll take him to vet anyway just in case it is a patella issue so we can catch it early.
I wasn't really aware that Patellas are an issue for Cavaliers, you hear so much about heart murmours, SM etc that I'd missed that one.

Cathy, No I don't think the stones did any damage, his eyes are fine, no issue with lights, never weepy etc. No mats, well I got a good one one under his ear last week but thats ok now. Not sure about teeth actually so I'll have a closer look. I think I'll try him back on the RC food, I'd be curious to see if it affects him.
Thanks again for all the advice.. Its great to have somewhere to ask to get some advice!
I'll let you know how it goes with the vet.