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Thread: New here, but one of my 2 cavs is acting strange.

  1. #1
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    Default New here, but one of my 2 cavs is acting strange.

    Hello everyone,

    I'm new to the forum as I just discovered it yesterday searching for what might be wrong with Gracie - our 2 year old tricolor. We also have a 11 month old Ruby by the name of Sophia.

    We got Grace from a less than desirable breeder...she was the last of the litter and the obvious runt of the litter. Since then she's thrived with us...always had a great attitude and as you all know a great snuggler like all Cavs. When we got Sophia last summer, the two became like two peas in a pod.....never left each others side, played all day long.

    Lately, Grace has become VERY docile like she's completely terrified by something in the house. She goes to my wife's closet, which is the most remote part of the house and will sit there for hours upon hours....she doesn't want to be by the family and has only been going out to pee when we make her. Also not eating much and just generally not being herself - there are no signs of anything hurting on her or that she is in pain.....she just seems like she's dejected and in the dumps.

    Some background info as well. We just installled invisible fencing in our yard....has worked great but could she be scared of this?

    Neither Sophie or Grace are fixed and they just spent a week at the beginning of the month in doggie day care. Could this be pre-behavior of a pregnancy? They are supposed to keep the dogs seperate, but I know there were plenty of other cavs at the day care. Is this behavior common in pregnant cavs?

    Thanks for any help anyone can give.

  2. #2
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    Im sorry I have no advice for you. That does seem a bit strange if you ask me. Is she eating normally? With all these recalls thats the first thing I would look at.

    I do have a question if you didnt mind but why aren't either of them fixed? Are you planning on showing or breeding them? If not I would get them spayed as why would you want to deal with the mess of their seasons and the constant worry about pregnancy as well as male dogs hounding them whenever they are in season?
    Jasmine, mommy to Ellie (tri girl), Griffin, Hunter, & Dexter (kitties)

    Ellie is here!!!!

    http://elliethecavalier.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    I would definitely bring Grace to the vet.

    Honey had pyometra (an infection of the womb) at quite a young age and she was very mopey and just not herself. We then noticed she had a discharge and brought her straight to the vet. She had to have an emergency hysterectomy.

    I hope Grace will be OK.
    Casshon

    Molly (Blenheim) & Bella (Tri)
    Honey, Cassie & Tiki (Cavalier Angels)

  4. #4
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    If she's got a shock from the invisible fencing & she wss normal before you intalled it she's probably scared of going outside & getting zapped again. they have long memories & one bad experience can put them off for a long time

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    I'm sorry to hear about Gracie. There are a couple of points for consideration here and they are directly related.

    First off, I would strongly advise against using invisible fencing. Many breeders, and all rescues that I know of as well as organisations like the Humane Society and SPCA, would oppose electronic fencing as inhumane. It is also useless at protecting your dogs from thieves and other dogs, and dogs regularly will run right thru electronic fencing if they really want to chase something (we regularly get dogs wearing such collars in the pound). They can also cause training problems and behaviour problems as many trainers will verify. They also sometimes malfunction causing severe burns (down to the bone) to dogs on their neck and have been the subject of lawsuits.

    The latter is particularly important because probably over half of all cavaliers have a condition called called syringomyelia in which fluid pockets form in the spine, mostly in the neck and shoulder area, and press on nerve endings causing neurological symptoms -- primarily, pain. When they have this condition it is because their brain is too big for their skull and has been forced through the opening into the spine. To be shocking a dog that has syrinxes and part of its brain exposed in the spine, is risking inflicting severe pain.

    Regarding Gracie in particular -- given her behaviour, she does urgently need to see a vet so that should be your first stop as only a vet can tell you what is actually going on. Dogs hide pain very well too, especially neurological pain. The fact that she isn't eating, is hiding in the dark and avoiding people, and has to be made to go outside are all seriously worrying and indicative of some sort of illness and most likely, pain. This kind of behaviour could definitely be related to wearing the electronic collar and the 'training' -- which involves shocking the dog at increasingly higher levels of power until they are too terrified to cross the invisible fence line (try putting on the collar yourself, turn it to the highest setting (as this will be the equivalent, on your body size, to what your dogs feel) then walk across the boundary -- this will at least give you a sense of whether you feel this is appropriate for your dogs and whether you wish to continue using it.

    I am going to also steer you to my Syringomyelia website because some of the behaviour your are describing fits what many owners of cavaliers with SM see:

    www.smcavalier.com

    Read through the symptoms list in particular and you can see if anything else sounds suspicious. There are documents you can print out and take to your vet when you go in. If the vet cannot find any other reason for her behaviour (there could of course be other reasons) s/he will want to refer you to a vet neurologist to consider whether SM is a possibility. If Gracie has SM and went though the training of shocks to her neck she could be very traumatised as a result and that could definitely be why she is behaving as she is. But you need to investigate all possibilities and only seeing a vet will enable you to do that. .

    Also: I'd strongly recommend getting them fixed -- if they remain unspayed, they have a 1 in 4 chance of mammary cancer over their lifetime and an ongoing high risk of pyometra, which is often fatal. This is why vets highly recommend spaying bitches.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    I would definitely take her to the vet to find out what's wrong - sounds like she's in pain.

    Is there a reason why they are not spayed? The invisible fence doesn't offer your cavs any protection - I would be VERY concerned that another dog could get to them. If she got pregnant from a larger dog, it would be life threatening. Same goes for the daycare..
    Cathy Moon
    India(tri-F) Geordie(blen-M)Chocolate(b&t-F)Charlie(at the bridge)

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    First of all, I would like to say Welcome to the board!!! I am sorry it isn't under happier circumstances though

    At two years old, it is a great possibility that she could be exposed to a male curing her most recent cycle, especially if you have an invisible fence. She may not run out of the yard, but nothing keeps the other dogs from getting to her. That is very risky.

    When was her last heat? Did she go to day care during that time? That big change in behavior would be enough for me to worry so I would take her in to the vet to have her checked out, whether it be for pregnancy or something else.

    Good Luck and keep us posted!!!
    I love my Wesley, Cody, Zoey & Stewie

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    I've not heard of an invisible fence before so please excuse my ignorance.

    Does it work by giving a shock whenever approached? Is the only way a dog can work out its boundaries by getting a series of shocks at different points? I think if I were a dog I would eventually go and hide away and be scared to come out anywhere.

    Is there no way you can install proper visible fencing? Her behaviour seems totally logical as a response to a frightening experience. I am trying to think from the perspective of my two young dogs who are 10 months and 14 months - I think they would be grossly affected by a similar fence. I am nearly in tears thinking about it.
    Annie and Lucy (tri girl born Feb 06) and Henry (Blenheim boy born June 06)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy's mum View Post
    I've not heard of an invisible fence before so please excuse my ignorance.

    Does it work by giving a shock whenever approached? Is the only way a dog can work out its boundaries by getting a series of shocks at different points? I think if I were a dog I would eventually go and hide away and be scared to come out anywhere.
    Invisible fencing is a system of wires that are buried in the ground. The dog wears a receiver on its collar. When the dog crosses the wire in the ground, the dog receives a shock to the neck from the receiver. The theory is that the dogs learn (by being shocked) where the boundary is and then stay within the yard.

    Some systems are cheaper than actually installing a fence and in some instances people are not allowed to build a fence due to city ordinances or housing community rules.

    Some of the drawbacks with this type of fencing have already been discussed:
    --punishment training through pain
    --no security from outside predators (thieves, dog aggressive dogs, male dogs)
    --not 100% guaranteed to keep your dog at home

    Another issue with invisible fencing is that, should the dog cross the barrier in pursuit of something like a rabbit or squirrel (or a person walking by!), the dog is punished for trying to go home! The shock works anytime the dog crosses. So if the dog does leave temporarily, the dog learns to stay away from the yard to avoid another shock. :S
    Cindy
    Cedar (tri), Willow (blen), & Holly (ruby)

  10. #10
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    Welcome to Cavalier Talk! You'll find that our community is friendly and always ready to talk about their cavaliers, in any capacity. If you've ever been told you're nuts b/c you care too much or talk too much about your dogs, this is the place for you!

    I'm sorry to hear that your Grace is the reason you found us, but now that you're here I hope you explore and join in the fun.

    You'll find that there are a number of different opinions on how to train and to treat pets, but any disagreements are often due to our strong love for our animals. I know that I've learned a great deal from these boards and the differences of opinions that are expressed. Those opinions often impact how I live with and interact not only my own dogs but how I communicate with other dog owners.

    My advice for Gracie is to get her in to see a vet. Rule out any health concerns before looking into a behavioral issue. Given the health challenges our breed faces (see the health section; there's tons of info) health issues are always suspect. Taking the vet breed specific health information, as Karlin suggested above, is very helpful, as not all vets are up to date on the health issues of each and every breed. It saves time, and most vets are happy to talk with you about the information.

    If the vet is not concerned about any health issues, then you will probably want to look at the behavior. You've already mentioned the possibility that the invisible fence is a problem. Despite the general concerns many on the board might have with this type of fencing, if you have a sensitive dog (which most cavaliers are!), the shock-training could definitely scare a cavalier into the closet. Try taking the shock receiver off and take Gracie out on a lead. Let her see that the yard is not painful any more. If after a day or so her behavior changes, the fence is probably the issue, and you can figure out a more accommodating way to keep Gracie in the yard.
    Cindy
    Cedar (tri), Willow (blen), & Holly (ruby)

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