Australian Cattle dog rescued, age of 3

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Australian Cattle dog rescued, age of 3

This is a discussion on Australian Cattle dog rescued, age of 3 within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; Hi everyone, So my husband & I rescued an ACD from high killed shelter around last month and we named her Blu. We have told ...

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Old 01-14-2013, 09:43 PM
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Australian Cattle dog rescued, age of 3

Hi everyone,
So my husband & I rescued an ACD from high killed shelter around last month and we named her Blu. We have told that she is about 3 years old. Apparently, she was abandoned by owner who tided her up in chain, i'm guessing mostly outside. We picked out a few ACD online & met a few dogs at the shelter. And we fell in love with blu as her energy was so great she was very interested in us, she sat down right next to us the whole time with very calm energy. Blu has been with us about 4 weeks now and she has been doing extremely well at home, considering we live in Los Angeles in apt without yard. She's very loving and affectionate with me and my husband, super well-behaved, she eats well, and she quickly learned to go to the bathroom outside. Having said that, she does have a few issues that we need to work on, and I was hoping if you guys had some time you might be able to advise us in that regard.

The issue is her energy level. We were watching the video of ACDs breed and they are very energetic and ACD-like. Blu is nothing like that. She's a total couch potato. She sleeps most of the day, and she's often really sluggish on walks, hanging back several feet and walking very, very slowly. We read tons of material about ACD's before getting Blu, and we were prepared for an extremely active dog that needed a lot of exercise, but Blu seems to have no interest in exercise. We still take her out, and we brought her on tons of hikes. She seems to be in a great mood when we are on hikes with off leash but when we go walks daily with her leash, she slips into a weird almost sleepwalk-like mode.
So we have decided that we wanted to do some blood work done to see if everything is OK with Blu--we got the blood result back from the Vet today and blu has low thyroid. Her result was slightly below the normal. Vet recommended to do another blood test for screening purposes called T4 with same blood sample. He also recommended to treated with thyroid hormone replacement daily. However we are going to do some research on this matter. My sister in law is a MD who specialize on hypothyroidism and she wants to analyze blu's blood result and let us know what to do before we decide on supplements plan. I also read some online that a low-normal or below-normal level does not mean the dog is hypothyroid, because concentrations below normal are common for many reasons other than hypothyroidism.

The another issue is socialization. When we first got her, she was very scared of cars, other dogs, and people, and this was understandable. She has improved dramatically in terms of cars and ambient noise... she's definitely not as scared as before, and she gets better in this regard all the time. She has also gotten better around other dogs, although she still needs some work in this area (but it looks promising, especially with mellow dogs). People, however, is an area where she's made zero progress. I think it's safe to say that she has actually grown MORE scared of strangers. It's weird because when we met her at the shelter, she came right up to us and was super sweet. She is still that way with me and my husband... she's completely at ease around us, playful and extremely affectionate.... always seeking us out and wanting to lay next to us. But she is incredibly scared of anyone that comes into our home, all of our friends. She's not aggressive at all, but she does growl and barks at some my friends even though they are being very, very relaxed and non-threatening towards her (squatting down, letting her sniff them first, etc.) We do enjoy invite friends over and do dinner party as we enjoy cooking. And we also love to go out for brunch/lunch near the neighbor hood as we can easily walk to great restaurants and cafes. But blu is being grumpy towards other dogs and our friends definitely won't benefit our social life yet. As some of people mentioned that ACD can be more reserved side towards strangers, however she gets overly protective especially when i'm around. She barks and growls towards our friends. Very sad!

Let me quickly say that notwithstanding the above, me and my husband 150% committed to Blu and will support her as best as we possibly can, working with a trainer if necessary.

Anyway, if you guys have advice for me, please let me know!!
Happy New year! x

Last edited by bluACD; 01-14-2013 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:59 PM
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I can't speak to the hypothyroidism. My sister had a goiter. The doctor ran the test and said her levels were normal. End of story. But she has a goiter! She self medicated a few drops of iodine every day. Could be the same with Blu. What's normal is really based on average. Ask your SIL about that.

Place a cushy mat in an out of the way corner of the room you entertain friends in. Tell Blue "Blu, place", walk to mat and drop a couple of treats. Do this ten times a day so that she knows place is that mat. Every day, at least once, tell her place and reward her for going there. When friends come over, the first time she seems uncomfortable (you want to do this before she exhibits unfriendly behavior) send her to her place in a normal tone of voice.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:30 PM
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Lucky Blu to have you as her "parents'. I would keep consulting with your sister about the thyroid...also check for Cushings??? I have thyroid and certain labs came back always normal...until I demanded a Anti TPO and a thyroglobulin test...off the chart, lol. Don't know if it relates to a dog's thyroid...but?

Be aware that she might be really grouchy, grumpy tired, want to sleep quite a bit,,,that is thyroid! Once the proper meds level her....whooooeeee! You will see amazing results of normalcy for the ACD! Congratulations.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:58 PM
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Hypothyroidism has been linked to behavioral issues, so that could definitely be part of the issue with his nervousness. Is your sister-in-law familiar with hypothyroidism in dogs (and correct levels of their hormones)? If she is, then it might also be worth sending off for a full thyroid workup by a lab like Jean Dodds' or IDEXX. (If the former, you'd have Dr. Dodd's eval, your vet's eval, and potentially, your sister-in-law's.)

If your SIL suggests any supplementation, by the way, I would be very interested in knowing them and why! (Or if you have any links/resources from her, that would be great.) We had a hypothyroid dog (although it may have just been his Cushings), and I was not aware that we could help it with supplements (other than the prescription he was on).

ETA: Definitely check out the sticky posts in the behavior and training sections--they'll give you a jump start on behavior modification while you keep investigating his issues.
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:43 PM
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Hi everyone, sorry for the delay!

So T4 test came back as slightly below normal as well. And what my sister in law was suggesting to wait for a few moths and do the same blood work to see if test comes back positive. As blu doesn't have any symptoms of hair loss, weight gain, or dry skin etc. It may be related to her environment change and it wouldn't hurt to wait instead of putting her on supplements plan right away although Vet recommended to do so. My sister in law doesn't specialize in dogs however she mentioned the same thing as Crock says. Her hormone level can be relate to nervousness etc. My sister in law request lab copy from our vet, she will be looking closely. I will keep you guys posted it! Thanks! x
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:28 PM
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No, THANK YOU! I learned something from your posts and it is appreciated. Is it bec. cortisol is released into the system that caused the thyroid problem? That is interesting if so.
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