How to stop my dog from screaming

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How to stop my dog from screaming

This is a discussion on How to stop my dog from screaming within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I?ve worked for a pet store, the spca, the zoo, and a private petting zoo. I?m a huge animal fan and believe in doing everything ...

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Old 10-20-2017, 07:46 AM
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How to stop my dog from screaming

I?ve worked for a pet store, the spca, the zoo, and a private petting zoo. I?m a huge animal fan and believe in doing everything possible to take care of your dog. That being said, as much as we love our pit, we have the dog from hell and I?ve officially burnt out on her care. Our dog is ill; we?ve spent thousands on vet bills and expensive testing, even several top universities cant figure out what?s wrong with her. There?s literally no more that science can do for her. Because of this, her mystery illness isnt being properly treated and her health has declined over the years. She used to be an indoor dog but over time she started having accidents. Pee pads didn?t work, leaving for shorter periods of time didn?t help, and crating her worked for a short time. Eventually she just wouldnt hold it in the crate and everyday she and the crate would be covered in feces. So she had to be an outside dog. Neither of us wanted to do this but we had no choice. We make sure she?s all set up with proper shelter and put warm clothes on her at night so she?s comfortable. But now she screams. Not howling, not whining...screaming. We have been training her by teaching her the word ?quiet? (which works very briefly), we only give atfention when she?s quiet, tried kongs and the like (not interested), tried exercising her, and weve made little progress. Shes keeping us and the neighbors up at night and im getting threats to make her stop. Sometimes the screaming is SA but it seems to also be her version of a temper tantrum. She doesnt WANNA be outside. She wants inside, NOW. And shes gonna make everyone in a 5 mile radius miserable until she gets it. I?m burnt out and I don?t know what else to do. I?m 9 months pregnant and I just don?t have any more time and energy for this dog. The only thing left I can think to do is get a shock collar because I can?t be working on training exercises with my dog at all hours of the night. I know that shock collars have their pitfalls but we?re desperate. I guess I could drug the dog but I doubt it?ll work. Whenever she?s been on narcotics shes been MORE whiney and annoying to deal with. Don?t get me wrong, we love our dog to pieces but I?ve hit the threshold of what?s acceptable for a dog and the constant stress she creates for our family is feeling less worth it. I know dogs don?t work this way, but at this point we need a quick solution to stop the screaming. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-20-2017, 10:08 AM
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Im not a trainer so take this with a grain of salt, but my gut feeling is a shock collar probably wont work for this and could possibly make it worse.
I dont know what to tell you, but with a new baby coming soon.......
If the vets and university people couldnt find a solution I doubt any of us can help....
Is it possible the dog is in pain?
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:46 AM
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Shock collars may NOT be recommended per forum rules. Please consider this the warning... any violators will be banned immediately.

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Old 10-20-2017, 01:48 PM
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I am so sorry you and your dog are going through this. Sometimes there is no good answer, but in desperation you search for one. Your dog sounds to be in great distress, possibly pain, also emotional distress of being separated and alone when feeling physically bad. Your neighbours are not going to tolerate this for long either, and they may be less than kind about it.

I really don't think I have an answer for you, but feel compelled to try. Can you bring her in and use a playpen, line it with a tarp and fill it with wood shavings? (you can buy 'bales' of these very cheaply at any farm supply and they smell nice, and you can just dump the dirty, and add in clean), but the dog would still be in distress from the 'mystery' illness, and, frankly, for some people, having a large dog that urinates and defecates in the home continuously for years is beyond their tolerance.

I have briefly diapered dogs in extreme old age and it is not a particular comfortable solution either for dog or human, but may be worth a try.

This is a health issue, and possibly a quality of life issue. I think it would be better for you to have a long and frank discussion with a trusted veterinarian and family members.

It is definitely not a training issue. So sorry, sometimes there just isn't an answer to every problem, maybe there are others with more experience with incontinent dogs that have ideas I would never have thought have.
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Old 10-20-2017, 03:42 PM
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I'm neither a trainer or a Vet, but I guess I'm wondering exactly what her health decline is? I know you mentioned it in general terms, and the incontinence in far more detail. Is the incontinence the only, or major problem she is having? Also how old a dog is she? Is it possible she has suffered a single, or a series of small strokes that could be impairing her cognitive abilities? I know you said she has been seen by multiple Vets, but perhaps not the right specialist. Just from what you describe, and I am not an expert, so this is just my guess, I would lean toward some form of neurological issue, but exactly what would take the right Vet specialist. I don't know where you live, but if its anywhere near northern California, I would try to get her to the Vet clinic at UC Davis. They deal with every disease and ailment known and many unknown.
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Old 10-20-2017, 04:17 PM
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@dmsr24 would you be willing to share more about your dog's health and what has been done?

Right now based on your post it sounds kinda like the only issue is pooping inside? There are many reasons why this can be, none of which can begin to be guessed with so little info.

Regarding the screaming, it's quite understandable why your dog is doing it, and there really isn't a safe quick fix. personally I would have a very tough time putting an ill dog outside permanently, especially when previously an indoor dog. Similarly I would never use a shock collar on such a dog.

What I would do is look for other options as far as housing goes. Perhaps in for the night in a kennel (not a crate, more like the 10x10 ft kennels) in a garage? A laundry room or other place inside and with an easy to clean floor? You might be able to cover the entire floor with potty pads and replace the dirtied to help with ease of cleaning.
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Last edited by kmes; 10-20-2017 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:04 PM
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Sorry I?m new to this forum so I wasn?t aware lof the shock collar rule. So it?s not pain. The reason we know this is because she?ll scream sometimes when were in the same room but were like 5 ft too far away. Or when she?s outside and screaming we check on her (after waiting 5 secs) and she?s not showing signs of pain, just wanting to be inside. We?ve taken her to UC Davis many times and they sent her labs off to Cornell as well as I think the Jewish Inst of Med. All were inconclusive. Basically she gets very sick very fast in bouts of episodes. First she?ll have the runs, then she gets lethargic, then vomiting, then bloody stools, then high fever. If you don?t rush her to the vet within 24 hrs of seeing the first signs she ends up being hospitalized on iv fluids. Nobody knows why it happens and we?ve tried more diets and meds than I can count. They basically said autoimmune disease by process of elimination but even then they?re not sure. She?s on some hardcore steroids to treat it but I don?t think it?s doing anything. At this point we?ve accepted that she?s just a sick dog and we?re doing what we can to keep her comfortable. She?s happy most of the time so putting her to sleep doesnt seem necessary at this time. But the incontinence was just creating too much stress. Im talking diarrhea everywhere and all over her. It would take upwards of an hour to clean and would happen at least once a day. We tried having her sleep in the house and just letting her out to potty when she needs it but it was getting to the point where she was waking us up every hour and many times she?d just go outside and not potty. Whenever we put pee pads on the floor she just shreds them. Having her inside is unfortunately just not an option. We have her inside every day when we can actively watch her so she gets attention. Ans now that shes outside shes not making picassos with her own waste. We have a kennel thats all tarped up to protect her from the elements and we?ll be upgrading to a sheltered dog house with heater bed soon. For now we bundle her up in clothes to keep her warm at night. So I mean it?s not like she?s uncomfortable, she just doesn?t want to be outside. But she has to be. I just really need her to stop screaming at all hours of the night. I hate to say it but she?s totally pushing us to the breaking point.
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:09 PM
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She?s almost 4 so she?s very young. She?s been sick since day one. I didn?t realize what the hell we had signed up for when we took her on. No signs of neurological problems or stroke. She has had a prolonged high fever before but the vets have not been concerned about brain damage.
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Old 10-27-2017, 08:41 AM
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Tick foseases? They can have unusual presentations and could explain the fever and worsening bouts. Lyme, rocky Mountain spotted fever, theres a new one. Lots of doctors and vets don't NE essarily believe on them so may not test for them. One negative test isn't always reliable either, it depends on the lab and the tome the test was taken. If too early or at some parts of the disease process it could not show up.
My old had chronic Lyme for many years and got very sick very fast from only a very mild positive titer which same result her son showed no symptoms. My dog had Lyme last year and my vet spent more time arguing with me that he didn't have typical symptoms and Lyme did not present in dogs like it did on horses. I insisted on the test and it was positive he never acknowledged me but treated him.

Also my last dog was on high doses of steroids and they made him incontinent of urine and feces. He couldnt make it outside especially not with stairs and his back legs not working. And my apartment and building were all carpet so i did nothing but clean and care for him and work full time. He also died from a massive infection because high doses of steroids suppress the immune system so he couldn't fight off infections. He was on them for 5 months for a degenerative spinal disease.

My current dog got awful diarrhea and they decided he has inflammatory bowel disease and food allergies, restricted diet and stomach meds helped a lot.

You might have already gone through all this but I had a very good vet hospital with a trauma center for both my dogs and learned a lot. And Lyme and tick diseases are epidemic in my area, most of my friends have had it more than once.

Just in case there's something new here.
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Old 10-27-2017, 12:22 PM
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UC Davis and Cornell are definitely best-of-the-best in terms of diagnosis and treatment of unknown or strangely presenting diseases. I would agree that if you've gone through those channels then you've done right by your dog medically and can feel comfortable that the diagnosis-by-elimination is as good as you're likely to get. I would trust their process more than I'd trust possible diseases being put out there by an internet forum, as well (no offense to anyone here, just that UC Davis and Cornell are two of the top vet schools in the country and very well regarded).

Now in terms of the behavioral component...

I have lived with a dog with severe gastrointestinal issue (recurrent giardia and resultant chronic colitis) short term and have lived the "let me out every hour or I poop terrible diarrhea on the floor" life. It's extremely taxing, I understand. I also cannot imagine how taxing it is to be nine months pregnant and dealing with this, as well as having been on this roller coaster over the life of this dog.

It sounds like the reality of this situation is that this dog will have severe GI episodes for the rest of its life. She also seems understandably distressed about being transitioned to an outdoor-only dog. It sounds like the main issue now is that she screams. Can you talk more about the situations in which she's doing this? You say it's when she wants to come inside- what about her behavior is making you think this is her motivation? Does she stand at the door and do it, then stop when you come out? Does she just walk around the yard or stand around and do it? Is she facing the house? You say she also does it when you're in the same room- can you describe that?

Is it possible for her to wear a diaper so she can be inside? I've known some who have had success with that with incontinent dogs.

A moderator has already made clear what the forum's stance is on recommending e-collars, but I think its still appropriate to go more in depth as to what an e-collar would be doing in this situation and why it's probably not the best choice. When I'm talking about tools like these, I do feel like its always important to make clear that I am not actually one of those trainers who holds to the "there's no ethical/humane way to use a tool like that". While I think any use of something like an e-collar by definition involves introducing discomfort to make an animal comply or change its behavior, I do think there's are ethical applications (on specific animals, for specific purposes, under professional supervision and after all less invasive means have been exhausted) and unethical applications (in this case- most applications).

Let's talk about this situation specifically. You have a dog who is prone to frequent GI episodes. She is definitely in a state of physical discomfort during this time, and likely experiencing some level of pain (ie, stomach cramping, fever-related discomfort, etc). GI episodes are quiet often tied in to stress, as well- or at least, a dog who has GI issues often manifests stress as GI issues as well, even when the GI issue itself isn't always caused by stress, at least IME. She had been an indoor dog her whole life, and has just recently been moved to being an outdoor-only dog. She's gone from spending the majority of her downtime being kept company by humans, to spending it alone. Going off her reported breed, I'd also be willing to bet this is a somewhat people oriented dog.

You want to teach her to stop vocalizing by equating vocalization with an unpleasant consequence. Unfortunately, this vocalization the outward (behavioral) manifestation of the dog's emotional state, and judging from her situation I'd guess likely emotions are: fear/anxiety, possibly boredom, and likely influenced by physical discomfort/pain. Teach her that she gets shocked every time she tries to express this and you risk escalating those emotions and worsening her behavior, possibly causing an increase in aggression as well as general distress.

In terms of what might help her- make sure she had a very enriching outdoor area (talking chew bones, regular environmental enrichment like feeding puzzles, kongs, pupsickles). Spend more time with her- train, walk, play. Also keep in mind that there usually is a difference between the medications used for pain and those used as behavioral sedatives. Not saying I'd recommend putting this dog on meds necessarily, but just because one class of drug doesn't seem to help doesn't at all mean that another won't.

Side note: you say she's on a high dose of steroids. Have you talked to the vet about the behavioral changes? Steroids often produce strong behavioral changes (in dogs and humans, as someone who has spent time on them for my own autoimmune disease I can attest personally) and an increase in anxiety and sometimes general arousal can happen, which might cause the increased vocalizations.
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