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Hi! I have a 5 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback male. He was not raised with children and is a retired AKC champion showdog. When I purchased him from the breeder I explained our lifestyle ( we travel a lot in the summer and take our dogs with us) plus we have 4 kids. We are very active and on the go. She said he would be a perfect dog for us and our family. I had him driven up from Florida to Montana. The driver said he was a bit anxious in the vehicle and a really hard dog to figure out. When he got home, we welcomed him and walked him through our home. I kept the kids at bay so he could adjust. Right away I noted his anxiety but really chalked it up to a new home. Him and our other dog hit it off right away, no problems at all. He's a very sweet dog, but even after 5 months, his anxiety is through the roof and it is all directed at my children, but mostly my 16 year old. He growls at him when he gets home from school or walks in a room and paces, won't be on the same floor of the house and even gets so anxious his anal glands are expressing. ( I think thats what it is, it's a horrible smell).He also growls at the small kids but not every time like when my son walks into the room. He won't eat if my son is upstairs. We have another dog who is blind and my son cares for 100%. My son is patient and kind, doesn't yell and is over all a very gentle person . I have discussed this with our vet who is recommending anxiety meds. We have taken all of her advice, have my son feed him, have him give treats with no eye contact, take him for walks, ect. The dog won't eat if my son brings the food, will not accept treats from him, even if he places them on the floor, and is so terrified to be by him, that a walk is out of the question. The breeder said he has never presented as anxious except in the car. Didn't tell me that until after we got him. When I take him in the vehicle to the vet, he has his blanket and his spot. He gets so anxious that he pants and drools everywhere. Last time I had to have the air in stomach let out because he bloated from anxiety and the car ride.
My question is, is it possible this is just not a good fit for him? I feel so badly that he is so anxious and I don't even know how we are going to go on our summer road trips. I don't like drugging a dog to make him fit into our lifestyle either. It's hard to ask this as our only other dog we've had since she was 8 weeks. We spend $180 a month on her allergy meds and love her old blind self(she's 11 now). It's not that we give up easily, but I feel he's miserable and it makes it miserable for everyone. Would this be a circumstance to send him back to the breeder?
 

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Hi. Is it in the contract that you need to return him to the breeder if you can't keep him? I ask because I'd be concerned that she rehomed him to another unsuitable environment. I realise you don't want to give up on him, but it must be horribly stressful for him as well as for you, and it could go on for some years.

But I think if it were me, and this is only my opinion, I'd try with the medication for a few weeks. It might just be that in that time he realises your son is ok, and he can come off them (or use them only for occasions like car trips).
 

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It is in the contract that he has to be returned to her. I think she is a good dog owner and really cares about her dogs, I just think he has a lot of anxiety about everything being so different. I struggle with medication only because this isn't something he had before. I don't want to bandage an issue because it works for us, I want him to be happy too. I can see what you are saying though, that maybe meds will help him ease into liking my son and get over that hump. It's worth a try although, I suspect the anxiety is so great, I don't think he will ever like him. The poor dear, just shakes and trembles. It's the oddest thing. He has no discernable reason that we can figure out why. Like I said, my son has never been can or overbearing with him. And it's a fight or flight fear. Like he will knock over anything or anyone in a panic if he feels my son is getting too close or suddenly realizes that my son has come into the room. It's heartbreaking
 

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Maybe a person who in some way resembled your son hurt or scared him in the past? Who knows, but it is what it is.
 

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Maybe a person who in some way resembled your son hurt or scared him in the past? Who knows, but it is what it is.
That's what we are wondering. Maybe a handler? Or someone at a show? It's such a deep fear. Like he's terrified. He's such a beautiful dog and so sweet. It's killing me to see him so afraid!
 

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He may never like your son, but it could be worth a shot to try with the meds to get him over the terror. And some people with anxiety cope so much better on medication - it doesn't have to make him into a zombie, and could make a life free of anxiety so much better for him. I totally understand your reluctance though.
 

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Maybe a person who in some way resembled your son hurt or scared him in the past? Who knows, but it is what it is.
Do
He may never like your son, but it could be worth a shot to try with the meds to get him over the terror. And some people with anxiety cope so much better on medication - it doesn't have to make him into a zombie, and could make a life free of anxiety so much better for him. I totally understand your reluctance though.
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I'm going to bring him back into our vet this week and discuss this further. He needs some relief. Anxiety is a horrible thing to live with.

Thank you!
 
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