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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
I'm surprised no one gave a thought about the flea and tick, Activyl, we use as I think that also plays into his demeanor.
Your original post prompted me to look up the side effects of indoxacarb and I found little if anything which would connect the dots. As long as the dose is within reason, any side effects seemed to be minimal especially since it is used topically. Ingestion of indoxacarb is a different story however, maladies such as anemia, weight loss and ataxia are possible.

I guess if it were me and you didn't previously use Activyl, I would use a different product with fipronil or some other brand which doesn't contain indoxacarb. I suppose you have to start somewhere and since you have a hunch this might play into the situation at hand, I'd nix the Activyl. Wouldn't it be nice if it ends up being that easy. I'm guessing you probably have already pursued this course or will when the next dosage is due.
Thank you for looking into it. However, Activyl is what my agency purchases and provides for my partner. Anything else (currently) would come out of my pocket to try. So, for the time being, when I get back to work, I'm going to see how he's acting, if he's still acting lethargic, I'll assume it's the kenneling problem.

But if he's happy, got his energy back and continues to work well, I'll advise my supervisors about the issue or even try using half the dosage to see if affects him the same. If the half dosage does still affect him, or causes fleas/ticks, I'll advise my supervisor that the Activyl is causing this issue with him and will need to be placed on another brand.

When the place is that crowded then there's a huge chance that your dog might be stress, I would also suggest you allow him to rest atleast half an hour during his duty. Dog also get tired and with the kind of environment that he has comes the fact that he will immediately get tired even if his on work which won't be good. I would suggest that you buy him a crate mad or pad so that he will have comfortable place to sleep, you can find cheap beds on good quality at pet street mall if you don't have a time to visit the nearest pet store. What did the vet said after the check up? How was your K9 doing now?
Thank you for your suggestions. He does get plenty of down time during our shift when it's slow so I'd say he at minimum gets more than 30 minutes of rest. He never gets worked more than 20 minutes at a time, with plenty of cool water on his breaks. Sometimes though, I feel like it creates an overlapping issue when given breaks.

For example: Get to work, work 20 minutes, given a 10-15 break. Get back to work, he's a little tired from relaxing in his break, doesn't work that well for the next 10-20 minutes. Given another 10-15 break, he's even more tired from relaxing/cat napping on his break, doesn't work well for 10-15 minutes. And the vicious cycle continues until our shift is over and by the end of shift he's dragging ass, even after an easy day.

The vet said everything looked good on his annual check up. Of course he wasn't going to display his lethargic temperament at the vet's office as it had all sorts of different smells and it was a new place for him. However, I told the vet about his tiredness and she asked about ticks. I said about 3 months back I found 2 ticks on him, which she did a blood test and everything came out normal.

My K9 still acts the way I've been describing. I'll look into lining the kennel floor with a rubber mat if him trying to use a bed doesn't work.
 

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Thank you for your input. He's always has been a spinner in the kennel since I acquired him as my partner at K9 school, so it's not something new as of late. I just know he does it a lot and it's probably something that tires him out. Unfortunately the 4'x6' (rough estimate) size kennel is the only choice I have for him. On our working days when it's slow, I let him in my assigned vehicle to get some peace and quiet and that's when he usually gets the most tired. (It looks like catch up rest to me)

I'm going to do my research on putting my go pro in his kennel to monitor what he does during our off hours to provide my superiors some proof of little rest when I calculate his 'rest' time. After that, I'm sure getting him a bed will be easy, otherwise I'll ask to provide him a raised bed out of my pocket. I mean, our agency spends a lot of money on these dogs, you'd think they'd want what's best for these dogs as I do. But yes, all that's available to him to lay down on in his kennel is the concrete, otherwise a rubber mat in my vehicle.

I'm not sure what you mean by "he should be washed". If you are referring to him being retired etc, I highly doubt that would happen because I know when he works, he works well and has a great nose. His tiredness would have to be a full-on problem from here on out and it would have to be documented from a trainer before he would ever be retired early or sent back to school.

I'm actually considering transferring within my agency to a different location because I would like to get away from my current spot because I know if my partner got to the right location, with better trainers and better kennel facilities, he would thrive. I'm not looking to transfer just because of the kennel situation, but also for personal and family reasons as well.
If he's always done the kennel spinning then he shouldnt have been trained for service work in the first place. That is a sign of stress. If he doesn't settle in his kennel he is stressed out. It is cruel to work a dog that is stressed out and I don't think this dog should be worked based on what you're telling me both about his work ethic and his stressor signals. So yes I do believe he should be retired / washed as a service dog and given as a companion to someone knowledgeable on mals.
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This entire situation is sad. For us to sit here and say its not right and and and is all good and well on paper, but it is huge thing to take on your employer on this. I take my hat of to you for being brave enough to raise the questions you did and being honest about the conditions and trying to find a way to better your partners life. From everything you said the transfer might be the best solution for both of you if the other facility is run better.
 

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I didn't read this whole thread but it doesn't take long to see a problem. I'm glad you are concerned.

I trained for quite a while with LEO K9 dogs and officers. The work these dogs do is extremely taxing on the dogs. That's why it takes the extremely high drive dogs to work properly. This level of dog is rarely seen by most and is simple not understood. Nose work is especially taxing. Mentally the dog is on edge 100 % of the time yet has to present a certain calmness. I used to stress physical fitness for the dogs. Some ran on treadmills but others were good swimmers and just plain runners. Being cooped up just doesn't let the dog unwind properly. These dogs are driven internally to work but they still need something else just as we do. When we work in stressful jobs we need something to unwind at. Health clubs, outside activities , hobbies etc. otherwise it leads to breakdowns. I'm sure you have seen results of this.

My own Aussie is an extreme dog. She is so focused in training exercises that an hour and a half or hard work will menta exhaust her for a while. She needs a quiet comfortable rest. Then she is ready to go again.

I think you dog is approaching a " break down" . I haven seen but a couple reach this but they were in situations where it was all work then home to the kennel. I once had an officer spend an hour in a darkened kennel by himself then presented with an explosive confrontation. Picture an angry DI berating a new recruit. I think you get the idea.

K9 dogs need to get a really good bond outside of work with their handlers. I d work on this. You have a hand full of issues and I'm glad you are trying to solve them.
 

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I think that maybe I'm a bit confused on the type of facility. When you say service k9 do you mean service work for disability, or service work for military / police force? I have no experience working with police force dogs and military dogs so excuse my mistake for thinking you meant service dog as in disability work.

I really feel sad for this dog as I don't think he should be worked in the mental state he seems to be either way, however it sounds like you don't have much say in whether he works or not.
 

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Thank you for looking into it. However, Activyl is what my agency purchases and provides for my partner. Anything else (currently) would come out of my pocket to try. So, for the time being, when I get back to work, I'm going to see how he's acting, if he's still acting lethargic, I'll assume it's the kenneling problem.

But if he's happy, got his energy back and continues to work well, I'll advise my supervisors about the issue or even try using half the dosage to see if affects him the same. If the half dosage does still affect him, or causes fleas/ticks, I'll advise my supervisor that the Activyl is causing this issue with him and will need to be placed on another brand.
Not sure half a dose is the way to go, but you can buy something like Frontline+ @ Costco, and though they don't exactly give it away, you won't have to do a 2nd on your house for it. Fleas can be so distressing for a dog, IMO its cruel to not provide seamless protection for them.

If you transfer, would you be able to take your current canine partner? From what you said, I'm guessing that would be part of the transfer.
 

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There has been some research done on the propensity for sleep deprivation and effects thereof in kennel environments:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5061428/

https://books.google.com/books?id=LOJTcpUrr80C&pg=PA182&lpg=PA182&dq=dog+shelter+sleep+deprivation&source=bl&ots=kRqjzTAuA6&sig=XodQ-pmWjuvGrqv8ObBNIwP7sPQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjuu8rX_9PSAhXGwiYKHQCqANU4ChDoAQg0MAc#v=onepage&q=dog shelter sleep deprivation&f=false

That's not necessarily to say that your dog is sleep deprived, but it wouldn't be entirely unexpected with him living in a kennel environment during his "down time". Imagine if you were bunking with 10 or 20 other people in the same area, and it was a constant parade of people coming and going throughout the day (and night?), new people visiting, etc. Does he spin all day? If so, it might be worthwhile to try to recondition him to relax, instead. There are conditioning programs (relaxation protocol, some others) which, over time, can teach the dog to relax when exposed to a given stimuli. Even if you get him more relaxed in the kennel, you still might see those sort of behaviors during high stress times like shift changes, feeding times, etc, but he more be more apt to sleep or rest during the more quiet times. You might also see improvement in his behavior by reducing stimulus in some fashion so he's more apt to relax on his own. Maybe try kenneling him at one end of a row of kennels, so he only has another dog on one side, or ask if you can try putting up a visual barrier (plywood, posterboard/cardboard, tarp, just make sure he can't ingest it, not sure how feasible that is in your situation) on one or more sides of the kennel to reduce the amount of constant visual stimulus in the environment. This would be the equivalent of you putting a curtain around your area in the 20 person bunk I mentioned earlier- it wouldn't help everyone, but it might help some to get better rest.

I take my dog to work with me in a kennel, and because he likes to bark constantly when there is activity, I kennel him in one of the more quiet areas, where there are usually fewer dogs, and doors on the ends so I can reduce stimulus if he gets too over the top. He actually sleeps a lot most days- I look in on him frequently when I pass by. If he were in one of the busier areas, he'd be barking non-stop for most of the day, and I have seen him rather tired at the end of one of those days. Where I work, the kennel area usually gets very quiet when we leave at the end of the day, but in the morning or if I have had to return later in the night, everyone gets up and becomes active again, shifting around, barking/whining, etc. I would imagine that if you have shifts working around the clock, there is very little true quiet/rest time in that environment, so your dog must either become a "rock hard" sleeper, or miss out on sleep. Given his breed, and their reputation for hypervigilance, I would guess the latter is more likely.

I can understand the idea behind not giving him toys during non-working times, but wonder if maybe a chew/food item would be appropriate (I honestly don't know)? If so, maybe find an appropriate bone or chew for him, and provide him with that when you leave him after work shifts. A bed or platform to sleep on might make him more apt to rest, and will definitely be better for him over the long term than laying on concrete.

I don't know what opportunities you have to "compare notes" with other agencies/departments, but you might reach out and see how other facilities manage their dogs, and what they have found works and doesn't. If other facilities are using a given protocol successfully, that adds a lot of weight for you to ask to have it implemented in your facility. Likewise, if they have tried things unsuccessfully, you will know not to make the same mistake. Good luck, and thank you for your hard work and dedication to your partner!
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions and inputs. I think at this point, everyone had pretty much summed up everything I need to try to help address my partners issues.

The next thing that's needs to happen is getting video proof of inside his kennel and to go from there.

I'll break down every minute he looks as if he's getting rest, calculate the total and present it to my supervisor. Then I'll suggest getting him a bed on the agencies dollar, or even suggest getting him one myself. Once I get a raised bed installed, I'll record once again and calculate how much rest time he gets. Hopefully it'll improve drastically and it'll end there. I'm also going to experiment with doing a smaller dosage of the Activyl as I feel that's partially causing him some issues.

After all of that, I'll talk with some senior handlers on possibly getting him some sort of toy for his run and see if he even enjoys it. Maybe some kind of ball/Kong thing that doesn't conflict with his actual toy reward when getting a find.

Thanks all. I'll report back as progress is being made.
 
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