Weekend recap (and behavior update)

Disgruntled, I

We spent our Easter (and my birthday) weekend at my parents’ house for a mini-family reunion. While I was too busy (or lazy?) to take photos, we did spend lots of time with Pyrrha, taking walks and observing her on-leash behavior.

Behavior Notes

  • She spent the majority of the weekend hanging out with her girlfriend Dublin, which was nice. The two of them get along well, as they always have. They’ll wrestle for a few minutes, perhaps fight over a toy or an old bone, and then go lounge in separate corners of the yard.
  • She had some GI issues over the weekend, which I won’t go into further, but I am beginning to think that our girl has a sensitive stomach. I’ve finally learned that she can’t handle rawhides or most chews. I want to try deer antlers, though, because I’ve heard those aren’t as upsetting. Do any of you have a dog with a sensitive stomach? Do you have any chews/bones that work for your dog? She LOVES chewing and she adores bones, so I hate to deprive her of them entirely, but they make her so sick.
  • Her on-leash reactivity was mostly OK. We walked her with Dublin (a confident, no-nonsense dog who isn’t rattled by anything) several times, and Pyrrha did not have any aggressive reactions to any dogs that we passed or encountered. This was encouraging. There was one moment, however, when she was on-leash by herself with me, and a leashed dog walked down the street. Pyrrha barked at this dog, but that was the only response.

All of your comments and advice have been immensely helpful. I am planning on re-reading Control Unleashed and trying LAT with her on our walks in the neighborhood. I think your suggestions that her aggressive display is a function of fear/trying to act tougher than she actually feels is accurate. Dublin’s presence on our walks suggests to me that Pyrrha felt “protected” by Dublin and thus no need to put on a show for other dogs; with baby Laszlo, however, I imagine she felt like she needed to guard him against other dogs, OR she felt more nervous and unsure about what to do with other dogs when she was with a puppy companion.

Anyway. More to come on this issue, I am sure. We are traveling AGAIN this weekend, this time to visit Georgia and my in-laws! So, more dog stories to come!


16 thoughts on “Weekend recap (and behavior update)

  1. I’m happy things are improving as far as her aggression. As far as rawhide, it could be dangerous. If she bites off a small piece and swallows it it could get stuck or she could choke in it.. NylaBone might satisfy her craving to chew.

    1. Thanks! Yes, we can’t do rawhide with her anymore (stomach upset). I’ve tried Nylabones before, but she is such a tough chewer that it just makes her gums bleed! She tries to DESTROY them. I am thinking of trying deer/elk antlers.

      1. I commented below that our sensitive dog does well with deer antlers, but when she gets really into it they DO make her gums bleed sometimes, so this might not solve your problem there, unfortunately.

      2. Our boys are power chewers and have had minor bleeding from antlers. Eddie had one of the largest sizes of Durachew which worked well because he couldn’t put as much force on it as he could with the regular ones. We did still have to supervise since his gums couldn’t handle it for too long at first.

  2. I have a dog with a very sensitive stomach and she has never had any problem with deer antlers. However, she isn’t always super into chewing and usually prefers frozen kongs.

  3. If you decide to try antlers you might want to experiment with small parts first to see if she likes them and also to find out which type is best for her. In terms of toughness deer is the least, followed by elk, then moose. Good luck 🙂

  4. This may sound a bit off-the-wall but when I rescued a very traumatized dog I hooked her uyp to my confident afraid-of-nothing dog with a coupler for all on-leash walks…Cecil took all her cues from Murph and in time gained great confidence and poise…Just a thought

  5. Poor Pyrrha, upset stomachs are no fun! Elka is quite fond of Kongs, and we haven’t yet tried any sort of antlers. I’ve heard that a lot of dogs love them and do quite well, though.

  6. Hi Abby. My Daisy has a very sensitive stomach and does not tolerate bones. I went to the butcher and he sourced some oxtail for me which he cut into pieces. I boil them in water for about 15 minutes and the cool. These are very tasty. Daisy loves them. She is a picky eater and hasn’t responded to antlers, unfortunately. But, I have clients who use them and they are very popular. Another chew that Daisy likes (plus I sell them to clients) is smoked deer hooves. They don’t upset her stomach, either. Ziwipeak makes these. Good luck!

  7. What kind of food do you give Pyrrha? Sometimes stomach problems aren’t only due to chewing bones (although most rawhide bones can be difficult to digest for a lot of dogs), but also due to the food they get. Dry food for dogs can be difficult to digest as well and can cause stomach trouble as well. Dry foods contain grains and a lot of chemical additions to enhance both flavor and color, and a dog’s body often doesn’t know what to do with all this, since a dog doesn’t digest these substances.
    This is why we put our dog on a diet of the only thing a dog actually really needs, something their body was made to digest in the first place: raw meat! We put our Great Dane on the raw diet when he came to live with us as a puppy and he grew up fantastically on this diet! We’re getting a new puppy this Summer which will be put on the raw diet as well a.s.a.p.
    Perhaps it’s something you can consider with regards to Pyrrha’s stomach problems…
    Whatever you should decide: good luck and I hope her stomach won’t give her too much troubles in the future!!

    1. Thanks, Karolien! Pyrrha is on Taste of the Wild, a dry kibble that is grain-free. She was doing great with it for almost a year, but the past month, she’s had stomach upset every other week. We’re still trying to figure out what it could be. We may need to switch her to another high-quality food. Right now, we unfortunately do not have the time or budget to feed raw, although I’d like to at some point. I appreciate the input!

      1. Taste of the wild is indeed a good quality dry
        Oh, I’m surprised to hear that raw food is rather expensive in other countries, I didn’t realize that. Over here it’s much cheaper than dry kibble. For a good quality dry kibble, you easily pay double the price than you would for raw food. The only downside is that in the beginning it is indeed a little time-consuming, but once you get used to the process and you know by heart what you can give in which quantities, it doesn’t take long to put meals together.
        Over here we also have raw food that is sold in ready-to-give packages, so you don’t have to study the quantities of each type of meat you have to give; but you can give raw food without having the trouble of making all those calculations, but you still have the advantages of feeding raw.
        Whatever the solution may be for Pyrrha, I wish you good luck in finding the right food for her. The most important thing is that you find something that doesn’t upset her stomach anymore.

  8. TOTW is a good food. My own pup is given Horizon Legacy, no gut issues at all.It’s fabulous!
    In the past (other dogs) a small amount of PURE tinned pumpkin has helped short term tummy upsets.

    Pyrrha might have an allergy to even one ingredient in the TOTW she is receiving now?
    read your list and maybe ask TOTW if they have made any change at all in the formula.
    Even a small change could be the source of her problems?

    I usually use nylabones but earlier in the week I bought a 1/2 antler- (sliced length-wise) & did for the very first time (he is almost 6 months old) note some loose stools. Musta been the antler?, I’ll hold it back for 48 hours and restart him for only short periods of time every second day. and see what happens. Think we prefer the nylabone.

    no, never rawhide, never ever!

    anything in the yard she could be eating? any chemicals from a neighbour? is she licking something in the house? nerves?
    is her skin OK? itchy/dry?
    what do her poops look like? smell? colour? frequency?consistency? have you had a stool for O&P done? cheapest place to start, then go from there.

    Wishing you luck in this mystery. 🙂

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