Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

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KittyNyanNyan
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Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby KittyNyanNyan » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:56 pm

Hey guys! I had a couple questions about a lab mix in one of my classes. She is a very sweet girl, about 7 months old, give or take a few weeks. When she first started my classes, she was the most quiet and sweet dog I had ever seen. She was eager to please, extremely attentive and and very responsive. At my recommendation, her owners got her spayed as soon as her vet okay'd it.

After the spay, she was a completely different dog. She started jumping and barking (which I attributed to the crate rest and recommended increased mental and physical exercise). She became very vocal in class and demanding of attention, which I again attributed to the crate rest and lack of exercise. One thing became troubling to her parents and me. Evidently she started becoming aggressive around her bed, crate and food and toys.

From the sounds of it, it sounds like it began to occur when she was tired at night. I advised her parents to give her her space, and not approach her without offering treats or something good to show that they weren't going to bother her. I also advised them to not get in her face when she was tired and allow her to mellow out. I also advised them to not take anything away from her while she was on her bed, such as chewies or toys, at least until she had connected their presence with something pleasing.

She also started to snap at her parents when being put in the crate. Previously, she was able to be asked to get into the crate, she would do so eagerly and they were able to treat her and close the door. Now they have to bait the crate, let her go in, and try to quickly close the door before she began to lunge and bite at their hands. Sometimes they can't latch the door properly due to her lunging so quickly. It's gotten to the point where her pet parents are afraid to deal with her. I asked if anything had changed, and they where adamant that nothing had changed. I advised them to start crate training her from the beginning, but I was wondering if anyone had any insight as to what was going on to cause such a drastic regression in behavior.

They have already contacted a behaviorist to help them at home, as well as continue classes with me. We both have recommended NILIF, which has helped ease some of the behavior. The dog has also stopped being responsive in class, and I'm about to ask them to get out of group lessons and into Private Lessons. I asked the parents to video the behaviors as well, and I was wondering if anyone had any insight. I'll include the text as well.

"Good Morning Samantha,
Here are a few videos that we took last night of Tipper when we put her in her kennel. She was not as bad last night, but she still growled and pawed at the kennel. There are four series of short videos. She had little reaction in the first one. The second video is when Blane went to turn off the light, so I captured that. The remaining two videos are me talking to her to ease her. The final few seconds is me then leaving the room. Also, the name of the behavorist is Lecreca Taliaferro and her phone number is 817-***-****.
Thanks for your help"

Link to files:

https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1381542594/4 ... 92a77cafe7

To sum it up:
What could cause such a drastic change in behavior? Right after a spay?
What else can I recommend other then NILIF, connecting their presence with a positive, respecting Tips' space, starting crate training over and increasing exercise?
Has anyone heard of the behaviorist? Yay or nay?

Thanks everyone! She's such a sweet dog . . I just don't know what could have happened, I've never seen it before.

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dogs4jen
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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby dogs4jen » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:26 am

Acepromezine, a commonly used per-op sedative can cause behavior changes, but it could be just coincidence she started changing after her spay too.

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby Red » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:03 am

I'll add to the questions later and I am not able to see the videos on my tablet at the moment.Did you get a written and formal consent to put those videos on line?

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby KittyNyanNyan » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:14 am

I had their verbal consent, but I'll be writing them back tonight to get a formal and written consent.

Since my internet connection is spotty, it's taking me well over an hour to download each and every video, however I have gotten past the first two. One, I'm noticing them talking to her an antagonizing her almost in a baby voice . . which I don't think happens on an everyday basis, but I'll ask them to make sure. It looks like it's causing the dog anxiety and causing her to react that way.

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby Mooresmajestic » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:23 am

Can't watch the vid on my phone.

What is the exact time frame for this behavior? As in how many hours/days after surgery did it start? How much was she crated prior to surgery, how much during recovery, how much after the recommended two weeks? Any medications given at home after surgery? Any change in environment? Moved the crate from one side of the room to the other? Any changes in how they put her in her crate?

That's all I can think of right now.... I'm sure there will be more.

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby Shutterwolf » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:24 am

hmm this is very interesting.. my girl just got even more loving then she already was (which i didnt know was possible) and a bit more lazy after the spay. im definitely interested in hearing the outcome and i wish them the best of luck with their lab. hope everything turns out ok

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby Mooresmajestic » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:38 am

"The last two videos are me talking to ease her"

This statement in the text pretty much sums it up. From what little info posted so far I'm going to guess that the bigger fuss the dog puts up, the bigger deal they make out of the situation?

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby lilangel » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:22 pm

Actually, there is anecdotal evidence that spaying some females before they have reach 12-14+ months up to physical and social maturity can result in undesirable behavior changes such as increased sound sensitivity, increased territoriality, increased vocalizing and in certain cases increased frequency and magnitude of aggression towards owners and others with whom the dog has frequent contact. It can also result in physiological difficulties such as disrupted growth of reproductive structures, growth plate anomalies, generalized skeletal deformity, Hip deformities and CCL rupture.

These may be contributing factors of the spay/neuter movement to the increased volume of behavioral issues and joint diseases over the last decade or more. This is not to say that spay and neuter is wrong. Quite the contrary. It is necessary. I think the fallout is worth it if we can decrease the numbers of animals murdered each year and the fallout can be managed better through education. What we really need is more studies. Anecedotal evidence is not enough, but it is strong here and suggests disturbing trends.

It of course depends on each individual dog, but they tend to sway one way or the other. Dogs that are more prone to aggression and territoriality become more so and more subdued dogs will remain subdued.

While behavior change in these dogs is certainly possible, the behaviors themselves tend to be quite resilient and professional assistance should be sought, especially if aggression is involved. Since the OP is not equipped to manage this situation, which I am deducing from the fact that she posted here and recommended spaying of such a young dog that is owned and not in rescue or shelter, I would strongly suggest referral to a competent behavior professional.

This has the potential to spark off a considerable debate but for the purposes of this person's post, these are trends being observed and what you are seeing is not surprising.

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby KittyNyanNyan » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:59 am

Actually, they have talked to me and told me that they DO talk to her on a daily basis just like pictured in the video. If they don't talk to her, her aggression gets worse. They are currently working with a behaviorist but I'm not quite sure on the woman's credentials.

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby KittyNyanNyan » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:02 am

Mooresmajestic wrote:"The last two videos are me talking to ease her"

This statement in the text pretty much sums it up. From what little info posted so far I'm going to guess that the bigger fuss the dog puts up, the bigger deal they make out of the situation?


From my understanding it is with the behaviorist's advice that they try to talk her down. If they try to leave or enter the room, she begins growling and barking.

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby lilangel » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:08 am

I just watched the last two videos. They are pretty large files so I don't have tie to watch more. I will reiterate that this should be handled by a competent behavior professional. I do not like how the camera was put in the dog's face, nor do I like the "talking down" of the dog and ignoring the escalation of the problem behavior in such a way. Whoever the "behaviorist" is, if they suggest such a tactic I have a hard time believing they are credentialed or formally educated in behavior change. What is shown in the video should have nothing to do with intervention so if the owners were asked to do this, that is not good, IMO.

This is just based on the little I have seen and the description.

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby amalie79 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:35 pm

I'm certainly not a professional behaviorist...

But watching the first couple of videos, she went right into the crate and they stopped her. I know they were trying to film it, but she's so clearly uncomfortable with what's going on-- both the making her wait and the chatter. She spends most of the videos looking anxious, and is clearly suspicious of that camera. If it were me, I think I'd have turned out the light and left while she was still gnawing on that treat or put her in there with a peanut butter kong while I turned out the light, etc. She went in perfectly willingly without the need for the treats in the first place. Is her crate in their bedroom? Could it be moved there if not?

If the spay was an uncomfortable event, as it very well may have been, and she was crated for the recovery, she could be associating being left in the crate with what was, for her, a bad experience-- especially if they didn't provide a lot of mental stimulation or if she wasn't used to being crated for that long. And picking up on the use of Ace in surgeries... Ace is a sedative, but doesn't necessarily make the dog unconscious or alleviate anxiety, as it's sometimes used for. If the dog takes the Ace and isn't fully asleep, he or she is now fully aware of what's going on around her and yet is unable to do anything about it, resulting in increased anxiety. Ugh.

At that age, too, it could be coincidental that the spay happened as she was reaching sexual maturity but right before she'd gone into a full-blown heat with all the signs.

Just a few thoughts...

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby KittyNyanNyan » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:40 am

Update : I talked to the owners on Friday about the potential options for the dog. I told them that they cannot do two different types of training methods at once on the dog (i.e positive reinforcement with me, while using aversive techniques that the vet/behaviorist recommended). They seemed slightly confused at my suggestion but I reiterated that I would rather them return the classes with me then confuse the dog further. They had reached the point where they were going to return the dog to the breeder.

A few days later, they returned the class. I wish the best of luck for all of those involved. Yelling and challenging her daily can only bring about aggression . . I worry for her.

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby Red » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:21 am

KittyNyanNyan wrote:Update : I talked to the owners on Friday about the potential options for the dog. I told them that they cannot do two different types of training methods at once on the dog (i.e positive reinforcement with me, while using aversive techniques that the vet/behaviorist recommended).


What aversive techniques did this behaviorist suggested?

I watched the videos, but the camera was not positioned so that it would be possible to see what the owners were doing before the dog started to growl and show distance increase behaviors. Do you know if both owners were present in all the videos?

The dog should not be lured to enter the crate.Instead, some crate games should take place, so that the dog starts looking at the crate as a fun place to be , where she has control through operant behaviors, and not necessarily right before it is bed time and long time confinement happens. Did you say that they are yelling at her? Her body language in the crate was of a dog who is uncomfortable and, in a couple of occasions, she turned her head with a specific meaning and nobody seemed to follow up or understand it, since they continued to tape and did not change their position.I cannot see that, but the dog's body language suggests it.

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Re: Extreme Behavior Change after Spay

Postby KittyNyanNyan » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:54 am

The behaviorist and vet both recommended to "assert their dominance" by staring her down for 30 + minutes a day or at least until she refused to make eye contact (which is what we teach as a focusing command at PetSmart - kind of a retreat if the dog is scared). They also yell at her when she barks to "out do her". The behaviorist also recommended pushing her out of the way if she didn't move to show that they were the boss. They would also raise their voice, say no, point at her and lock on for eye contact if she ever got "too excited".


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