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I have a question about a pup with an old tail injury?

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  • I have a question about a pup with an old tail injury?

    Wel, I have a little Lhasa Apso named "Matie" that is about 3 years old. She is a new client and is very aggressive but she just seems to be terified of everything. The first visit she bit me 1/2 through the groom and well she got me good so i was unable to finish. Today she has bit at me but she seems to not really want to hurt me bc well she easily could have. First thing i noticed once i had her muzzled was that her nails were growing into her dew claws on the back paws so I cut those out cleaned the area and told the owner. Now once we wrestled her and got all her "daggers" cut down I kept her muzzled bc her ears and tail were badly matted. Had to shave her ears but managed to save most of her tail though it is short now. Anyway, near the end of her tail it is obviously broken and folded about 4 times like an accordian. It seems to be an old injury, it wasnt red or swollen and she didnt act it hurt anymore than the rest of her body. I just wonder if it could affect her. She acts terrified and like shes n pain. Her owners are terrified of her they use treats to get her to get in/out of her crate or car bc if they reach for her she will bite. They claim she didnt use to be this way until after they boarded her at this certain vet. I want to help them and her bc that is no way to live. when you hold her she is an angel so loving but then she flinches and bites as son as you reach for her. once he handed her over 2 me she was shaking and growling and peed all over me. shes scared.
    Can the old injury be bothering her? in your opinion was there an accident or incident while being boarded (over a year ago)? or im beginning to question whether she may be abused at home? I hate feeling that way but shes just so scared and a year in a loving home should be enough to alleviate some of those fears, shouldnt it???
    Thankfully, today she got a full groom, not the best but she should definitely be feeling better, im just worried bout her.

  • #2
    You didn't mention how old she was when this supposed accident occured at the boarding kennel. That can make a huge difference. At certain ages, dogs can "imprint" fear, and it's like pulling elephant teeth to dislodge that fear, if it's even possible. Sometimes it's not.

    Part of the problem may be that she's in a loving home with people who don't know how to handle a dog. They may be contributing to the problem by "loving" her instead of disciplining her.

    One word of clarification here. Discipline does not mean punish. It means to teach. This dog needs consistant discipline, not punishment...and not love.

    They should seek out a behavioral trainer for advice.


    • #3
      well, 1st. if she's matted, & nails growing around into her pads, sounds like she's quite neglected at least in the grooming department .... she's probably quite neglected in other areas of her life. I would not groom her unless she was on a strict schedule ... so that grooming is not a terrifying experience. The owners need to understand that they have a difficult case, and waiting until she is a matted mess is not helping.

      2nd point .... don't take her out of dad's arms - have them bring her in on a leash & just hand her off ... no baby talk, just ignore her and calmly bring her back to the grooming area. try to make the whole experience as "un dramatic" as possible.

      & 3rd if it's too much ... and you can't / don't want to handle it, politely offer other suggestions to owners.


      • #4
        The tail injury has probably been there since birth and was either a birth defect or it broke during the birthing process. My dog has a kink in his tail that he was born with and a place I worked at had a cat that was born with 7 kinks in its tail, they named it corkscrew.

        I dare say the owners would know if their dog had gone in with a straight tail and came back with one full of kinks. It probably did have some sort of "traumatic experience" at the vet but I think the owners being terrified of it and having to bribe it with treats is only making a scared dog into an insecure top dog. A good dog trainer could probably do a great deal in helping it and you can help yourself by making sure you stay calm during the grooming process.


        • #5
          When I was a teenager I had a parcel of cats. One of them was a very sweet little girl. One day she got her tail slammed in a door. It broke her tail and her personality was forever changed. She was fearful and skiddish. She was good with me but wouldn't let anyone else come near her. When she about 10 years old she started to mellow and trust people a little bit.

          I know it's a different situation, but if something that traumatic happens, especially in their imprint stage, it can leave a lasting impression.
          "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." -Ambrose Bierce


          • #6
            I agree with Helly on the fear imprint stage. But that is at about 8-12 weeks old. Did you mention the age of the dog? And how old was the dog when they got it? And how long have they had it? Personally I think there has been some trauma done to the dog. But you need to figure out when and where it happened. If it is a foggy explanation by the client, I would possibly suspect that they could have caused it depending on the age of the dog, and how long they had it. Must remind you that birth defects do occur. I have a cat with a crooked tail born that way. So don't jump to conclusions. You need to get a history on the dog. But if an injury occurred to this dog while boarding somewhere, and that changed the behavior from what the dog previously displayed, then you need to look into desensitization
            And you may not be qualified to do that. It takes a tremendous amount of patience. I have done it. Not fun. but very rewarding if done correctly. For both me and the dog. You need to ask the client a lot more questions or work with a good behaviorist..not neccesarily a trainer.


            • #7
              Originally posted by pudel View Post
              I agree with Helly on the fear imprint stage. But that is at about 8-12 weeks old.
              My understanding (and I'm no expert) is that they have a second fear imprint stage around 8-12 months.
              "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." -Ambrose Bierce


              • #8
                Originally posted by keyray View Post
                My understanding (and I'm no expert) is that they have a second fear imprint stage around 8-12 months.
                I do not know of the 8 -12 month period as far as fear imprint goes. But that period of development is when dogs become more serious about protective behaviors. Persistance of problem behaviors, and corrections can be more difficult.
                But if any situation was traumatic enough, I could see it being imprinted on them forever! At any age for that matter.