Friday, June 28, 2013

Off topic-the good and the bad about having a really smart dog

If you have read my blog for any length of time you are aware I share my life with dogs, oh yeah and The Husband. Five dogs. I would love more, but The Husband disagrees. So does Barney.
Barney adores fabric, if any fabric hits the floor, he is on it.

This post is about Barney, our Border Collie/Labrador Retriever cross. Barney is the Einstein of the dog world. Seriously. He is smart. Scary smart.

Barney is a rescue, he was in our yard for minutes when he figured out he could open The Gate To Freedom, so now we have to have carabiners on the gates to keep Barney contained. He can find any gap or weakness in any fence. He is our self walking dog. We have always been grateful he doesn't have opposable thumbs, god only know what he would be capable of (yes I know, bad grammar, don't care).

Barney is very protective of children and anyone he figures can't protect themselves (he is a pretty good judge). Aunt Edna for example, Edna has cerebral palsy and is mentally and physically challenged. A couple of years ago she had to stay in our home for a couple of days, and Barney decided he had to guard her through the night. One morning I got up, opened to door to the room to get Barney outside for his morning pee, I guess I surprised him as him as he let out a growl unlike anything I have ever heard from him before. He quickly realized it was me, and was rather embarrassed by his error in judgement. I really believe he would have attacked if it was someone he didn't know. Good Barbar, taking care of Aunt Eddie.

In recent years Barney has developed an extreme fear of thunderstorms. Salivating, crying, shaking, he is clearly terrified. It is awful to see him like this, as he is usually fearless. He then made the connection between rain and thunder, and now he is frightened of heavy rain as well. Nothing we do seems to help.

We resorted to pharmaceuticals. We started giving him peanut butter (the only time he gets peanut butter BTW) with his Valium when the weather got too much for him. Works like a hot damn, he gets stoned and sleeps through the storms now. Then his bad mom forgot to refill his prescription, so I thought I would try giving him just peanut butter, couldn't hurt, right?  Guess what? It works, he made the connection between the peanut butter and feeling better. I have a dog so smart that a placebo effect works. Scary.

Update-The PB seems to work for a small/short thunderstorm, if thunder continues for more than 20 minutes, he needs the real thing. We have reduced the size of his dose by half however, and now Barney doesn't just sit around with glazed eyes, eating junk food and listening to Pink Floyd all day. It's all good.

16 comments:

  1. How great is that. The peanut butter effect! Better than drugs.

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  2. OMG-you have to tell your vet. That is wonderful! Good Barney.

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    1. It never occurred to me to tell our vet! How dumb is that? We don't have to go in for a tune up till next year, and hopefully nothing comes up between now and then (she said with her fingers crossed).

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  3. Such a handsome fella! My grandpa J has a border collie that is crazy smart too--I think it's a perk of the breed. :-) As for the rest of the story, that's fantastic!! Just think about how much cheaper peanut butter is...

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  4. That is fantastic! -better to fill the scrip just in case, but yay! It was a gift when my old wolvish prince lost the last of his hearing, because thunderstorms, fireworks, and hunting season all got alot easier for all of us. I hope the placebo effect lasts!

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  5. That's awesome! I've considered Valium (for Crystal, not me), but living in Florida, I'd have to give her one every afternoon from June 1 thru Octoberish. And then sporadically the rest of the year. Crystal is so afraid of rain and storms, poor thing. We recently bought a Thunder Shirt, as this rainy season she seems worse. Much to my surprise, the shirt really helps! It's not 100%, but a serious improvement - maybe 75%. I hope the PB continues to work for Barney. He's a cutie.

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    1. I may have to try this too, today the PB didn't work. we had a thunderstorm overhead for several hours of continuous rumbling. Maybe PB and a thunder shirt. How is Zelda?

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  6. Peanut butter - a placebo! How fantastic is that. Still maybe you better fill the script just in case :)

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  7. That's hysterical! Although, I tend to use peanut butter as comfort when I'm feeling stressed too, so maybe there is something to it... LOL

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  8. Barney's owner is smart, too. And caring.

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  9. Awww... there's nothing much more distressing than watching a favourite pooch dissolve into a blubbery, dribbling, shaking mess when the thunder starts rumbling!! He's beautiful. AND smart. I loved reading this :)

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  10. What a trooper! 2 out of 3 of our dachshunds are unphased by all but the vacuum- Katze however lays under the sofa and cries and 'deflates' during storms or fireworks. I have resorted to using her sisters 'puppy benadryl'
    to calm her. It's hard to see them so upset!

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  11. Oh I love this story. My dog is afraid of thunder, which translated into a fear of rain and now into a fear of dark nights. So guess who has to stand outside when he decides to go out in the middle of the night! I'm trying the peanut butter-valium trick (but I'll use Benedryl since the vet suggested it) and then just move to peanut butter...thanks for the tip.

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  12. Oh, that's fantastic!!! I'm so glad little Benny doesn't have to take drugs anymore! There is also supposed to be a 'vest' you can purchase that hugs the dog and is supposed to make them feel safe and not afraid in a thunderstorm. I've seen it at some petstores and am sure you can order it online. Don't know if it works, but seems to work for some dogs.

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  13. Love this post on so many levels.

    Hubby always says our dog limit is three. He still says that even though we're at ten. And he brings most of them home.

    My Monty, a big scary Chow Doberman mix was terrified of thunder storms along with almost any other loud noise. I'd give him valium for the worst storms and he learned that it made him feel better. At the first sound of thunder he'd come to me, get smack in front of me, sit and look in my eyes, then shudder. I knew it meant that he thought he needed a fix. If I thought it was going to be a bad storm I'd give in. If it was just a quick shower I'd go sit in the closet with him.
    Sue

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  14. Love this post.We also have a dog called Barney but I am afraid that he also has the nickname,and I hasten to add it is an affectionate family one, of "The Idiot".He is no Einstein of the canine world and if he had opposable thumbs he would only trip up them.I had a truly crappy pet-related day yesterday and your post when I read it made me smile and laugh.Thank you.

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