So after Sunday’s series of events brought to light Bonnie’s true level of anxiety we made a plan of action to change about our routines to help decrease her stress levels through diet, training etc and also set up a vet appointment for yesterday to ensure nothing physically was wrong with her which could be exasperating her anxieties.
We went to the vet and I explained how Bonnie was acting recently and how I wanted to do a full “MOT”. The vet did a physical check over of Bonnie’s ears, eyes, teeth, body and checked her heart. She said that she was in perfect health, a great weight (around 14kg consistent as always) and it would be unlikely that blood tests such as liver, thyroid etc would bring back anything as she was in such good health and eating and drinking normally. She said that it was most definitely behavioural and that these issues are super common in rescue border collies which made me feel quite upset at how these sweet and sensitive dogs are being failed by their previous owners or by backyard breeders 😦
She recommended we try Nutracalm for a month and see how she get’s on with it in conjunction with training. We are going to a behavioural consult for Friday 10th June with a positive reinforcement trainer with a ton of experience and who has 5 border collies himself so he should be understanding of the breed’s quirks such as their tendency towards sound sensitivity etc. So we are looking forward to that to see how best to move forward with our training. The vet said to expect to see effects in about 2 weeks and that she has seen great results with it. We are due to go back in a month to see how Bonnie is getting along and to get more capsules. It is quite an expense at around £45 for a months supply but if it’s what works then we can make sacrifices else where, after all she is family and her mental health is important to us.
I also insisted on getting her fecal tests done as although the vet didn’t believe anything would come back I wanted to be sure as she sometimes gets dodgy poops, although we usually attribute that to her eating dodgy things on walks (why do people just drop scraps of food everywhere!) I might have also insisted on getting it done since I went to the bother of scooping it into the test tube container thing and brought it all the way with me haha
We have also started making some positive changes to her diet as it is inevitable that we are what we eat!
We are in the process of changing her food gradually from Skinners Duck and Rice to Eden Country Cuisine which is a much higher quality food with better ingredients and better nutrient levels as high carb foods can be linked to increased cortisol due to regulating blood sugars.
Since I know how sluggish and generally “off” I can feel when I’m eating junk and not real foods we have have started adding some fresh veg and fruit to Bonnie’s diet. She pretty much loves all food so we will keep it varied and stick to foods known as safe for dogs – no grapes here!
We also found these cool treats Pooch & Mutt Calming Crunchies specifically formulated for calming properties. It has L-Tryptophan, chamomile and other ingredients known for their calming purposes. Bonnie definitely approves of them anyway!
Also I am pleased to report that Bonnie is definitely coming around to her old self after Sunday’s event. She will now take food from my hand inside and outside on walks, although I am not pushing it, I’m only doing it infrequently and only when there are no dogs present or barking. As I believe what may have happened was that instead of the usual conditioning where scary thing = treats, so over time the scary thing becomes less scary and more associated with treats, the opposite seemed to be happening with Bonnie where she started associating me giving treats = scary thing about to happen like dogs barking or going past.
She’s also still loving her cuddles and we even had a massive zoomies / chasies game in the house after our walk earlier so it was great to see her have so much fun and be back to her usual self 🙂
Although it is early days and we will have a long road ahead, with set backs no doubt, I am still feeling hopeful and re-energised from starting to put these positive changes in place. I’ll have more updates soon as we have ordered a few different products to hopefully help us out in addition to training. Also thanks to those who commented on my last post, I was feeling quite low so it was really nice to have that support especially from people who have went through/are going through similar issues.