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Hi all. It's been a while since I've been around, but I wonder if you guys can help.

I had surgery two weeks ago and am going to be on restricted activity for the next four weeks at least. Since this all started, Dexter's behaviour has gotten more and more neurotic. It's to the point now where every tiny bump or click sends him running to the door in full protection mode, fur standing, growling and barking.

I'm sure part of it is because my behaviour and posture have changed and he is also under exercised, but do you have any ideas for ways I can eliminate some of his anxiety? It makes me sad that I can't settle him down and get him to relax. I do have friends taking him out to walk and play while I'm laid up but that doesn't help with the overprotectiveness.

Thanks for any suggestions!
Sara
 

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I hope you heal up quickly. We went through something very similar with Mocha here recently unfortunatly we didn't find much that helped. The trainer we worked with suggested NILF, teaching them place, and working on treating them for being calm, also doing more mental stimulation exercises with them.
 

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Sorry to hear you're going through this..! Surgery sucks!!!! :hurt:

It sounds like Dexter is sensing some of your energy and portraying that in the way that he thinks is best. I'm not sure exactly how I would go about trying to help diminish it, but have you tried desensitizing him to knocks on the door, things like that? Eg. You sitting with him and every time someone knocks on the door, keep his attention with treats, give him a treat when he doesn't bark or run towards the door and repeat, repeat, repeat..?

They can sense a lot of our feelings, so it's understandable he is trying to protect you because you are hurt or not acting normal.. I can imagine it's hard but I hope you can find a solution that's easy for everyone. :happy:
 

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Thanks for your well wishes and your help. I'll have a friend pick up some "brainy" toys like a Buster Cube, etc. today and that will help occupy his time.

Also, I didn't realize it until you mentioned the door, kal3idoscope, but there have been lots of people coming and going which is unusual. That is probably adding to the stress. I will try working with friends having them knock while I work with him like you said. Hopefully this will help Dexter settle.

The situation has disrupted his whole routine and I feel bad that he's so distressed. Thanks for your help. I appreciate it!
 

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I'll toss this out for what it is worth. I don't know where you are at, or weather.

I have noticed that when we get a good snow fall, 3+ inches for a guess, it seems to balnket the house in a bit of a sound shield, and even muffles some of the normal sounds outside. Net result, really quiet inside. It seems that any soundd HK hears becomes cause for an alert. It is like the normal background noise is so low, that these other normal sounds are now invaders.
 

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In addition to the other suggestions, you might try scavenger hunts if you can get around your home okay and aren't restricted to bed.

Take some favorite toys or objects and at first "hide" them in easily discoverable places for Dexter to find. Once he learns the rules of the game you can hide them in harder to find places.

When I had Bess, a hunter friend gave us a dozen water bird wings and I invented a similar game to exercise Bess when extreme weather (lightning, tornados in our immediate area) made going outside for her usual daily exercise too risky. I'd make one trip uipstairs and hide them in various rooms but for each trip up and down the stairs I made, Bess had to make 12 (or even more when she couldn't find it at first).
 
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