Always In Our Hearts

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Little Help From My Friends

This is a LONG post, but please read!
My girl and I have something about which we need your advice, and like the Beatles sang, I really do believe I could use "a little help from my friends". Even though it is something that seriously plagues me, rest assured it has nothing to do with my health. As of this morning I was doing fine and lounging with Stella in GooberStan. Here's proof.







Actually, it has to do with the obssessive bug phobia I have developed. Now, here is an example of a good chicken dance I do when I'm happy, taped a couple of days ago. (My girl threw me 2 chickensickles for dinner. So I like to play with my food. Sue me.) Please ignore my girl's annoying voice. Sheesh!






This is an example of my phobic Chicken Dance I do almost everytime I go outside during daylight hours.






Some of you may remember that when my girl adopted me she was told that I was sometimes afraid of butterflies and other flying insects. Until this summer, that was occassionally true. Sometimes I'd be outside minding my own business, having a nice whiz or playing with Stella and then... BAM! Something starts dive-bombing me and I start looking for the culprit like this.







Or like this.





It used to be, if I got a little "bugged out" during the day, then I might be a little leary of my going off the deck out into the grass for the rest of the day until the sun went down, or I'd at least be on high alert for anything flying in or around my vicinity. But, by the next day, I'd be back to my old self and I wouldn't be bothered by bugs again for another week or two (or maybe longer). I would even hunt bugs and try to catch them for a little snack.







Just so you know. I'm not afraid of thunder, fireworks, other dogs, cats, hoomans... I can't think of anything else that freaks me out (well, I really don't like to be groomed or have my paws messed with - but it's not at all the same kind of freak out that bugs inspire). And, the bug-phobic behavior usually only happens in the spring and summer mostly, and usually on bright or sunny days. If it is overcast outside I don't seem to notice the bugs as much, but they can still bother me.






Well, this summer I started having longer episodes of bug-phobic behavior if I got freaked out by a bug in my yard. It wouldn't just last that day, but might last for a couple of days. By the time we were getting ready to go to Iowa a few weeks ago, I was starting to have several days in a row of this bug-phobic behavior. By bug-phobic, I mean that I didn't want to be out in my yard and wouldn't leave the deck unless my girl went out into the yard with me. She couldn't distract me from my hyper-vigilant behavior by playing with me. And, I couldn't wait to get back inside the house. An additional thing I started to do was insist that my girl open up the "green room" (her office), which is my favorite room in the house. I wouldn't settle down or go to sleep unless I could go in that room to lie down. (It is a dark room where the curtains and blinds are closed unless my girl decides to open them.)






On the way to Iowa, I was so wound up from about 3 days of being bugged out that I barked at every stinkin' cow or cow-like thing I saw on the side of the road. I didn't just bark, but got really worked up. When we got to Iowa, I was calm and seemed fine. But, about one hour into the ride home from my granny's house (a 6 hour ride total) I saw a bug flying inside the car and lunged from the backseat up to the windshield to try to get it. My girl couldn't get me to calm down even after we stopped to give me a breather outside of the car and a little walk. She finally gave me a couple of Benny Drills and sat with me in the backseat. I eventually calmed down enough to get a little sleep, but I could tell my girl was really concerned about me.




My girl couldn't change her plans for her trip to Colorado on such short notice, but she thought that me being at home getting some individual attention from my dogsitter and getting a break from Stella (who goes off barking at me everytime I get upset about the bugs) for a week might be a good thing for me. It seemed to be, but I'm still very attached to the "green room" and won't eat my raw meaty bones outside unless it is dark out. Some days I run outside off the deck like nothing in the world bothers me, but those days are more the exception now than the rule. My girl is taking me to my vet later this week to see if there might be something physical that could account for any of this behavior. Do any of you or your parents have any idea what might help me or do you know anydog who has dealt with some kind of phobia or OCD-type response to something in their environment?








By the way, my girl has tried to desensitize me to the backyard like Cesar Milan did with that dog that was afraid of tiled floors. But, the problem with my issue is that it involves bugs, who really do buzz around me even if my girl is standing there with me in the yard exerting calm assertiveness. She's trying to find an email address for the dog trainer, Victoria, on "It's Me or the Dog" to see if she has any advice.







So, if you could help a pup out and let me know if you have any ideas about what's going on with me or any suggestions as to how to work through this problem, my girl and I would be forever grateful!


Don't worry too much about me, though. I'm still a happy goob who just happens to have some issues. In the midst of this I'm still lovin' life.






Hoping for a little help from my friends,

Stanley



49 comments:

Ruby Bleu said...

Oh my poor, poor boy. I wonder why this is happening all of a sudden? At least why it is more intense. That is just very strange, just try and relax (or chillax) a bit. do you want to come to Cali and had with me by the pool? You could relax in the hottubbie?

I'm so worried my handsome boy...maybe you just need more of a vacay from Stella???

Lots of Licks, your Ruby (no more ruby bug, since you aren't digging the bugs, ok?

Pug and Bugg said...

Um I hope that the bug phobia is not a BUGG phobia!! You should go to www.4weebeasties.com and get the Pal Dog spray that has bug repellant in it... it might help keep them away while you figure this out... poor gooberstan... we are thinking about you!

Gus said...

Hey Stan: That is a real puzzler. Ya know, I think Stella is not doing the sister job quite right. Teka thinks it is her job to protect me from buggies, so she snaps and yaps at them whenever they are near us. Maybe I should send her to give Stellaroonie some pointers, huh?

gussie

Lacy said...

w00f's Stanley and Stella, its www.victoriastilwell.com
did c a email addy yet, but thats the web site...

b safe,
~rocky~

Sparky said...

Stan my man!

Well, I've heard of lots of phobias that dogs have had before, but BUG phobia? Let me tell ya, you are one, er, how should a put this? Not strange, but... Unique! You are one unique goober! I've never heard of a dog having bug phobia before, so this is one interesting case...

Sorry to say that I can be of no help this time, I've never experienced this before... Whenever I'm around bugs, the most I'll do it just snap them up for a quick and easy snack. I hope your bug phobia gets better soon!

Sparky

Sophie Brador said...

Hey Stanny, I have no idea what you can do, other than have me come to Gooberstan to scare the bugs away. It's not such a weird phobia, you know. Mom knows someone who is scared of lettuce.

xo
SB

Princess, Tank and Isaac: The Newfs of Hazard said...

Hi Stan! Does your girl use a topical bug repellant like biospot? Maybe if they don't bite you or buzz you you'll relax a bit? Biospot is cheap and works for us. We get it at drsfostersmith.com

Hey! The mystery word to type in was sauvdogy! Just like you - suave doggy!

Peanut said...

Oh stan man. I am so sorry. I wish I had some advice for you.

Willow the Black Dale said...

Oh Stan we wish we could help ya out. We just know we feel bad for you and your girl. This must be hard for both of you. We hope the vet can help you both.

Smooches,
Willow

Deefor said...

I don't know why it's getting worse lately-- unless the bugs are getting worse too. Think hard. Maybe when you were little you got bit by a bee or some bad bug. Victoria is really nice. I hope she has an answer.

I have some strange habits too. I don't like big pieces of human food. If I get a big piece of cheese I can't eat it. I bury it. (Or fake bury it in the house) My mom dropped a cookie when we were camping and it was too big. I had to bury it.

Joe Stains said...

This stinks! We don't have any advice for you but we sure are crossing our paws that it gets better for you. Birds used to fly down and peck me on the butt, I should probably hate them for sure!!

Faya said...

I don't think I could help you because Véronique has the same problem with me. I am actually afraid from .....everything. But thunder or fireworks are the worst. I also bark at people who come in front of me. Just bark, my tail under my tummy.... I hope our girls will found something to do with us. I don't like to be stuck under the table.....
Kisses, Faya

Pacco de Mongrel said...

i had absolutely no idea how this can happen.... maybe u need to consult a psychotherapist...

Maggie and Mitch said...

How awful for you, Stanley! Mitch hates bugs that buzz near the base of his tail! It freaks him out too but it's not a problem like you have! We hope the vet can recommend something that the bugs hate so they leave you alone! Would garlic work? Keep us updated, okay?

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Simba said...

Thank you for your concern while I was unwell. Your kind words made me get better so much quicker.

Simba x

Noah the Airedale said...

Hey Stanley,
If we had that phobia my pinkies said they would try not to make a fuss of us..If we look alarmed at all during a storm they simply ignore us so that we calm down which we usually do.
Hmmm what else can your girl do??? How about putting something outside to rid the bugs like one of those zappy contraptions that attracts bugs.
This is a tough one matie.
Good luck.

tailwags
Noah Willow Tess Lucy

Petey said...

Hi Stan,

Wow - you got me there. Maybe you need a nice long vacation visiting Asta here in the city - we don't have that many bugs here.

Fortunately, fall is on the way and hopefully the bug activity will be on the decline - more time for your girl to find help for your phobia. I'll keep my nose to the ground to sniff out a solution for you.

Your pal,

Petey

wally said...

Ooooh! Poor Stan! I don't know if you know any animal behaviorists in the area that might help--but that's scary stuff!

I have thunder/fireworks phobia and my ma ape gives me melatonin if she knows we are going to have one or the other. She doesn't want to rely on it but it does help "smooth the edges," she says, and then she tries to play with me as much as possible during the storms to get some behavioral stuff done. Jen at Jackman Ave told us about the melatonin. When I had separation anxiety I used Clomicalm but it didn't really help but I guess it helps some doggies with anxiety.

I have a doggy friend with anxiety stuff who uses the DAP (dog appeasing pheremones) that helps--sometimes he wears a DAP bananadana: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040422225509.htm

Good luck Stan Man! If you need me to I can send Oscar who likes hunting bugs but when he does it makes Ethel mad and she scolds him! Ha! Imagine if our house got together with your house--my ma ape calls us MONKEY HOUSE when we are all riled up. We would be SUPER MONKEY HOUSE.

wally t.

Agatha and Archie said...

Oh dear our poor main man,We are having some uh behavioural probs ourselves with much worsening fear of thunder with me and now transmitting to Arch..Pl2 says do try a behaviourist advice becasue maybe they can help try to desensitize you(we say pay no attention to her because now she is trying to play a tape of thunder while we eat and it really sucks..) Love and kisses A+A

Stanislaw said...

Hey buddy. From one Stan to another -
I have major OCD and an "extreme anxiety disorder" - according to the behaviorist my person hired.

Here's an example of my crazies:
http://ieatrawmeat.blogspot.com/search?q=rehab

I scream, try to jump into planters, and wedge my body into anything fence-like. I'll collapse in the middle of the road and thrash and scream. I also get so obsessive over things that I can't go to the bathroom even it it's an emergency. I'll scratch my leg and slip into another world and become unresponsive. I also suffered from MAJOR separation anxiety, but we've got that one pretty much beat now.

So anyway, there's way too much to type here, so if you'd like to email my human she can tell you what's worked for me. We've been working like dogs on this for a year now. It takes a long time but I've made some major improvements!

RawFeasting@gmail.com

Eric said...

Hi Stan, Aw, thats upsetting for you and your girl. I know some dogs who use DAP diffusers which work really well to them calm in stressful situations. Really hope the vet can help you out.Let us know how you get on.

Wags, Eric

Deetz said...

You know what Stanley, I hate bugs! They drive me nuts. I try and chase them and bite them all the time. But, I was thinking, maybe just maybe a Wasp or A Bee has stung you and your mumma didn't see it and thats why you have this phobia. Those things sting really bad.
Deetzy

Amber-Mae said...

Can't seem to watch the 2nd video but I get what you're trying to say. You have phobia for bugs. Well, my Mommy is no dog behaviorists but she can help a little I hope. I'll hand it over to Mommy now...

Hi Stanley's Mom!

Well, I'm a person who is not really all that good in being patient when it comes to training dogs or correcting dogs but when there's a situation like Stan's bug-phobic problem, I will try to take it slow so that it will not freak the dog out even more. The dog needs time to be corrected so consistency is VERY important when it comes to training, correcting & rewarding.

When dogs are scared of certain things like lighting, thunder, rain, loud noises or whatever, it's important that you do NOT allow the dog to go & hide in a certain place where they feel safe & make sure you don't tell him, "Oh, it's okay. It won't hurt you & blah blah..." & then allow him to cuddle up close to your feet for protection. This encourages the dog to be afraid of that certain thing even MORE & the dog will never overcome its fears. This is where correction & praising/rewarding comes in.

In Stan's case, I suggest you put him on leash & then just hang out with him in the yard where all the bugs are. Make sure you're holding the leash. If he begins to freak out when a bug is buzzing around him, immediately give him a gentle tug on the leash (he can wear a soft collar for this training) whilst saying the word "No!" firmly & ask him to look at you since he can do that very well in the 1st video. The moment he looks at you, I want you to praise him & reward at the same time be it throwing his favorite toy & popping a treat in his mouth. Make sure the praising is very enthusiastic! Be sure he's in a sitting position too. Once praised immediately take a few steps away from that area & just get his mind off that bug. Praise & reward him some more. If he keeps on looking to the back for that bug, keep correcting him. But make sure praising & rewarding comes in after that immediately. It's very important to get his attention away from that bug.

Try the same thing after that again. When he starts to freak out by another bug again, tug leash, say "No!", ask him to look at you. If he does, praise, reward, go for a walk around the yard. Maybe play a little tug-of-war game with him too. Do whatever to get his attention away from those bugs. Do the same thing again & again & again for about 3 times I think it's good enuf per session a day.

The next day, try again. You have to be consistent with him if you want him to not be afraid of buzzing bugs anymore. He will not overcome it overnight that's for sure nor is there a guarantee he will overcome it after a few days. Sometimes it can take weeks, months or sometimes up to a year but patience usually pays it all!

Hopefully this method helps but if not, then I guess you'll need a better expert to help with this problem... You know, a small behavioral problem like this is actually considered quite bad. So this must be eliminated but take it slow! Okay, now back to my darling Amber...

Hiya, I'm back! Hope my Mommy's methods will work & what she said was right. Patience pays it all! Good luck! Btw, like the video of you playing with your frozen chickenables...

Butt wiggles,
Solid Gold Dancer

Petra said...

Oh, Stanley, I'm sorry that you are so traumatized and afraid of bugs. I'm just a pup and don't have any advice, but Amber-Mae's suggestions sound good.

I'll be cheering for you as you and your girl figure out a solution to the problem. There HAS to be one!

Clover said...

Hi Stan!
I'm so sorry I can't help out... I am glad that you are still a happy goob, and I hope you can get your bug-phobia to go away. I know you can do it! Hang in there, and we will be here for moral support, ok?
Love Clover xo

Huskee Boy said...

Hi Stanley,
I am sorry to hear that the bugs have been bugging you... Just yell at them to 'Bug Off' (mom said it's ok to use that cos it is not a HBO word)..
I can't really give you any advice cos I have not had any fixation with bugs.. well I have chased (and eaten) some flies but that's abt it. Hey, this is what that makes you unqiue!

Kirby said...

Oh Stanley, I'm so sorry that you are having this bug problem. I don't have any real helpful advice as I am a bug dog myself. I love to eat them, maybe I need to come to your house and eat all your bugs? Would that help? All I can say is take it day by day and see if you can relax a bit. I don't know if this will work, as it hasn't really helped with my separation anxiety issues, but I felt the need to share.

Your pal,
Kirby

China Cat said...

Hi Stanley! I'm sorry that I don't have any answers for you but I'm just glad to hear that you are still a happy guy, except for that bug thing!

Purrrrrs, China Cat

Asta said...

My Sweet Sweet Stanley boy
I am going to cwy..I have no idea how to fix youw feaws..I feel helpless..some of the pups had some pwetty good advice..I hope something wowks my Dawling..I'll wun home anytime you want and be wif you..All the othew nuwsies awe wif Jackson and I'm suwe he would undewstand if you need me..pleez tell me what to do..I'm beside myself wif wowwy ovew my goobew bbboy
smooochiest of smoochie kisses
youw ASTAWONI FB

Girl Girl Hamster said...

Oh dear, poor Stanley. I hope you and your girl find a solution

~ Girl girl

The 3 G-Dales said...

We Griffindales suggest that you try to eat the bugs if they bother you....some are crunchy and some oooze but some are nasty little thingymabobs and they have what Mumsie calls STINGERS and those ones....you gotta chew fast and furious or they sting you! But at least you get to eat them first.

We ah, tend to try to eat all buggers....Mumsie doesn't always like us to do it and sometimes she freaks out and yells at us....sometimes she laughs as she watches us try to catch them.

Anyhow...BE KING OF YOUR YARD...Eat the buggers and show 'em who is boss!

We G-Dales will keep our paws crossed and we can come give you alesson in bug catching if you like someday....we are quite good at it! We hope you can enjoy your yard Goobs....

Pawesome thoughts....nose pokes...
The 3 G-Dales

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Goob Mate,

Mummy sez that she had a cat that dident like bugs either!

She got her a toy that was tied to a stik wiv a long ribbon.

Ferst, she let the cat play wiv the toy on the floor, wile she held the stik an mayde it wiggol abowt a bit.
After a wile she mayde the toy do sudden leaps an the cat just jumpt an cort it.
Arfter a week of this she had it whizzin rownd an rownd an the cat went for it.
It took a wile but soon the cat waz desensitized to things flyin abowt neer her. Then she went owt an cort bugs!

I'm not shor if it will werk on yu, as yu ar much mor intellygent than a meer cat! HA! But it mite be werth a try. Yor gerl cud then bring it on trips an if yu sor a bug yu cud both play wiv it an yu'd remember that flyin things ar reelly ok.

BTW, If yu hav time, pop over to my blog today- charnse to win a prize!!!

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

P S

I'm well impresst that yu arnt scared ov thuder.

powder-puff said...

Hi stan!

Wow everydog has all this great advice!

I hope you get over your phobia soon !

Have a great day
love
puff

Mango said...

Oh my, you are in a bit of a pickle. I can understand the chicken thing (you just want to make sure its dead). But what's up with those bugs?

If I were there, I could protect you. Glad you have a safe room to go into.

Slobbers,
Mango

P.S. Momma says that when Grandpa Angus started to get the doggie dementeds he got weird phobias too, but he was really old. Hope you don't have that.

Finni said...

Hi Stanley,
Man your tail is really down because of those bugs. Whenever I get scared of stuff Mum and I face whatever makes me scared together, so we think Amber-Mae's suggestion is really good. Mum says its really important for your girl to stay calm about the whole thing and not make too much fuss about it. Maybe Stella could spend some time in her condo whilst you and your girl work this one out?
As adjunct if you want to try something 'Alternative' there are Flower Remedies (Bach Flower Remedies) that deal with fear issues.
Good Luck!
Finni xx

Asta said...

My Sweetheawt Stanley
I miss you so much, and wowwy about you!! I hope you and youw Giwl will find a way to solve this pwoblem, cause I can't sneep wif wowwy ovew you..do you want me to come back fwom England and take cawe of you??
I'm not suwe my nuwsing skills awe good enough fow this, but I'll do anything!
I've given Jackson youw boatload of healing goober smooches, and I saw it wowk wondews
smoochie kisses
youw Astawonisweetpea fuzzbutt

Petra said...

Stanley, would you please Stella that I really miss her lots and lots and I can't wait until she can talk to me next.

But I know that YOU are a priority right now, and that's okay. I'll be patient!

Moco said...

We wish that we had an answer for you. Almost everyone in this house has some sort of problem. I think those bugs make a terrible noise that really bothers you.

Super Boy & Baby-Licious said...

We have no advice for you but we hope you will find something that will help you soon.

Love
Boy n Baby

Scottie the 'cutie' said...

Hi Stan!

Sorry to hear about the bug phobia...I don't really know any answers to it. As it is, I'm deathly afraid of thunders and stuff, so...if Mom finds anything, she'll let you know...=)

Scottie

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...

Hmm...sounds like the bugs are buggin' ya, Dude!

Since we're comment # 42, the only thing we have to offer is we liked the idea of the bug zapper, and the positive reinforcement for being in the yard. Food? It's worked for us when we freaked out when the electric fence was installed.

We wonder too if you didn't get stung by something nasty...poor Gooberdude...this is awful.

Have the vettie check ur eyes and make sure you're not photophobic...sensivtive to light for some reason???

Keep us updated on this...we feel bad for you and ur Girl...we're sure Stella is drivin' ya nuts over it!

Scruffy

Deefor said...

yHi Again Stan,
I was just reading all those suggestions. My mom tries stuff with treats (like when I don't go crazy and growl at other doggies. I think it works MUCH better when the treats are hamburger and hot dogs and things like that.

Too bad your girl didn't visit us. If she comes back to Denver she should. My mom doesn't like to tell people about my blogging cause they think she's nuts. Good for her to meet other nuts. ha ha

Deefor

Penny, Poppy & Patches said...

Sorry, Stan, we don't have any advice for you, but if you want, we can come over and Aire-snap those buggies for ya! We do it all the time...especially if a fly gets in the house...then Mom has the added bonus of Aire-art on the windows. Just say the word and we'll be right over!

Aire-hugs,
Poppy, Penny & Patches

the 4 Bs said...

hey Stanley, we read some good ideas in the comments. we like the bug repellant idea for starters. we're sorry that the bugs bother you so much. at least you have the green room to go to where you feel safe. Benson likes to be safe under mom's bed. it's a little tight under there, but it does the trick.

we know that your mom will find the cure for this. it's no fun having a phobia.

woofs.

Asta said...

My Sweetheawt Stanley,
thiank you fow youw comfowtinf smoochies..I suwe have twouble undewstanding all the pain in the wowld..I'm thinking of you my Dawling..I hope you had a good day!!
All my smoochie kissesyouw Astawoni FB
My tiny smoochies to my BBFF STella bean Latifah

CASPER AND PALS said...

Oh Goober, it does sound like you have developed a fear of bugs.Here is a couple links that may help

http://www.ddfl.org/behavior/fearful-dog.pdf

http://www.ddfl.org/behavior/nilif.pdf

We think desensitizing is the best thing to do. Of course it can actually take days or weeks to desensitize not a few minutes as shown on Ceasar's show.

Also working on " nothing in life is free" (nilif) while outside on the deck would be helpful as it instills confidence.

Best of luck, Casper, Buddy and Nikki

Mr. T-Bone Beasley said...

Hmmmmm those bugs are vicious things. I hunt them myself.

I bet it's just the change of environment that's gotten you all wound up...now that your in a better place and getting lots of love I bet you will be getting better soon.

Maybe you just came down with a belly bug ... Whatever it is, I hope you get better soon! Let me and my human know if we can do anything for you or your girl!

Slurp!
Mr. T-Bone Beasley

Persephone and Buster said...

wow stanley that's just debugatating.. not being able to go out and play w/o da bugz...
i don't have much advice.. we're trying to get rid of a yellowjacket nest in the ground.. so the humomm won't let us out w/o her and on a lead..we got stung and the human sister & momm did too.. i got one on my back leg...i keep checking it out. they did swarm... they were scary... so i understand why you wouldn't want to be out there. but hey man..you got your gurl...she will protect you!and talk to you in a nice conversational like voice...and kinda point out.."oh...there's a butterfly... it's only the stingger-ones that hurt.. the others are ok to watch. call a fumigator guy and ask what you can put down in the yard or have sprayed that's safe for you and the goobette. there are probably some natural-type sprays out there that may help ... then you will be able to work on that "fear/phobia"...in the mean time.. a chill pill may help calm the situation... xanex here we come! we have a friend that uses that when the thunder boomers come.....melatonin is another thing that will help calm you....try an ace bandage wrap (not to tight)...sometimes that works .. and one last thing.. even if it doesn't work this one is good... have the girl do it anyhow.. t-touch (tellington touch<--google it) is a wonderful anxiety reliever...and feeeeeels good..and you can do it before you go out and whilst you are out...etc.
at this writing we are free and clear (like tide) of any buggy phobias...but whose to say -- if the bees don't go away i certainly won't be real excited to be out there... oh i already am out there!!!hmmmm
theBUSTER,ms.Persephone & Ms.Blue too!
take care of yourself man...you need to have all your wits about you!!theBUSTER, MS.Persephone & ms.Blue