Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Stubborn, Old, Paraplegic Aussies

by Julie
(Lawrence, KS)

Hello! I have a 9 year old Aussie male that I adopted from animal control five years ago. He's had problems with biting, but we've mostly got that under control (most of it was to do with herding; though some of it was to do with more aggressive training tactics from people he didn't trust).

In March of 2013, he had an FCE, which is a spinal embolism, which paralyzed both of his back legs. With physical therapy, he learned to walk again, but he has limited continence, so to prevent accidents in the house, I walk him 3 times a day, morning, noon, and night.

For the most part, this has worked out and his worst behavioral problem has been severe separation anxiety. Whenever I leave for a weekend, he refuses to leave my bedroom--not even to go outside and pee. During these time periods, he eventually begins to refuse his food as well.

At this point, I've more or less figured out how to handle the separation anxiety, but he's developed other, wonderfully strange habits for our walks.

We just moved to an apartment recently, leaving the house I shared with my beloved roommate. Now, whenever we go on walks, he tries to walk to her house. When I walk him to the house, he refuses to walk back to our apartment with me (I have to physically drag/carry him using our physical therapy harness).

I could deal with the walking problems--I'm planning on taking him back to obedience classes, physical limitations be damned! However, he is also going on a hunger strike right now. He refuses to eat at our established meal times and spends all day hiding in the bathroom (the coolest part of the apartment). I can handle most of these things individually, but does anyone have advice on how to deal with all of them together? Lord knows, I'm willing to try just about anything for this silly beast.

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by: jcrply

I don't know how to advise you, but I just wanted to say that I admire you for your dedication to helping your dog!

Stubborn :)
by: Anonymous

I am so impressed with your unwillingness to give up on your friend. If more people were like you the world would be a much better place. He is extremely smart. I think it's fair to say he likes your old roommate and misses his home. I think with time he will realize your new place is home but for now he just wants to go home where he felt safe. Is he still drinking? If not his hunger strike might mean something else is wrong. Mine will always eat a cooked egg even if she is too worked up to eat her food. These wonderful, intelligent dogs are sometimes too smart!!
Hang in there and best of luck!

Thank you!
by: Julie

Hi Anonymous and jcrply,
Thanks for your replies to my post.

Anonymous, he will eat food with extra incentives (sometimes I pour tuna juice on his kibble) and he's still drinking water in copious amounts. All of his other bodily functions seem good, so I guess I'll just weather my way through the current bout of weirdness--I think he just needs time to adjust.

Does anyone know about the early signs of collie eye disease? He has one bad eye that has a cataract in it, and as of June the whites of that eye has appeared physically redder than his other eye. In June, he had a scratch on the iris which we treated with an eye ointment for the vet, and she gave him a follow up ointment to help "relieve redness" after the initial treatment period has ended, but he still has weird redness/possible inflammation of the sclera and the ointment doesn't do anything for it. My rational self assumes it's allergy related and my panicked self assumes collie eye disease. Any thoughts on what I need to watch out for on this?


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