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Hi. My Labrador is 4years old (almost 5 years). He has always been the most placid dog, smiling, gentle and happy. However, the week before Christmas he started to act differently. He kept wanting to go outside and lie either in his kennel or out on the grass and wouldn’t come in unless I dragged him in by scruff of his neck and/or put his lead on. He is eating and drinking fine and toileting ok. I have taken him to the vets and they think it is pain in his spine and hips as he was not happy when they touched that area. He was prescribed 3 weeks of anti inflammatory and strong pain killers. They have made no difference to his behaviour at all and I don’t see any sign of pain or discomfort in him at all. He jumps on the sofa with us but seems anxious and nervous, shaking a lot. He loves walking and belts around the field loving it.He seems unsettled and not right at all. He had an X-ray today which showed everything with his hips and bone structure to be fine. The vet now wants him on same medication plus tramadol as well but I am not sure as we have seen no affects of this medication at all. This feels like a lot of medication. The vet also wants him to have physio on his muscles around the hips and lower back area. I am concerned it is something else.
I hope somebody can help as I am not sure what to do?
Regards,
Hannah
 

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Obviously not being able to see and touch the dog makes it impossible to really form an opinion. But behaviour changes, and particularly behavioural changes in respect of a dog well past it's formative years and well before senility is likely to occur, must have a reason, some change, either to it's self, such as illness or injury, or changes to it's environment, and this is always the area to start looking, and a trip to the vet is always a good starting point.

Dogs are a very stoic creatures, they rarely complain, even when in pain. They just get on with it. Because dogs cant tell us vets are training in the art of examining stoic creatures, the art of prodding and poking in order to provoke a reaction which will identify the source of a problem.
 

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Thirty three month female Labrador who is very loving and caring. Enjoys being off lead and has benn fairly obedient until now when she did not responded to recall . First incident was in forest and She was missing for about an hour. Second incident yesterday when again she disregarded me calling her name and she went under a wire fence onto a railway embankment
Really worried about letting her off lead again, as I may not be so lucky third time??
 

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Hello Kate 57.

Supplying an answer is always so difficult because we cannot see what has gone on, "Mistakes" in training, or extenuating circumstances. So anything said has to take the form of general comments rather than a definitive answer.

These days we all use force free training, but sometimes this can be taken to the extreme. Dr Roger Mugford wrote a book, "Never say no!" which to me it crazy. Commands are commands, not requests! We know for example, that running towards a main road is a life threatening situation, where to a dog all it sees is the cat on the other side of the road. Life with our dog is a partnership, but with the best will in the world it is not an equal partnership, it must be humans as the senior partner. Differences in tone of voice are so easy for a dog to interpret, so why take away half of it? When a dog is running in a direction we dont want them to go we call them in a happy excited voice. We want to make coming to us a happy event. But what if they dont come? Effectively they are sticking two fingers up. "This is more interesting than you, you can wait until I'm ready so come back!" Thats the point where I change to a really cross voice and tell them "GET BACK Here straight away or I'll separate you from your breath!" I almost never speak harshly to my dogs, so when I do they tend to be so surprised that they stop. "Wow! Dad's cross with me!" And as soon as they look at me I lighten up and change back to my happy voice. "Ooo, thank goodness, dad still loves me!" Never be afraid to tell her off WHILE SHE IS DOING WRONG, but the instant she stops go back to your happy voice. The more you can exaggerate the difference the easier it is for her to understand right and wrong.
 
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