Frightened Mini Schnauzer - can anyone help?

by Lucy

Hi my mini schnauzer is 8 years old and very lively and healthy.
About three weeks ago we found him hiding in the bushes at the back of the garden trembling, shaking like a leaf all over.
He would not respond to us or come out.
We lifted him out and patted him. He was panting and shaking. After about half an hour he was OK and back to normal, playing with his soft toys.
Since then he has done it again about 3 or 4 times.
Does anybody know if this is some sort of mini fit or epilepsy? I thought epilepsy usually affected younger dogs?
We are taking him to the vet as soon as we can get an appointment this week, but has anyone had similar experiences?
Thank you for your help,

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Jun 04, 2014
emotional trauma
by: Anonymous

My blind diabetic dog did this. When we returned home from getting groceries we found her trembling, panting, curled in to herself. We took her to two vets and after $200 in fees, one vet thought it was emotional trauma. We started watching very close and discovered the youngest schnauzer (we have 4) was tormenting her when she thought no one was looking. We locked them apart when we left the house and after a few months it quit. It does sound like something scared your dog. Mine was scared by a small snake in our yard once and ever since then she takes her time going out, sniffing and looking to make sure there are no snakes. She may not remember the snake but she does remember being scared by something. Our other schnauzer always looks up to sky when she goes out, I think a hawk (we have a few flying around) may have zoomed her. Just because they are in a yard fenced with a privacy fence does not mean things can't and don't happen. Some neighbors can be jerks too, so I agree, watch for that.

Aug 28, 2013
Thank you
by: Lucy

Thank you for your valuable advice. He hasn't done it for a while, thank goodness. I am keeping my eye on him and will follow the advice given here.
We are going to the vet next week, so will keep you posted.
Best wishes

Aug 27, 2013
If only they could talk
by: Csprings74

Hi Lucy,
These kinds of things can be very difficult to figure out. We have had five miniature schnauzers over the last 30 years. One of them was having seizures (not due to epilepsy)and after the seizure was over he was confused, disoriented, stumbled a bit, but then came around. He didn't search out a place to hide and tremble. What you are describing sounds to me like it is stemming from something behavioral. Your dog sounds frightened. Your description is exactly what dogs do when they react to some kind of extreme stress (such as thunder, or a loud noise.) They look for a place to hide, tremble, and the panting can be due to stress. You are correct that the most important thing to do is to get to the vet, but I would implore you to help your vet. No doubt, he/she is going to want to know what is happening immediately before this behavior. I would not let your dog outside unattended, and then when you do go out, stay out with him long enough to give him a chance to see what happens right before he goes and hides behind the bush. You have to figure this out. If he doesn't do it when you are with him outside, try challenging him... coax him to walk to different areas of the yard, listen for sounds from the surrounding areas, jiggle items in the backyard that are around, like the garden hose, or make sure your A/C unit is turned on and whirling. Maybe watch through a window to see if a neighbor is tormenting him. Coax him to explore areas where you have other planting to see if he shies away, and in the end, watch him very carefully for any sign of his tail going down, or active submissive. Even if you have to spend an hour out there, give it time. I can't emphasize enough how important it is for you to be able to tell your vet WHAT HAPPENS, BOTH PHYSICALLY AND BEHAVIORALLY, IMMEDIATELY BEFORE HE GOES BEHIND THE BUSH! If you just can't catch him at it, consider setting up a nanny cam to catch it on video. My money's on it being something that is frightening him, but you can't not investigate something neurological. I seriously doubt that your dog has a mental disorder. Especially if it is just this one circumstance, and if he acts normally otherwise. Good luck and try to find the trigger! All my best to you and your little guy. Let us all know what you find out!

Experienced dog lover

Aug 11, 2013
Dog hiding, panting, shaking
by: Toni

If your dog was attacked by a snake or other wildlife in the back yard, he probably wouldn't want to go back out. I have, however, read that dogs can have schizophrenia and other mental issues. Having said that, as the worse thing that could be happening, maybe your dog has low blood sugar or diabetes. Be sure not to let him be outside in the heat and sun too long either. Little dogs can become dehydrated and have heat stroke very quickly since they wear a heavy coat even in the summertime. Some puppies are panicked about thunder and loud noises. Mine was at first and I had to frequently play CDs of thunder and lightening cracks at a very low level, to get her used to those sounds. I think you are wise to get him to a vet to rule out anything that can be remedied. The poor little guy is looking to you to help.

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