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Old 11-28-2012, 11:21 AM
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Default Psychiatric Medication

Tomorrow, Milo and I go to the vet to see about putting him on some drugs.

He probably should have been put on medication a long time ago, but his behavior has been managable/tolerable. With the baby coming, though, I want to do everything I can to set him up to be successful/not miserable.

He's got OCD tendencies, severe anxiety/panic attacks, and problems with aggression. I know a bunch of other dogs on this board are medicated, so can you guys share a bit about:

what issues made you seek out medication?
what you were prescribed?
how long the dog's been on it?
side effects?
how it's helped?
and what else you do to control your dog's issues?
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:35 AM
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PWCorgi PWCorgi is offline
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One of my favorite topics

Quote:
Originally Posted by milos_mommy View Post

what issues made you seek out medication?
Well, he's had issues with strange people and dogs and being left alone in certain situations since...eh, forever? But what eventually pushed us to meds was when we moved into our apartment and risked Frodo getting kicked out when he would have panic attacks and bark/try to dig his way out of our bedroom when we left.
what you were prescribed?
Fluoxitine (Prozac) with situational chlonidine. We were also presribed a behavior modification plan, which you most likely won't be getting from a normal vet.
how long the dog's been on it?
4 months!
side effects?
Trying to kill every person he saw? lol While his body was getting used to the meds he went through a period where he would lung and snarl at every human being we saw while out and about. Thank god that passed.
how it's helped?
My dog is like a normal dog about 85% of the time now. We go to pet stores and out and about, and while I still manage him and don't let people pet him, he's not worried about people and, well...everything. He can sit in the car now in certain situations while Ryan and I are off doing stuff. I can walk the cat litter down the hall and throw it down the trash chute without Frodo stressing and barking the whole time. etc etc etc
and what else you do to control your dog's issues?
Lots and lots of behavior modification work. I don't know that Frodo will every be *done*. I think there is always going to be something for us to work on, but the work we do now is going so much faster because I have a brain to work with, not just a stressed out mess!
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:08 PM
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Pip is on clomipramine. He has always had some general anxiety and RG problems and I had kind of been tossing around the idea of starting him on something for awhile. Then unfortunately his anxiety worsened a bit when Squash came home and they had a big "fight" (Squash didn't really fight back) last summer (2011) that tipped me over the edge.

I tried fluoxetine (Prozac) first but it actually disinhibited his aggression a little bit (which is a known possibility for that drug, although rare) so I switched him to the clomipramine and he has been doing very well on it. So he's been on... a little longer than a year. I haven't seen any side effects at all on the clomipramine and he has definitely improved.

As far as other stuff... at the time of the fight I consulted with a behaviorist and we came up with a behavior modification and training plan for both the boys, started walking them together (my husband and I, not me alone) and also started gating and rotating. The layout of our home allows us to divide our first floor into two spaces with hardware-mounted baby gates without anyone being isolated. If that weren't true, rotating would be a lot harder. It's weird, I think Pip actually likes having his own space where he doesn't have to worry about what anyone else is doing, I noticed an improvement in his overall anxiety level as soon as we started the gate/rotate and before medication really had a chance to kick in.

We still rotate in the house, but at this point they are fine together outdoors and even play together, and everyone handles small conflicts appropriately - long story short, Pip overcorrecting a bratty teenager moment is what escalated into a fight. No more fights since that one, and I definitely notice an improvement in Pip's overall anxiety and RG as well. As Squash has matured I think it has helped as well.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:03 PM
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What issues made you seek out medication?
-Scout's got odd anxiety issues related to genetics (yay hoarding bust special!) and severe lack of socialization/training as a pup.

What you were prescribed?
-Clomipramine. I was pretty pissed that my vet didn't go over all the possibilities and discuss the reason behind chosing that one with me... but that is the one I was thinking would be best to try after doing my own research, so I let it slide. I was also not happy that no prelim bloodwork was done and no talk about long term health effects was given.... that drug can have serious health effects with long term use... what if she'd ended up being on it for life? Still really royally pissed our vet gave us a Sit means Sit brochure as a "behaviorist" recommendation. The damage that would do to a dog like Scout.... *shudders*

How long the dog's been on it?
-She was on it three solid months.

Side effects?
-Nada thankfully.

How it's helped?
-Didn't do a **** thing to help even with upping the dose. Hence going off after 3 months. Had no problems weaning off and saw no difference once she was clean from it either. It truly did nothing for us.

And what else you do to control your dog's issues?
- We sat in on a reactive dog class my trainer does at the end of the summer after her big relapse post-homing the little foster guy. Scout was demo dog for most of the exercises because we've been doing CU/BAT since I got her a few years back, lol you totally wouldn't have known she's got issues from how she was there. The best thing for her has been more training. And on the freaking out when left alone... well I finally conceded and stopped trying to do individual walks. I hate it, but I hate Scout freaking out more. Luckily Lily has been quite the awesome trooper this time through, so at least there's that. We have done a lot of Dr. Overall's Relaxation protocol too. Overall it seems that Scout just needs a "job" and not to ever be left by herself though.

- We've also tried Rescue Remedy (4 drops twice a day was what I worked up to...), Thundershirt, and DAP diffuser/collar. The DAP diffuser is the only thing thats had a noticible positive effect. She likes it when I TTouch with her too, lots of circular rubbing the jaw and base of ears when she's stressed. Of course she's also not aggressive and she has a great deal of trust in me handling things and being the safe zone to go to. Like if a kid on a walk scares her (like the little buttheads that like to play chicken on their **** bikes), her default is just to get behind me where its safe. Vocal encouragement helps her a great deal as well.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:21 PM
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May I ask what you've been doing up until now? It sounds, from your other posts, your life may have been a bit chaotic for a while and that alone can cause plenty of issues. Leveling out and structuring your life can really add some stability to dogs prone to acting out when uncomfortable.

I know my poor dogs have been really thrown off the deep end with the move and apartment lifestyle, sometimes these types of changes really are disturbing for some dogs. Luckily Arnold is content anywhere as long as I am around but the other three, well, the house hunting can't end fast enough.
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
May I ask what you've been doing up until now? It sounds, from your other posts, your life may have been a bit chaotic for a while and that alone can cause plenty of issues.
My life is EXTREMELY chaotic...but as far as the dogs go, except for me and my dad sometimes moving in and out of the house, their schedule remains the same.

We've done a lot of training to work on different issues, particularly his dog aggression. Up until now, his DA has been the main thing. A lot of clicker trainer, LAT, positive interactions with other dogs/people. I tried doing NILIF for a while, which helped a lot, but the rest of my family isn't on board with that and so it doesn't work very well, particularly when I wasn't living at home.

He's improved a lot, and can pretty safely be (supervised) around adult guests in our home and go into public as long as it's not a large crowd and there's space to move away from stupid people...something he couldn't do as a young dog. He can also interact, or at least work near and around, other dogs (and from a safe distance, children).

He's currently on a crate and rotate (or room/baby gate) rotate schedule with our other dog. They do play together and often hang out together in the house, but that's only if 2+ people are home (to break up any potential fights). They haven't had a fight in probably 3+ years (although a few have been prevented).

Unfortunately, having him in a house with a baby is going to be A LOT different. He currently barks, growls, and gets very worked up if he hears a baby or toddler cry or scream on television, so we'll be working on exposure to that, working on wearing a muzzle around the house, etc. It's not going to be a drastic difference in his life/schedule, because he spends a lot of time with my parents in areas of the house that I am not, but he's going to be hearing the baby when he is separated, and it'd be great if he didn't chew his own leg off or eat through a wall when that happened.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:00 PM
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Just make sure your expectations are realistic if you should decide to use medication. Think of it as more of a dimmer switch than an "off" switch. Training and behavior modification is the real key, the medication is just a tool to bring things down to a level where learning can really happen.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
Just make sure your expectations are realistic if you should decide to use medication. Think of it as more of a dimmer switch than an "off" switch. Training and behavior modification is the real key, the medication is just a tool to bring things down to a level where learning can really happen.
Definitely this!

Juno has only been on meds for 1.5 weeks so I can't comment on if they work for her or not. But, I can answer the other questions...

We went for medication because simply, I felt bad for Juno and would not want to live the way she's been living. She loves getting out of the house and going for car rides... but when we get to our destination, a switch flips and suddenly it's like she's thinking NO, NOT THIS!!! She's very on edge and jumpy about noises, is prone to attempt bolting if she gets spooked so I have to be mindful about what her leash is clipped to (she'll slip a buckle collar or a harness), she is flat out terrified of people, and basically any environment other than our household makes her panicked and I call her paranoid, because she is constantly scanning her environment and super alert and ready to crawl out of her skin if she hears a noise or sees something strange.

She was prescribed fluoxetine. Kind of the standard choice, I think.

In addition to the drugs we have a training plan. Kind of. Because I suck at training and don't really think I'm capable of following any plan lol. The biggest chunks of it are getting her out and making the outings positive, playing LAT with scary things, and getting her really fluent in attention-getting games so that if she focuses on something scary or starts getting stressed, I can get her attention back on me and on something fun and familiar to her (hand targets are our biggie).

It's too soon really for me to see any positive changes in her, but I have seen absolutely 0 negative changes, so we at least have that going for us. I really, really believe the meds are going to do THEIR job (taking the anxiety down a couple notches so her brain is receptive to learning), the hard part will be making sure I do MY job and actually train properly. There is also the possibility that her dosage will need to be tweaked a bit, so probably around Christmas time I will give her vet an update and see what she thinks, since she'll have been on it for a good 5 or 6 weeks at that point.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
Just make sure your expectations are realistic if you should decide to use medication. Think of it as more of a dimmer switch than an "off" switch. Training and behavior modification is the real key, the medication is just a tool to bring things down to a level where learning can really happen.
Definitely.

Thanks everyone for your responses. I'll post when we get back from the vet and let you all know how it goes, although I think we're probably just getting a referral to a specialist at this point.
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