Prozac for dogs

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runlip
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Prozac for dogs

Post by runlip » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:39 am

I have a dog that is fear aggressive or maybe territoral . He is a terrier mix about 2 yrs old 25lbs. I have been on the forum before asking for advice about Duke. Just to refresh we got him at 4 months old.He growled at people from the start. He is good with us and people he knows. I had one trainer in the start that used negative reinforcement I realized this was not for me. I switched trainers and he did very well with her positive methods. I still have issues with people coming to the house. He barks and will greet them by jumping stiffly on them -definately not happy. If they move he will growl or snap. I have had a crate off the foyer since Jan. I feed him there and drop treats for him in there. He still doesn't really like it but when people come I have to put him in there. I give him a marrow bone but he doesn't even bother with it because he really just wants to out. (I think).
Before the crate I would have people give him treats but I am always on guard because I have to watch him like a hawk. I find it dificult to relax and enjoy my company when I have to be worried if the dog is going to snap. I have 2 kids 15 & 13 that rarely have friends over because of Duke.
I feed him 2x a day. I give him one long walk 45mins to 1 1/2 every day. and couple of 10 -15 mins walk around the block. We also play catch most days so he can run.
When I was at the vet last week for his yearly exam I spoke to her about prozac. She thought he may be a good candidate to use it and with training after 3 or 4 months if successful he could be weened off.
Has anybody had any success with this. I am desperate to have Duke be able to live a happy life among us humans. Maybe I am expecting too much.

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Nettle
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by Nettle » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:30 pm

You could do a great deal more to de-sensitise your dog before you resort to drugs. And he could easily manage quite a bit more exercise. I certainly wouldn't be using drugs on a dog with these issues because they are easily solved with management and effort. Have you done any of the things that were suggested previously? Sounds like you could use some support, and you'll get that here. Give us a recap on what you have done since you posted last time.
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ladybug1802
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by ladybug1802 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:40 pm

My dog has very similar issues.....doesnt like strangers and can be fear aggressive, but is a lot better now. i certainly wouldnt want to put him on drugs.....it wont make your dog suddenly happy with strangers and change his views, it will just mask things and maybe make him feel a bit 'off' so could possibly make things worse as he wont know why he feels like this. Just my views....but I have no experience with drugs such as this.

I would stop getting people to gve him treats......he may take them off strange people but he may suddenly realise he is out of his comfort zone being so close and then freak out and have to react. I know that is what would happen with Dylan. I honestly think the best thing to do is ask people to totally ignore him....dont look him in the eye, dont touch him and dont talk to him.

Its a shame your dog isnt keen on his crate.....mine has been a life saver as he adores it and it means when people come over he goes in and is safe, and guests are safe, he can see they are OK and come out when settled. Its great that you feed him in there and give him treats in there though. Do you only shut the door when people come in? If so maybe regularly just start shutting the door with him in it - first for only a very very short period of time, and gradually increase it, and like you have been doing, always leave him with something yummy to occupy him!

runlip
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by runlip » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:18 pm

I started by working at the door. When the bell rang I would put a leash on him and get him to sit. I had a sign posted outside that Duke is in training please be patience as we get him to settle and please ignore him when entering. I found it difficult to manage him and greet people. Maybe I need the prozac! LOL.I always had an eye on him and felt and still feel very distracted to socialize. Then I had him behind a gate and he just barked his head off. Then I would put him outside when people came in and after we were settled brought him in and people gave him treats. but as soon as there was any movement he was very jumpy and would go up to the person and jump on them. I would tell people to ignore and if they kept going he would growl and nip at there pants. Thats why I thought the crate would work for me. I may give up to easily. It is just hard to have a dog with this type of personality.

ladybug1802
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by ladybug1802 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:39 pm

runlip wrote:It is just hard to have a dog with this type of personality.
It is of more difficult and requires more work with a dog with issues of any kind, but if you work with it and find what works for your dog, it is the most rewarding thing to come through!

I did similar things to you......having him on leash at the door didnt work - made him a LOT worse. he didnt like being behind a baby gate and would bark like a mad thing, and his adrenaline was so high. I found keeping him in the kitchen until people were in and settled worked well....then got the crate which has been the best thing. Sure he barks when people come in, but when they sit down he settles...then I let him out after a while and he is ignored.

Instead of getting people to give him treats, have you tried them just totally ignoring him? If he goes to sniff them, they dont move and dont look at him - nothing.

It does take time - a lot of time - but it can be improved. it is a case of finding what works for your dog, and then the stress is lifted! Honestly....I have been there and last summer I was SO stressed about it all, not knowing what to do for the best. Listen to the people on here.....they speak sense and they helped me a lot.

Instead of thinking how difficult it is, think positively. Think how much your dog is going to teach you about dog behaviour etc. Think how good it will be when you find what your dog is more comfortable with when people come to the house. It makes a huge difference, especially as your dog will be pciking up negative thoughts from you too.

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Nettle
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by Nettle » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:31 am

Yes, you are giving up too easily :wink: this will all take time. So give yourself a break, open a bottle of wine as Mattie often suggests, relax, think how far you have come already.

You need to do what works for THIS dog - we can't see what is happening so we can only offer general advice, but it does work as long as you commit to it.

Try again with outside until people are seated, then bring him in on leash and have him beside you on a lovely comfortable bed and still on-leash and with visitors ignoring him completely. If a visitor wants to get up, put the dog out again first. When he has learned that visitors don't even look at him, never mind talk to him, he will begin to relax. Then and not before, visitors can look at him and look away again (no hard staring) when he is comfy with that, they can talk to him very briefly (just Hi, but not his name, so Hi dog or Hi there) and then ignore him.

This can take WEEKS.

Then he can be on-lead but on the bed when visitors stand up (they'll have to see themselves out while he is under training) then when he does not react to people standing up and leaving, he can walk them to the door on-lead with you.

And when he's cool with that - come back here and we'll take you through the next steps :wink:

Ask here any time if you need moral support or some encouragement. But this will all take time, and his time not yours. Once it is done, it is there for the rest of his life :)

If any visitors can't be trusted to do as they are told, leave the dog out of the room with something nice to occupy him
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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runlip
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by runlip » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:35 am

Nettle and Ladybug-Thank you for the kind words.
I'm a little confused. Some of the posts I have read in the past (I read this forum daily) suggest not to expose him to what he fears because their anxiety level keeps going up ,yet how will they get enough practice to overcome their fears.
Another question. How much exercise should he be getting? I thought I was doing pretty good. I know people that don't even walk their dogs.
Also,I haven't taught Duke to go to his bed because he prefers to sit on the couch with us. Maybe I should get him a different bed and start all over.At night he sleeps in is crate in our room until my husband leaves in the morning then jumps in bed with me. On the weekend he gets up about the same time and gets in bed with both of us. We love that. Thanks again for your help

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Mattie
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by Mattie » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:43 am

runlip wrote:Nettle and Ladybug-Thank you for the kind words.
I'm a little confused. Some of the posts I have read in the past (I read this forum daily) suggest not to expose him to what he fears because their anxiety level keeps going up ,yet how will they get enough practice to overcome their fears.
Sometimes a dog is so stressed that before the owner can work with him they have to get his stress levels down, a stressed dog doesn't learn. Once the stress levels are down we then tell them how to work with their dog at the dog's pace. You are right, a dog has to have a chance to overcome his fears but in his time not ours, if he reacts he is not learning anything.

Ladybug has done a wonderful job with her dog, very few owners would have had the patience to do what she has done and she has stayed to help others with the same problem and is doing a good job. :D
Another question. How much exercise should he be getting? I thought I was doing pretty good. I know people that don't even walk their dogs.
You have a terrorist (terrier :lol:) they have been bred to work all day and really need as much exercise as you can give him, the more the better. This needs to be mixed, both pysical and mental, do a search for brain exercises, they will help him as well. A tired dog is a lot easier to work with.

The dogs that don't get exercised must have a very boring life, thank goodness you are different and are exercising him, your dog will be a lot happier than those other dogs. :D
Also,I haven't taught Duke to go to his bed because he prefers to sit on the couch with us. Maybe I should get him a different bed and start all over.At night he sleeps in is crate in our room until my husband leaves in the morning then jumps in bed with me. On the weekend he gets up about the same time and gets in bed with both of us. We love that. Thanks again for your help
That is fine when you there is just you and your husband but when you have visitors you need somewhere were Duke will feel safe, Ladybug has a crate for her dog to go into, that is his safe place were he knows he is safe.
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ladybug1802
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by ladybug1802 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:16 am

Mattie wrote:Ladybug has done a wonderful job with her dog, very few owners would have had the patience to do what she has done and she has stayed to help others with the same problem and is doing a good job. :D
Aww thanks!!

But yes the crate has been a godsend. He loves it - takes himself off to sleep in there, has toys in there and it is like a cosy, covered over den. Now thats not to say it is a miracle 'cure'....he still barks a lot when people come in, and that used to be the time when he would lunge and snap. So although he still barks, he is safely away from the people and knows he is safe, so the barking styas as just barking...then he calms down quite fast.

My parents recently had Dylan for a couple of days when i went to a friend's wedding, and I have bought them a crate to have at their house (£10 off ebay for an XL one!)....because mum is still reciovering from having a brain tumour removed, and Dad has been so busy with work and looking after mum, they have a lady come in and help clean occasionally....which happened to tie in with when they had Dylan! Had they not had the crate it would have been difficult....but he went in his crate in the kitchen. The lady sat down with my parents at the kitchen table with a cup of tea initially, and when he had calmed down Dad opened the door of the crate. Dylan eventually came out, sniffed her arm, went away again, then came under the table, barked once, then took himself back in his crate and stayed there! When she started doing some cleaning Dad shut the door. Now he did bark when she left the room to clean elsewhere and then came back in again, and he did bark quite a lot apparabtly, but then stopped....but its to be expected i think. After all although he is there a lot, it isnt his home, and it was all different.

But what i found brilliant about the crate initially, for my dog anyway, was that because he loved it it took the extra worry and stress away from me. Before then i was constantly worried about how best to deal with him when people came over, and had started shutting him in the kitchen....but then he had to be let out, and in the crate he can still keep an eye on everything from a distance.

I know I do sound like I am doing PR for dog crates dont I!! Although I knw not all dogs like them, as long as you take time training them to see it as a safe haven it is a good thing......and if there were people coming over that i felt would not ignore him for example (I havent had this yet!) I could leave him in his crate with some yummy things to occupy him and know all will be fine.

I assume you were asking about the bed as a possible place to send him to when people come over? Good idea in theory, and with non fearful dogs and non reactive dogs this is great....get them to know that when people come to the door they go to their bed, or another place. But if your dog is anything like mine, he got waaay too stressed and too adrenaline fuielled to be abloe to physcially stay in one spot. I think the crate thing is a better idea.....spend some time making it all nice and cosy and getting him to see it as his happy place! Is your crate covered over? I have mine covered over 3/4 of the way with a throw, so if he wants to curl up at the back away from evrything he can, but if he wantsd to see into the living room he comes to the front. That might help?

And as mattie has said - tonnes of exercise!! I feel so sorry for dogs who dont get exercised at all...they must be climbing the walls!

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Nettle
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by Nettle » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:27 am

Just to make it clearer -

When visitors come and have sat down, you bring the dog in on his leash and let him rest beside you on a really really comfortable place which I have described as a bed. It doesn't matter where he is other times: this is for when you have visitors.

He is beside you so he feels safer
He is on lead so he can't jump on the vistirs
I mentioned a really comfortable bed because so many people think the dog should lie on a hard floor, and you need him to be totally comfortable with where he is when visitors arrive in order to keep all the circumstances allied to visitors positive to the dog.

Where he is the rest of the time doesn't matter.

I hope that makes sense and thank you for letting me know that it didn't before. :)
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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ladybug1802
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by ladybug1802 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:31 am

Ah sorry - I missed the reason for the bed comment! Oops!

runlip
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by runlip » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:26 pm

I do have the crate partly covered.
Today my son (15) had about 10 boys over before baseball practice.They stayed outside but I put him in the crate in case anyone came wondering into the house. Plus when my daughter (13) saw him with all his friends she asked to have a friend over too. So I let her. Duke was ok in the crate. He barked when the girl came in and when he would see her. I took duke outside away from the boys with some cheese and a clicker. I clicked and rewarded when he didn't bark. He did pretty good but I couldn't get very close because they were playing basketball and kinda rowdy so I brought him in. Duke kinda knows my daughters friend so I thought to bring him into the kitchen with them with treats but he barked alot pulled to her and she was scared so I took him away. I should have left well enough alone. After every one left I cried. It took so long to convince my husband to get a dog and now I am having so much trouble.
I sometimes think Duke would be better with someone else. He is fine when he goes to the dogsitter. She takes in 3 dogs at time and treats them as if they are hers. She did say she could see why I get nervous around him. She had a worker at the house and Duke barked at him.The man thought he was going to bite but she said no he's not,just ignore him.
Lady bug..How old is your dog?

ladybug1802
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by ladybug1802 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:17 am

Oh bless you - I can totally relate to the way you feel...honestly. I cried so many tears through sheer frustration and not knowing what to do for the best.

You are doing so many of the right things though...brilliant putting him in the crate, covering it, and clicking/treating for calm behaviour. BUt, as you have said yourself, you are just going too fast. 10 boys are a LOT for a fearful dog....they run, shout and are fast! I wouldnt have Dylan near them myself...he could walk happily thro0ugh them now, with no issues, but I know if they were running round he would freak out. Nowadays he would look scared, and if he was pushed and on lead and they were near he may lunge...but I dont know as he hasnt reacted in soooo many months.

I personally would have kept him in his crate till they had gone. It would be interesting to know what Duke would have been like with your daughter's friend OFF lead (but i dont suggest you try it yet!) as I know when i was trying to have Dylan on a lead when people came in etc it made him a lot worse. Apart from anything else, he coudl easily sense the stress in me as any stress will travel down the lead to the dog...so thats ones problem. Dylan would end up lungeing and snapping like a mad thing.....for him being on lead made him worse. I remember one time at my parents house last summer, my mum had a slipped disc and was in bed and the doctor popped round. I put Dylan on lead in the hallway to see how he would be....he was at the other end of the hallway to the front door, and the hallway is large,. When the doorbell rung he barked a lot, but when the doctor came in he went mental....lungeing to the end of the lead, snarling, barking. Awful.

Interestingly, as a contrast, the other morning the postman rang on my doorbell as he had a package I needed to sign for. In these occasions I shut the door to the living room from the hallway, and have a baby gate at the other end of the hall into the kitchen which i shut too, as he can go from the living room to the kitchen. So he is usually behind the baby gate. In this instance because it was early on a weekend I was sleepy and forgot to shut the baby gate!! So I was standing in the front doorway, with the postman, signing for my package, when Dylan came barking down my hallway and out the door. He stopped just outside the front door, to the left in my little front garden and totally ignored the postman. I said "inside" and off he went back inside. But the point is I was so pleased as fully expected him to lunge at the postie...but nothing. I couldnt have said the same thing 6 months ago!

So for now, when people come round, keep Duke in his crate with something yummy to occupy him. Apart from keeping him out of the way of anything he finds scary, it will work miracles at keeping YOU relxed and calm...which is part of the battle! If it is one person that has come round, like for example with your daughter's friend, just ask them to totally 100% ignore him when he is let out of the crate. Have the person in the same room as the crate so Duke can see them for a while before you let him out, get them to sit down and relax, then let him out. He may well go and sniff the person, but this is where it is so important they ignore him. Dylan will always go sniff them initially then wander off again, and come back later. But if they try to stroke him or look him in the eye when he first gpes up top them he hates it....I can read him now so he will get a frozen, wide eyed look (which nowadays will last longer before he snaps) and then if that isnt listened to he will do a little lunge and snap. 6 months ago however, this wide eyed look he gets would have only appeared on his face for a very split second before he snapped....now its there for a good deal longer which gives me time to stop what is happening. I was at a friends house with him one evening, and another girl we both work with was there. We had both warned her how to treat Dylan initally as she is not doggy, and she was great....Dylan came and sat next to her straight away, and because she didnt look at him he was fine. She had her hand down and he pushed his nose under for cuddles, so she stroked him on the chest. But then she became compacent and looked down at him and stared him in the eyes - because he looks SO cute! He then got 'that' look so both me and my friend asked her to look away....his look disappeared and he was happy again!

So this is a long waffling post I'm afraid, but I just wanted to show you how things can improve. Sure, Duke may never be the type of dog that loves all people, but so what....humans dont like everyone so why should dogs! But its a case of slowly slowly catchy monkey!! And management in the meantime. It DOES get easier I promise, and it is SO rewarding when you find what works, and you see improvements and realise your dog looks to you for support and knows you will protect it.

He may be better with the dog walker because she isnt nervous around him, With you he may be picking up your stress and thinking "ooh hang on, mum is worried, what is it where is it....theres a monster!" Plus there are other dogs there...Dylan is more confident when other dogs are around. Or he was./..now he is getting more confident in all situations all by his little self!

But as you can see, the ignoring thing is SO important. It is hard soemtimes to make sure people DO ignore your dog, because if he looks anything like mine they all think he is there to be cuddled! But once you see how it helps Duke to be ignored by strangers, you will probably, like me, have no qualms in telling all and sundry to not look at or speak to your dog!!

Oh and Dylan is about 2 years old i think....he is a rescue so I dont know exactly!

Hope that helps a bit....sorry it was a bit waffly. Just ask if anything doesnt make sense!!!

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Mattie
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by Mattie » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:42 am

runlip wrote:I do have the crate partly covered.
Well done, have you tried it fully covered to see how he is? You can then cover it to have he feels the safest.
Today my son (15) had about 10 boys over before baseball practice.They stayed outside but I put him in the crate in case anyone came wondering into the house. Plus when my daughter (13) saw him with all his friends she asked to have a friend over too. So I let her. Duke was ok in the crate. He barked when the girl came in and when he would see her. I took duke outside away from the boys with some cheese and a clicker. I clicked and rewarded when he didn't bark. He did pretty good but I couldn't get very close because they were playing basketball and kinda rowdy so I brought him in.
Too much too quickly, he would have been better staying in his crate, no matter how good boys are they are noisy which can upset nervous, sensitive dogs. Just because he didn't bark at them doesn't mean he was happy, there are some clips about a dog's body language in the Articles section, have a look at them, it will help you understand Duke much better, you will be able to read what he is telling you.
Duke kinda knows my daughters friend so I thought to bring him into the kitchen with them with treats but he barked alot pulled to her and she was scared so I took him away.
Her being scared would have made things worse.
I should have left well enough alone. After every one left I cried. It took so long to convince my husband to get a dog and now I am having so much trouble.
This is the best part of your post, you have realised and understood what you did wrong, well done. We all make mistakes, I have made loads in the past, the mistakes don't matter as much as how we deal with the mistake and by realising what you done wrong is a very big leap forward, you will make sure you don't make that mistake again. Hugs.

You are on a very steep learning curve with Duke, at the moment you need that bottle of wine and box of chocolates. :lol:
I sometimes think Duke would be better with someone else. He is fine when he goes to the dogsitter. She takes in 3 dogs at time and treats them as if they are hers. She did say she could see why I get nervous around him. She had a worker at the house and Duke barked at him.The man thought he was going to bite but she said no he's not,just ignore him.
Lady bug..How old is your dog?
Nope, Duke wouldn't be better with someone else because you are trying to work with him to get him better, many people wouldn't and he would be just past on continously until he was pts, he is very lucky to be with you.

Dogs being nervous when workmen come in is normal, my dogs are, their home is their safe place, a strange man can make them feel nervous and threatened. Again how we deal with this is relevant, I keep my dogs away from them unless I know them and know they won't be frightened but will work with them.

Just slow down and you will get there with Duke, at the moment you are trying too hard, relax and enjoy what is is offering you now, then you will see the improvements much quicker.

We are here for the bad times as well as the good, stay with us and it won't be long before you will be helping others like Ladybug is doing now, she never thought she would be doing that when she first came here. :lol:
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ladybug1802
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Re: Prozac for dogs

Post by ladybug1802 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:13 am

Mattie wrote:We are here for the bad times as well as the good, stay with us and it won't be long before you will be helping others like Ladybug is doing now, she never thought she would be doing that when she first came here. :lol:
That is so true! Have a look through some of my old posts and see some of the advice I got then....it really helped and will be relevant to you now too.

Oh and if any workmen need to come to my house, Dylan would go in his crate for sure. Not long ago I had a carpenter do some work at my house for a couple of days. I usually leave home at 8ish for work, and he was due to come at 8....I take Dylan to my friend's on the way to work. So because I knew the guy would be turning up at a similar time to me leaving, and there wouldnt be enough time for him to calm down before I needed to leave, Iput him in the car at about 7.50. I didnt want him getting stressed and then having to take him out the house when in a stressed state.

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