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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wrote in my introduction at the newbie corner that my dog is currently undergoing training. On the very first session the trainer says she is extremely fearful, anxious, and reactive. She suggested putting her on medication that is an equivalent of Prozac for humans (I dont know the official name). The trainer claims she would not suggest medication unless it was a last resort and she says her dog is on it as well and it makes a huge difference. Its about $25-30 a month and it would be one pill taken daily.

I personally do not want my dog on Prozac so I completely dismissed the idea but the trainer brought it up again during our 4th session which means she still thinks my dog needs it. My mother doesnt like the idea but my sister is okay with it. At first my boyfriend thought she should be put on it but recently he told me he's changed his mind because he thinks shes been doing so well with training lately. Everyone definitely has noticed a change in her.

So now I dont know what to do. I wouldnt want to put her on medication just to make my life easier and training easier, I would only do it if I thought that my dog would feel happier. There is really no way I can ask her how she feels about being on the medication as compared to a human on Prozac. What are your thoughts on this situation and what would you do if this was your dog? Does anyone have any experience or knowledge about this medication?
 

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She's about the size my first chi was! Yeah, she needs to lose!

My opinion is no Prozac. But my family doesnt really like to do meds anyway.

How old is she? What is she doing that makes the trainer think she needs Prozac? Maybe she just wants to make her job easier!

My golden is very shy. We've had her from a pup and you couldn't open a plastic bag near her, she would run for cover. If I hover my hand over her head, she cowers!! She has NEVER, EVER been struck! Of course, you only have my word on that, but I could never strike a dog. There is no sense to it! But she is almost eight years old now and is just fine. No more running for cover and cowering.

She may just need more time, slower training. I take it you and she are living apart from your family. She may just need a readjustment period. Probably just some reassurance that you are going to be there for her from now on!

I don't know, just a guess! Also, how does she act around you and your boyfriend? Does she appear to you that she needs meds? How long have you had her back? These are all things that could come into play.

Stay tuned here - I am sure there are others can advise you better.

Keep us posted.
 

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How is she at home? Neverous and fearful? Is she very young and just not confident yet, maybe the training is too much right now? A lot of dogs don't handle the stress of group classes for whatever reason - distractions or whatnot. Maybe it's the trainer herself that your little one is unsure about.

You might also talk to your vet about using benedryl to help with nervousness. It's used by dentists as a safe anti-anxiety drug. It works really well on my reactive Border Collie without having to resort to prescription drugs and I only need it for holidays when my over enthusiastic neighors get really carried away with their (illegal) fireworks. Sometimes, chamomile works really well just to take the edge off, too. It's safe and no prescription required. (I use that for my own anxiety issues, too)
 

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There are lots of things to try before drugging your dog!
The first thing I would try is a DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) collar, these are amazing, really effective. Some people swear by Thundershirts, (although I haven't tried them) even a drop of lavender oil on her collar will help to calm her.
 

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I have one who is shy/fearful/reactive. I will not drug her. We have worked with a behaviorist and now trainers in our home and at their home. She has learned to manage her own emotions and we have been trained to help her. We learned behavior interrupting and ceasing techniques. Surprisingly, she has become more cuddly after our work. She knows that she can count on us and that has made her more confident. She has to worry about less since she knows we have things handled.

Is your little one a puppy? I am all for training but sometimes training facilities only reinforce a shy/fearful dog's issues. They get the chance to "rehearse" their negative behavior. I took Ruby to one class. Sometimes with shy dogs people will feel like they can coax out the behavior (makes it worse). I am annoyed at friends and family who insist "I can get her to like me. All dogs like me". Then they frustrate themselves trying to get her to "come around".

I would work on the dog's confidence, establish yourself as her trusted coach, set her up to win and you may want to try Bach's Rescue Remedy. I could not tell a difference with her on it but many swear by it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thank you everyone for replying!

Im still living at home with my family. Our dog is 5 years old and she is very confident at home, not nervous, not anxious at all. However she gets very fearful and anxious with strangers, around other dogs, or when we take her out anywhere but home. She is also very jumpy at loud noises and sometimes she'll start barking for what it seems like no reason at all. My older brother is a complete jerk and will scream at her sometimes or bang objects together in front of her face. I definitely think that traumatizes her so my mom had to step in and tell him he is no longer allowed to even go near her. I make sure he doesnt.

In terms of training we got private in home sessions so its just her, me, and the trainer. This trainer specializes in fearful/anxious/reactive dogs. Since the training started my boyfriend has been coming over almost every single day to interact with her and its been about two months but she absolutely loves him now. She still shows signs of anxiety near him (mainly panting or flinching) but she always asks for belly rubs form him and gives him kisses. She has been more confident around strangers in public and will sometimes sniff peoples ankles. We introduced my boyfriends puppy to her a few days ago and she is starting to get used to him but she is still very reactive and will lunge or growl at him.

I have tried the calming collar which worked for a short period of time and I tried "all natural" calming treats which I dont really notice a big difference with. My reserve with the thunder shirt is that I dont know if I want to spend a lot of money on something that might not work and I cant return. I also live in California and its been 80 degrees almost everyday so I dont want her to overheat. We would be using it the most when we go out. I've looked into other calming solutions but they dont seems useful for the times that I need it.
 

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Good for your mom. Your brother's behavior is immature and clearly not helpful.

The BIGGEST piece of advice I can give is not to force or coax any situation. Ever. Let her do things on her own. We have people come in, sit down, not even acknowledge her. Not try to get on the floor, not try to get her to come to them. Just ignore her. She now comes around. She no longer barks at people coming inside and she now also goes in another room or goes on the couch when the front door is open. This is as opposed to lunging and barking at whoever was at the door and/or trying to run out.
 

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I agree with not drugging her. However, I have an older dog with occasional separation anxiety at night and I give her pet remedy natural herbs in a commercial pill form (valerian). It's inexpensive and works for her.
 
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