Poodle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Tuck the Miniature Poodle, May 2021
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I knew this was likely coming, but yesterday during our private training session with one of the trainers who did Tuck‘s puppy classes she said she thinks it’s time to talk to our vet about anxiety medication for Tuck.

His anxiety has been a concern since a few days after he came home. An unfortunate encounter with the dog on the other side of the duplex the day he came home (the other dog aggressively barked and lunged at Tuck as he arrived home the first time. Everyone was safe thankfully because that dog was on leash, but for a tiny puppy that was still terrifying) seems to be the trigger that started the anxiety. Since he came home we’ve been dealing with anxiety about going outside, other dogs, random objects outside, strange people, and much more, and despite working diligently with the trainers it’s only getting worse instead of better.

She also recommended we take advantage of the behaviourist coverage we have through his insurance and see the one at our local vet college to get a treatment plan from her, and that hopefully since he’s so young and he does slowly desensitise to things (he just picks up new anxieties faster than he works past current ones) if we can get a handle on it now it could be a temporary step that allows him to relax enough to learn things aren’t all scary and then wean off.

Anyone have experience with trying a med/behaviourist combo? Were you able to eventually wean off, or were meds a life long thing for you? Either way we’ll cross that bridge when we hit it, and if meds are what he needs long term to be more comfortable then so be it, but it would be nice to be able to wean someday if we can.

Glasses Dog Water dog Dog breed Carnivore


An old photo of a particularly anxious Tuck after a scary encounter with a trash bin. He was attached to me all day after.
 

·
Premium Member
Miss Pia Maria (10/6/2014) Mr. Leonard Pink (8/7/2017) Walter Grey (9/28/2010(
Joined
·
7,776 Posts
No behaviorist at the time I could not afford that, I inherited my mom's 10 year old chihuahua/Pomeranian mix Gracie has deep seeded anxiety, she is dog aggressive, food aggressive, toy aggressive and extremely possessive of her person and has bitten other dogs and people.
I worked with my vet, starting with a holistic approach and behavior modification, eventually opting for medication. Grace is 16 years old now and takes Prozac, Trazadone, Apoquel ( because being itchy pushes her over the edge) Pet Vision Pro eye drops to keep her cataracts at bay ( not seeing well also pushes here too far).
I didn't go into to this with the thought that this was going to be an easy fix, I learned what Gracie's triggers were, and have done a lot to mitigate her anxiety by simply feeding her separately for my poodles, never give treats unsupervised. It's been a long road, is Gracie prefect no but both she and I are a lot happier these days.
 

·
Registered
Tuck the Miniature Poodle, May 2021
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would try the behaviorist BEFORE any meds. Anxiety meds change their behaviors, all around.
Interesting. If I understood her explanation correctly, the wait times can be a bit long here because there’s only one behaviourist on my island and this is part of why she said to talk to our vet about medication possibly. Her concern is his anxiety is increasing so much she doesn’t want to have it continue getting worse while we wait. He’s also taking his anxiety out on me in the form of biting currently. It’s not aggression, and there’s not necessarily anything that we can see that prompts it, just he’s trying to communicate he's uncomfortable. Constantly. I’m head to toe covered in cuts and bruises where he’s been playing and suddenly hit his threshold and in his attempts to calm down he’s hurting me. He has severe separation anxiety from me too, so he will desperately try to pull me back to him or climb me if he notices I’m trying to leave or even put him in his pen which isn’t helping.

It seems like her hope is that because he’s so young, if we take it seriously quickly we can stop it from ever becoming full on reactivity. Right now he’s basically over threshold almost every waking moment of the day, so he can’t calm down enough to learn or settle. It’s affecting his sleep, eating, attempts to learn, and even his ability to get exercise because he’s so afraid to go outside a lot of days. We live in a pretty small house, and it limits him in what physical activity he can do if he’s stuck inside. So an anxious, over tired, hungry, and over energetic from pent up energy poodle is an unhappy, super mouthy and painful poodle. The trainers we use also work with the behaviourist here very often, they get referred clients from the behaviourist to continue working on the treatment plans from the training side. She said that she’s pretty confident the first step the doctor is going to want to take is to introduce meds while we work on the behaviour side

In that scenario, would that change your opinion on which comes first? Admittedly, I could be projecting my own feelings on him (I have pretty severe anxiety myself, and when not medicated I’m miserable) and I know dogs don’t feel things the same way, I just don’t want him miserable.

Poor Tuck. :(

Hoping a behaviorist can help answer some of these questions for you. Hoping, too, you can find one who’s poodle savvy.
One of the downsides of being on a small island, we only have one behaviourist option. The upside of having a major vet college at our university though is that that behaviourist is Dr. Karen Overall who is a highly respected person in the field. I’m confident she’s a great choice.

No behaviorist at the time I could not afford that, I inherited my mom's 10 year old chihuahua/Pomeranian mix Gracie has deep seeded anxiety, she is dog aggressive, food aggressive, toy aggressive and extremely possessive of her person and has bitten other dogs and people.
I worked with my vet, starting with a holistic approach and behavior modification, eventually opting for medication. Grace is 16 years old now and takes Prozac, Trazadone, Apoquel ( because being itchy pushes her over the edge) Pet Vision Pro eye drops to keep her cataracts at bay ( not seeing well also pushes here too far).
I didn't go into to this with the thought that this was going to be an easy fix, I learned what Gracie's triggers were, and have done a lot to mitigate her anxiety by simply feeding her separately for my poodles, never give treats unsupervised. It's been a long road, is Gracie prefect no but both she and I are a lot happier these days.
I’m really grateful we have insurance coverage for the behaviourist or else I wouldn’t be able to afford it either. Thankfully right now Tuck isn’t really reactive so much as he is just constantly on edge which is going to end up with him becoming reactive if we can’t get a handle on it. He’s only 18 weeks, so it’s early and we have a decent chance of preventing it ever becoming a severe, lifelong problem. A lot of what you mentioned is exactly what I’d like to do, figure out triggers and what steps we can take to help him avoid them so he can be a happier puppy, and we can all be more relaxed as a family without a constantly over threshold puppy.
 

·
Registered
Leo (GSD), Lily (APBT), and Simon (SPoo)
Joined
·
548 Posts
I would consult the behaviorist, and if they recommend meds, do it. Starting medication early, as opposed to waiting until they are a last-ditch effort, means that they take effect earlier, and have a better chances at making training and behavior modification more effective.
 

·
Registered
Tuck the Miniature Poodle, May 2021
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would consult the behaviorist, and if they recommend meds, do it. Starting medication early, as opposed to waiting until they are a last-ditch effort, means that they take effect earlier, and have a better chances at making training and behavior modification more effective.
This was basically her point, and then that also increases our chances of being able to wean off the meds later on rather than them being a life long addition to his life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
550 Posts
I would follow your trainer's advice and talk to your vet. They can at least advise you so you are making an informed decision on medication, and maybe they can also help you determine how long you might have to wait for the behaviorist. Talking to the vet is not a commitment to medicate but it can help you make decisions.
 

·
Registered
Tuck the Miniature Poodle, May 2021
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I would follow your trainer's advice and talk to your vet. They can at least advise you so you are making an informed decision on medication, and maybe they can also help you determine how long you might have to wait for the behaviorist. Talking to the vet is not a commitment to medicate but it can help you make decisions.
I’ve already sent an email to the vet about it, so that part is covered. We need a referral to the behaviourist so it didn’t make sense to wait.
 

·
Registered
Leo (GSD), Lily (APBT), and Simon (SPoo)
Joined
·
548 Posts
This is a good blog post on behavioral medications, written by a board certified behaviorist and CCPDT and ADPT certified dog trainer.

 
  • Like
Reactions: Kait

·
Registered
Tuck the Miniature Poodle, May 2021
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is a good blog post on behavioral medications, written by a board certified behaviorist and CCPDT and ADPT certified dog trainer.

Thank you for this! This paragraph is perfect:

“But for dogs with more serious behavior issues, it’s often difficult or even impossible for them to learn until we address their underlying anxiety. The brain chemistry of a dog who responds to every stranger or novel object as a terrifying threat is fundamentally different from a dog who accepts these things in stride. The same is true for a dog who panics every time his owner leaves – his heart rate soars, he salivates uncontrollably, and his system is flooded with adrenaline. These are real, physical changes that preclude any kind of learning until we can get them under control.”

This is basically exactly what our trainer said. He can’t learn because he’s too anxious.
 

·
Registered
Tuck the Miniature Poodle, May 2021
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Peggy had some anxiety as a pup. We were lucky to have a certified trainer who could objectively assess her for us after another trainer basically told us the sky was falling and to return her to the breeder ASAP.

Honestly, I never thought she’d be able to relax. Happy to say she proved me wrong. :)

As I type this...

View attachment 481227
I really trust our trainer thankfully, and she’s very positive that with the proper supports he won’t have issues. He does have his times where he’s ok, which is a good sign. He essentially has trouble maintaining it because he’s so on edge that he’s always on alert. It’s honestly the worst at home because the dog next door that traumatised him the first day home is unavoidable because we live in a duplex so we share a lawn. He’s gotten to the point where he can hear her bark without being upset which is major progress, but going outside is a whole other matter even though we’ve both been making sure that we avoid taking them out at the same time to the same side of the house (aka before taking either out we check outdoors and make sure if the neighbour is on the front lawn we go out back and they do the same. They can’t see each other this way).
 

·
Registered
Tuck the Miniature Poodle, May 2021
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That’s so hard. :( Is your neighbour’s dog aggressive? Or was the lunge an isolated incident? Maybe your neighbour would consider working with your trainer, as well.
Honestly I don’t know a ton about her. In the past we haven’t been on great terms with the neighbours, and while things are finally getting better their dog is a bit of a tough topic that we don’t address often. She’s poorly trained and they aren’t very receptive to the idea of changing that. She routinely slips out of her collar and runs off now that they’ve started leashing her reliably, and is doesn’t seem to respond to any of their commands. From what I can tell it doesn’t seem like she’s aggressive, just poorly socialised and overly excitable so she doesn’t know how to interact with other people or dogs appropriately. Unfortunately she’s some sort of large mixed breed, so even an overly excited bark and run is intimidating for Tuck, even now that he’s twice as big as he was when he came home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
I knew this was likely coming, but yesterday during our private training session with one of the trainers who did Tuck‘s puppy classes she said she thinks it’s time to talk to our vet about anxiety medication for Tuck.

His anxiety has been a concern since a few days after he came home. An unfortunate encounter with the dog on the other side of the duplex the day he came home (the other dog aggressively barked and lunged at Tuck as he arrived home the first time. Everyone was safe thankfully because that dog was on leash, but for a tiny puppy that was still terrifying) seems to be the trigger that started the anxiety. Since he came home we’ve been dealing with anxiety about going outside, other dogs, random objects outside, strange people, and much more, and despite working diligently with the trainers it’s only getting worse instead of better.

She also recommended we take advantage of the behaviourist coverage we have through his insurance and see the one at our local vet college to get a treatment plan from her, and that hopefully since he’s so young and he does slowly desensitise to things (he just picks up new anxieties faster than he works past current ones) if we can get a handle on it now it could be a temporary step that allows him to relax enough to learn things aren’t all scary and then wean off.

Anyone have experience with trying a med/behaviourist combo? Were you able to eventually wean off, or were meds a life long thing for you? Either way we’ll cross that bridge when we hit it, and if meds are what he needs long term to be more comfortable then so be it, but it would be nice to be able to wean someday if we can.

View attachment 481220

An old photo of a particularly anxious Tuck after a scary encounter with a trash bin. He was attached to me all day after.
Anxiety can be /is crippling for humans and many animals: I have seen what a positive difference a behaviorist/trainer and medication does make. Yes, the medication can change the personality from a anxious and neurotic puppy/dog to one that is able to learn, socialize, play, relax and just be a "normal" dog. The medication takes awhile to work and you might have to try different combinations so don't wait to start the medication until you can get/see a behaviorist. I also agree that you do not wait until the anxiety gets worse since it's already escalating.
 

·
Premium Member
Elroy: Standard Poodle 02/20/21
Joined
·
2,338 Posts
I was thinking the same as PtP was. Maybe if you work on these two dogs getting along, to tolerate each other, or better yet, be friends, a lot of the issues would diminish.

Edit: Sorry. I wrote this before reading your response to PtP. It can't hurt to try though. Puppies tend to help neighbors bond.
 

·
Registered
Tuck the Miniature Poodle, May 2021
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I was thinking the same as PtP was. Maybe if you work on these two dogs getting along, to tolerate each other, or better yet, be friends, a lot of the issues would diminish.

Edit: Sorry. I wrote this before reading your response to PtP. It can't hurt to try though. Puppies tend to help neighbors bond.
Unfortunately the chances of that happening are slim. It’s a long story, but I don’t feel comfortable trusting them to do that.

The dog isn’t the only dog in sight from our house too though. I can count at least 6 within eyesight of our house. Half of them are regularly off leash wanderers. One is a touch dog reactive, but has a really responsible owner thankfully who makes sure he’s always leashed and well managed. Basically dogs are unavoidable for him. Suburb life.
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top