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Discussion Starter #1
I'm so tired of this. Zack is 4 years old. I've worked with private trainers, who employed everything from e-collars (not good) to cookies. We've done Control Unleashed- I even attended a workshop to learn more. We play the "look at that" game constantly & he is usually good if the situation is under control, i.e., he's on leash & I'm machine-gunning treats to him. BUT, if another dog stares at him and I'm not right there to handle the situation- he's lunging, growling, etc. He's from working lines - Czech border dogs - and some of his siblings are also constantly keyed up.

I take him out a lot (he's terrible in the car too - barking, whining, jumping - always has been. I have the "Through a Dog's Ear" cd's & they didn't help either.)

I cook for him. I've had his thyroid checked and he gets complete blood panels every year. I use the Click to Calm methods. We do NILIF. He's on a no-pull harness. He gets tons of exercise - both ball playing and long walks. In short, there is nothing I haven't done. Last night we went to a park where a club trains (for more socialization.) He got loose due to me fumbling with the leash, ran across the park & started sniffing a rottweiler. Within seconds it turned into a fight - no blood, just noise. The owner is in a wheelchair. I wanted to die right there. We left immediately.

He's a GREAT obedience dog, learns quickly, loves to work with me. But I cannot trust him off leash. This rott was just standing there - and Zack got into prey drive & took off. I called him & he hesitated but apparently my very high value cookies were not as enticing as this dog minding his own business.

At home, he can be a pain. If another dog barks in the neighborhood, he chimes in. The UPS man? Forget it - he's lunging & barking & cannot be stopped. In most cases, I can get him to "quiet" (except UPS) but that sharp-out-of-nowhere bark is rattling. Sometimes, I swear, he barks at leaves that are falling. He's always been keyed up.

He suffers from allergies & is on antihistamines. They don't calm him down. They don't key him up either - they have basically no effect on his mood & little on his allergies. We've done holistic vets, allopathic vets & everybody in between. I have an allopathic vet now who is great & we're controlling his allergies through shots, baths, etc. Do I need to tell you I've spent, literally, tens of thousands of dollars on this guy? I still love him dearly & would spend another kings ransom.

So, now I'm wondering if he has a chemical imbalance in his brain. Has anybody ever tried Prozac or other types of SSRI's? I absolutely HATE going this route - but we aren't happy around here. I got him to accompany my husband & myself on trips - but that doesn't happen. I can give him "ace" - but that seems extreme. I can't even take him to a farmer's market because I have to constantly watch him. It seems the minute I take my eye off of him - a blue eyed BC comes around the corner and he's nuts.

I guess I'm asking if anybody has ever used an SSRI or even an older fashioned tricyclic (they have sedating tendencies) to keep their dogs under threshold?
 

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I am interested to hear the replies given because while Shenzi is not always 'keyed up' she has her moments where nothing but an 'I just killed you' will 'break' the current mentality shes in. Nothing has happened, just on our normal walk or playing or whatever and suddenly its like she's spooked at something and is looking in all directions and acting quite 'keyed up'. When she is like this and sees someone her reactivity goes back to sq. 1. We are working through it by drilling her to get her attention back on me-I don't like giving her 'I just killed you' corrections...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
-I don't like giving her 'I just killed you' corrections...
I used an e-collar and prong collar for about 9 months - they made it worse. It seemed to escalate the problem, especially when the collars were off. I've had the best results using the book Control Unleashed & actually attended a 2 day seminar. BUT, I still can't trust him unless I constantly monitor him & it seems after 2+ years, we should be further along. I will say, however, that I don't get the over threshold lunging at other dogs - even when they're lunging at him - when I use those methods.

Just my experience - and I'm certainly no expert.
 

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Corrections tend to escalate the issue when the dog a)doesnt understand what a correction is(i.e I'm getting shocked-what does it mean?) and b) the correction isnt hard enough to 'reach' the dog. There is a mighty fine line between an I killed you, the right correction, and a 'nagging' correction. Also, some dogs view a correction as a contest, how high are you willing to go. With these dogs you need to try everything to find a correction that reachs that particular dog and it doesnt become a pissing contest. I've worked with a dog that would yawn at everything I tried until I got my dog and worked with him in front of him. Now after that didnt he change his tune?
The problem with people who use ecollars and prongs don't use it properly. The problems got worse after you took them off because the dog NEW you had no backup. The dog cannot correlate the correction with a particular object-especially a collar. You cannot just put the collar on a dog and expect a miracle. If you do not understand the correction or how to apply it a trainer should be sought for a lesson. I have heard people who do not take the collar off, to people who put it on 30-45 minutes before the training session. It all depends on your preferences and your training schedule and most of all-your expectations.
I have heard VERY good things about control unleashed, I have not looked into it. When I have some money kicking around I will buy the book and dvd, because everyone is raving on this.
I know how you feel about thinking you should be further along in your training-I do not know what your issues consist of, but I will tell you that if you have made any progress in the last 2 years you have done your job. You are trying, and sometimes thats all that matters. If you give 110% to it, any progress, and I mean any progress, should be viewed as a WIN.

Edit:I'm not an expert. If someone could help us, please chime in!
 

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I care for a reactive mutt (gsd mix) named Allie who did much, much better on prozac. This was after tons of behavioral mod that we decided to try the meds. They really helped a ton, she was still reactive, but less so, and it allowed her to think, which allowed the behavioral mod stuff to work.
 

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Does Zack have an outlet for his drives, or everything has always been aimed exclusively towards calming him down?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Does Zack have an outlet for his drives, or everything has always been aimed exclusively towards calming him down?
I make sure he has an outlet for his drives. He LOVES tennis balls & gets several vigorous games each day. He gets long walks with me and now that it is cooler, we'll do some running. He gets big raw bones 1-2X week to chew on. So, yeah, I make sure he has some outlets for his energy.

Regarding the previous post about prong/ecollars - I don't want to get into a debate - Lord knows, we've exhausted that subject. But, I do want him/her to know that I learned how to use these devices under an experienced trainer who has 30 years of experience. We did several weeks of collar on/collar off before any shock was applied. I know about correcting vs nagging. For Zack, it escalated him. Other dogs - it might work. I wanted my original post to be complete as regards to everything I've tried.

I guess there is a doggie Prozac on the market - didn't know that. Has anybody used it?
 

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Do you do anything for his mental exercise? Agility, tracking are great outlets for higher anxiety dogs. I know it is hard to bring them into a training environment with agiltiy equipment, but maybe you can make some yourself for home. Tracking is free and easy to do, really is a great way for a dog to get mental exercise and it is confidence building when you quietly praise him along the way.
 

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Dogmama, I cannot even begin to stress how much I appreciate having someone prove me wrong. Seriously.
I'm 21 years old, and female. :)
I did mention in my post some dogs don't respond to corrections the way we want...
I have no knowledge whatsoever on doggie prozac. I have experience with people paxil ( 3 months to fix some people issues, pm me if you want more info, I'm open about it) and I have to say I completely agree with using it-the right way. It should be coupled with behaviour modifying excercises and strict supervision in humans. In dogs, I don't know. I would couple it with the behaviour modifying, take it slow and lower my expectations a little through the transition period. I would also get some really good information from an individual who has taken this route before.
Like other tools, don't expect a miracle, and take it slow if this is the route you decide to take.
I've written most of this post not directed at you, but for those who havnt spent time working with the real deal who are thinking about this route. I really hope someone here has done this and can actually help.
 

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The doggy prozac is clamicalm? It is designed to treat separation anxiety. It lowers the dogs anxiety level so that as mentioned, behaviour modification can have an effect. It is designed for short-term use, like six months. Like prozac, it works by boosting the serotonin levels in the brain. It takes weeks for the brain neurons to grow extra dendrons to be able to take up the extra serotonin, but it is not a drug that "drugs" you, or your dog - rather it normalizes brain chemistry, but that is why it takes a while to work.

My vet was saying that it has been found to decrease aggression in some dogs, but not always. I don't know if it works on dog-aggression, as that is a different dynamic than aggression aimed at people. I think if you feel that you have exhausted other venues, it won't do any harm to try it. There has not been any negative effects reported in dogs that I have heard or read about.
 

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I make sure he has an outlet for his drives. He LOVES tennis balls & gets several vigorous games each day. He gets long walks with me and now that it is cooler, we'll do some running. He gets big raw bones 1-2X week to chew on. So, yeah, I make sure he has some outlets for his energy.
I didn't mean outlets for his energy but more along the lines that onyx'girl wrote. How do you challenge his mind? You wrote that he's a good obedience dog, and that's great. Has he been trained around distractions before letting off leash? Tracking is excellent because, from my experience, 10 min track equals to an hour fetching in terms of using the energy, plus it gives your dog a sense of accomplishment and success. Does he like to play tug and roughhouse?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I didn't mean outlets for his energy but more along the lines that onyx'girl wrote. How do you challenge his mind? You wrote that he's a good obedience dog, and that's great. Has he been trained around distractions before letting off leash? Tracking is excellent because, from my experience, 10 min track equals to an hour fetching in terms of using the energy, plus it gives your dog a sense of accomplishment and success. Does he like to play tug and roughhouse?
He isn't let off leash yet. I do train around distractions & as long as I have his full attention & a pocket full of treats, he's golden. He loves to learn and I do sense that he has a great sense of accomplishment. You're absolutely right - I need to pursue this. (Humans! They're so thick headed sometimes!)

I know absolutely nothing about tracking. Where do I start? I don't even know of a club or individual who does tracking around here - but I'll start looking. THANK YOU!
 

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This link has articles on tracking: http://www.schutzhundvillage.com/nose1.html
You can start tracking easily by just doing scent pads and then moving on to a straight track with food every step. Eventually take away the amount of food and start putting articles down. Dogs do enjoy tracking!
 

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Wow - great article! Thanks so much! I printed it and we'll start today. I can see where this would be of TREMENDOUS value to Zack. (1) He thinks (2) He succeeds (3) He eats. Perfect!!!
 

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Doggy prozac is just overpriced prozac. My vet gave us a script for regular prozac, which we got from the pharmacy, $4 paid for 2 months worth. Allie was on it for 7 months I think, maybe 8, with her it did help lower her aggression/reactivity and allowed the behavior modification to help. She is still a bit reactive but is way better now. She wouldn't have gotten there without the prozac. With some dogs it can do the opposite and make them worse. You won't know until you try it though. She was a little woozy for the first 2 weeks on, then was her normal self but a bit less edgy.
 

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OK, I just glanced and did NOT read everything written.

But why does your dog need to be off leash? Some dogs just don't like other dogs. IMO, sometimes we just need to accept who they are.
 

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OK, I just glanced and did NOT read everything written.

But why does your dog need to be off leash? Some dogs just don't like other dogs. IMO, sometimes we just need to accept who they are.
I wanted to show in AKC obedience & Rally...sigh. It may never happen.
 

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Understood.
If your dog is totally out of control, you can't do anything. But with some manners, you can do rally novice, beginner novice ob, and I have put a BH on my da dog. A friend put a BH, OB1-3 on her da dog.

I hate to use the term dominant, but if your dog is, then all the anti-anxiety drugs won't help much. Exhaustion does(speaking from personal experience). Mental and physical exhaustion, and my boy walks right past all other dogs:).
 
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