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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there, I wasn't sure where to put this question. I don't even remember if I've posted about Zoe my female GSD before. She's 15 months old. She's taken beginners OB and Intermediate twice, and was in recreational agility.

She has been taking fluoxetine for her reactivity for the past few months. The vet took her off of it and started clomipramine. He didn't wean her off it it. Just changed medications. I asked him about it at the time and he said she wasn't on it long enough to have to wean off and the clomipramine would help when she stopped taking the fluoxetine.

She went to agility Tuesday and was worse than she normally is. She did her lunge, growl barking thing almost all the way thru. I couldn't concentrate on anything else but her to keep her in check.

At home she's been wonderful. She's more curious, more loving, as before she was avoiding all of us. At class it's a different story.

My trainer is going to call a vet that she knows is familiar with dogs like Zoe and the medications, so we'll see how that goes.

I knew I wouldn't see the effects of the medication for the next 3 to 6 weeks but what I seen Tuesday tells me something is wrong.

So my question is, has any dog here been on these medications, and how did they change them from one to the other? Weaning or no weaning?

Any advice will be very appreciated.
 

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My dog hasn't been medicated, but has the same issues. Mia loves other dogs that come over to play, but out on walks if we run into another dog, I must look like this woman barely holding back her killer attack dog! Are there other ways (aside from meds) that dogs can break from this!
 

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Why was the med changed? Was the fluoxetine ineffective or causing side effects? Also, what was the dosage? If it was a low, starting dose the vet may have felt it fine to change over that way.
 

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I'd ask why the med was changed as well?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, she was on 20mg to start. She never really improved with her anxiety during this time. When we went for her check up I told him about her behavior. I have to keep a log due to my contract with the trainer and I had seen some unsettling behavior in her for the last two months.

He upped the fluoxetine to 40 mg for two days and her behavior became worse.

That's when he changed her medication to the clomipramine.

Judy, I have tried so many things with her since we brought her home and realized she had a problem. She's been in training since. I can't tell you how many books I've bought for reactive dogs and worked thru them with her. That's when we went to medication.

It may just be a fact that she will never be able to be in a class setting again. She's a great home dog with this new medication but she was way worse at training the other day. Trainer thought it could be because of her not weaning off the other medication.
 

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Mine is on clomipramine for SA & anxiety (she is also reactive)...did he have you gradually increase on the clomipramine to a therapeutic dose? Regen is on 100 mg, but she started out at 25 mg for 2 days, then 50 mg (25 2x/day) for the next few days, then 75, then 100. I know for Regen, it caused some stomach upset and lethargy, some dogs become more reactive when they are feeling 'off' like that.
Fluoxetine has a longer half life than many other drugs, that is the only reason I can think of that he wouldn't taper. You may want to see if it interacts with clomipramine- that may be the issue. You wouldn't start to see discontinuation effects with the fluoxetine for a couple of days or even a week, if she has any.

It's hard having a reactive dog- we have had more success in class setting (obedience and beginning agility), but on leashed walks and even in our back yard (neighbors have dogs), it feels like I'm always on edge. We've also worked with Control Unleashed and Feisty Fido with some success, but honestly I think we would have to have the time to work every single day, 2-3 sessions, for a month to really get the kind of results that they write about in the book.
 

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Did you ever try some alternatives before putting her on the meds? many people have great success with Bach Flower mixtures including myself with my young male.........there are so many things available...........i think Vets like human Drs are to quick to hand out meds........these problems can be worked with through conditioning and the right combination of things...........i also don't think its a good idea to be doing agility right now., its way to exciting, and you can't expect this dog to be calm in this setting without backing up and doing some conditioning, focus work, etc.......honestly, you would be better off in a regular Obedience class where things are calmer more controlled so you can work on these things...........by continuing to go to agility at this time you are setting the dog up to fail, and frustrating yourself in the meantime.........

i would educate yourself on exercises to calm your dog, working on self control exercises, focus, etc...........this takes time and work...........so, my advice would be to back up and work on the things i mentioned, get into the proper class, so you can work on this stuff.........
 

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also, the key with reactive dogs is to keep them out of reactive situations, alot of it is learned behavior that has been repeated in situations........if you don't feel comfortable as a handler to go into any classes, i think you would greatly benifit from private training with a qualified trainer.........privately you can work on things and become a more confident handler with your dog..............learning how to control your dog in situations, giving the dog something else to do besides react........
 

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Obviously humans and dogs are different but my doctors have always slowly weaned me on and off fluoxetine.
 

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i also think just like people taking anti-anxiety meds one size does not fit all, and alot of times some of these meds can make the problem worse..........and in dogs, sometimes it makes them feel different and may change behavior not for the best........
 

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I also have a re-active fear agressive dog. Read tons of books, and am presntly takng her to a vet behaviorist (for about 3 months) to help with her behavior. My dog is still a puppy - 8 months old, and she has displayed this behavior since about 2 months old. It is a whole new ballgame from any other dog I've owned, and yes, you are always, on alert, you really can't take any situation for granted. My behavvorist vet has her on Anxitane, which is a supplement, and had her on the DAP collar and we also use the DAP spray (i put it on her bandanna, and then put it around her neck.) These are all non drug items and can be purchased on Amazon, or several other pet sites (i.e. Entirely Pets). I have found the DAP spray is more effective than the collar, it just sorta calms them naturally (it contains pharamones, that mimic their mom, that calms). The Anxitane we have her on 1/2 tab twice a day (I use the M-L dog size)...maybe you can try these along with your medication, ask your vet? My vet behaviorist said down the road we may have to go to the meds, to decrease her anxiety so that we can introduce her to more scenarios...my vet reminds me...it's a journey, not a race, it takes time...Hope that helps, sometimes it just helps to know your not alone...hang in there..
 

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yep, its a journey alright, anyone who has had a dog like this including myself, its a learning experience and you have to find what works..............they are all different, so its a matter of finding the right combo of things...........many people are just not equipped to deal with these issues, some choose to stay with it for the long haul, some rehome, and worst cases PTS.............those who are seriously trying to educate themselves and trying to get help and are willing to put the time and effort deserve a huge applause! its called trying to understand your dog, and help make the world a less threatening place for them.....................it sure makes you appreciate a stable/solid dog once you have had one of these guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have tried Bach Flowers, it did nothing to help her. I also had her on L-theanine (which is anxitane). I took her off of it a while back thinking the prozac was all she needed. I think I need to keep her on it,she seemed to do better.

She has done obedience 4 times and she is reactive in the building (1800sqft)but usually it takes her around 40 minutes start showing signs of over threshold. She worked up from 10 minutes to 40. She does her obedience very well tho, so she has learned.

I think the trainer thought if she was outside in the open she might do well. But that's not the case, as you said, too much excitement. She is going to credit me for the 5 lessons we're not going to be able to take and I'll be doing 3 privates. We had privates before we started training with her a year ago. They didn't do much good.. redirect is what she says, but HOW? She is NOT food motivated at all. And she does not tolerate another bitch at all.

I've worked on the relaxation protocol. I don't have any stable dogs around here to do BAT with. I have also done clicker training with her.

But at home she is another dog totally. She used to run the fence line to the point of hurting herself. I quit letting her out front.(we live in the country on 1 1/2 acres but have neighbors on each side of us.) Today I let them outside and she'd run the fence but she'd also come back to me. She also ran around the house and the car and back up to the porch. This is a first for her.

She has a mate, Rowdy, our rescue GSD. He's very stable but young. She gets along with him and the Pomeranian well. She's been a lot better since starting the clomipramine, just not at school.

At home when some people come over, we have to crate her. We've been crating her in the living room if it's only a few people so she can get used to it. If it's many people, she has to go in the bedroom. She will react to some people and not to others.
I'd never PTS. She's a good house dog. I'm thinking this is all she'll be. Maybe she'd be happier?

One of the privates we had with the trainer, she took Zoe out to see her dogs in the pen. Zoe didn't react at all. Trainer was surprised. She then brought a beagle to the training building, Zoe didn't react. She said it was because she knew this wasn't "her" place that's why she didn't react. She is called the 'fun police' at class.

I've always been weaned off of anxiety meds, except the time I had a bad reaction to one. It was not fun having to quit cold turkey. That's what I worry about with her. The vet said she was not on a high dose and wasn't on them for that long and it would be safe to start her on the clomipramine without the wean. I was just wondering if any of your dogs were weaned completely before starting a different med?

But yeah, I'd never rehome her, PTS or give up on her. She's a very good dog as long as she's at home. I'm in it for the long haul.
 

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I have heard good things about Composure liquid as well. We are planning to try that with our new dog.
Regen tried many natural remedies (rescue remedy, calming tablets, valerian, melatonin, etc) before we used medication, and for us it was the right decision. She continued to be in agony daily while we tried different remedies that didn't work, and though it's possible that the right one was out there, we couldn't find it fast enough or keep spending $20-50 every other day on the next try.
We do plan to wean her off medications in the next two months now that she has been calm enough to respond to behavior modification and has a better behavior pattern as a foundation. I don't think being on prescription medications for this period has harmed her in the least, and it has allowed her to respond to training.
We have had success with click to calm, massage, and AVOIDING STRESS. Stress hormones stay in the system for days, so each time you put your dog in a situation where she goes over threshold (reacts), you are increasing her stress levels for the days to come. If you don't want to buy another book, Turid Rugaas has great advice on her site about calming activities for dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Nevaeh's Mom, the dap sprayed on a bandana seems to help or was it the thing that plugs in the wall? I might try that.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Runswithdogs, I have the Turid Rugass Book. It's very interesting. I do watch for signals from Zoe. It was interesting that it says just look for one to begin with and you will be amazed at how many times you see it that you've missed before.

I was going to get Click to Calm from Amazon but I read a review that if you didn't have bomb proof dogs to practice with that it was a waste of money. Have you found this to be true? I only have one bomb proof dog, and that's her mate here at the house. She doesn't react to him at all, but I think I need dogs she doesn't know.

My trainer did explain that to me that it takes awhile for her to recover because of the chemicals in her brain. She explained it to me like having a bank account and her spending so much in class and it taking her so much time to save it back up.

She was overwhelmed Tuesday. Due to the change in her meds? It seemed to soon for it to be that. But that's what my trainer thinks happened. It completely wore Zoe out. She came home and fell asleep and slept the rest of the day. She wasn't on alert tho, it was like it mentally exhausted her.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Not really. She has just started to play tug and fetch. We're working on the fetch part. But this is a behavior she never offered before. Interacting with toys. She loves to chew, mostly on peanut butter bones and for some odd reason, toilet paper.

She has never really been treat motivated or toy motivated. If she gets into a situation she is anxious, nothing helps.. treats may as well be placed on the moon.
Not being motivated by treats, that's one problem we're having about trimming her nails. She absolutely will not let us, peanut butter bone or squeeze cheese doesn't help. And they are getting, what looks to me, painfully long. I'm thinking I'm going to have to have her sedated to have them done which I really don't want to do.
 
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