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Our 1.5yr old border heeler started exhibiting strong anxiety around Feb/March. Luckily, I had already booked an appointment with a behavior consultant in April (had to do it months ahead of time) and she recommended anxiety meds, which we had discussed with the vet in the past but it was usually trigger events like storms and vet visits that bothered him. He escalted to general anxiety pretty quick. We started Fluoxetine at 15mg, up to 20mg, now 30mg and added clonidine. It's been 11 weeks since the start and really no change. I'm debating riding out taking him to the max dose since we've put so much time into this drug, or starting something new as maybe this isn't right for him. I left the vet a message yesterday about him. He's 40lbs, and she said we could go up to 40mg or 50mg even. Wondering if anyone has experience in switching meds and how fast you knew it wasn't the right drug.
We have few good moments. We got him out to a quiet park which he enjoyed this weekend. But he spends most the time in the basment alone, a stark contrast to the puppy that followed us everywhere a year ago. He won't chew bones or treats when he gets stressed, just sleeps and hides. I know its a process and am trying to be patient. There is a general vet nearby who only does behavioral cases, but she's not board certified. I'm debating starting over and seeing her, but our trainer does work with her and has a behavioral certification. There are no board certified vets nearby, and I struggle with someone not meeting him in person.
 

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I remember your previous posts! I would imagine that your trainer set some benchmarks for you AND continue working with you and your dog with the prescription on board. You probably know this, but speaking generally... The meds won't make your dog's anxiety disappear. They should take the edge off and make room for more training or behavior modification to happen. But there should absolutely be a plan or else it could feel like the meds don't work. Here are some examples of plans I've developed with my clients that have shown the effects of meds:

-Dog A was dog-reactive from 100' away and would continue to be reactive and hypervigilant for over a minute even after the dog was out of sight. On meds, A was able to recover in less than a minute when removed from a reactive situation, and could remain calm with dogs 80' away. After a month of training AND medication, dog A was able to pass dogs at a 20-40' distance, could effectively be in a park with multiple dogs present at a distance without trigger stacking. And if he reacted he recovered immediately after moving just a few feet away from another dog. A's food motivation was also increased due to lowered stress levels outside thanks to medication. Dog A is still a "reactive dog". But there are many measurable points of progress here.

-Dog B was dog-reactive from over 100' away and would trigger stack even when following a calm dog from a great distance. B would behave more poorly after repeated dog sightings due to trigger stacking and had poor recovery. On medication, Dog B would be able to follow a calm dog at a distance of 40-60' without stacking or reacting and pass oncoming dogs at 40-60'. B could see multiple dogs throughout a walk and not escalate. But 40-60' is still fairly far and if the client had not been tracking progress, it could feel like the meds aren't working since his dog is still reactive! They are literally keeping a spreadsheet so I can see past the 'bad regression days' and look at the big picture... AND adjust their plan accordingly.

-Dog C has general anxiety and was terrified of going on walks and could not go even half a block away from home. 'Zones of comfort' were defined for the client, just an easy way of assessing body language and the dog's comfort at various distances from home. 'Red zone' was defined as the point at which the owner should stop walking, because the dog was still under threshold but on the verge of panicking. On meds, the owner reported that C was able to easily walk past her previous red zone and was still comfortable enough to be food motivated. C is still a fearful, anxious dog who cannot be walked like a normal dog! But the meds have opened up a pathway to success that was not there before.

Point being, none of these dogs are 'cured' and they likely never will be normal. But without having training happen in conjunction with meds, AND without an objective way to measure progress, it is very hard to say how the meds are working. I hope these descriptions are helpful in illustrating how progress can be subtle yet significant. And I hope your dog is on a similar pathway for adjustment and success.
 
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