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Anxiety Medication?

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Pip-n-Stan, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. Pip-n-Stan

    Pip-n-Stan New Member Registered

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    TL;DR -
    • Pippin barking excessively
    • I think it's an issue with insecurity
    • Tried training and been successful so far but VERY slow progress
    • Ignoring NOT an option - riles up Stanley, our other young + impressionable dog
    • Insecurity hindering her progress with socialisation and getting on with Stanley.
    • Any recs for suitable and effective (and preferably not too expensive!) medication for insecure/anxious dogs available in UK would be very much appreciated!

    Pippin's always been an excessive barker. It drives us insane! I successfully taught her to "speak" and "shhh", and she will do it fairly reliably when she's relaxed and there are no distractions, but at other times she will bark in alarm at the slightest noise, and it takes a while of me whispering "shhhh" to calm her down.

    I've started to notice that it's an insecurity thing; she'll bark at dogs if they make her uncomfortable, and her ears go back like she's on edge every time she barks at something outside. I'm reliably making her "shhh" around dogs if they aren't invading her space and she's slowly learning that other dogs aren't a threat that we need to be warned of. However, whenever she does bark she seems to put herself on edge.

    I'm ashamed to say I do get frustrated sometimes, although I know that's the least productive thing to do, especially when it's an alarm bark borne of insecurity. But she barks at cats, birds, dogs walking past the house, noisy children outside, flies, other dogs barking, for attention, when she's excited, at car doors shutting outside, at any little noise; the list goes on and on. It gets to the point that we can't leave the windows open at night because any little noise will set her off.

    Ignoring her isn't an option because one: it would drive us/our neighbours/absolutely potty 24/7, and two: it sets our other dog Stanley (10-month Springer Spaniel cross) off too. I don't think he'd bark half as much as he does if Pippin didn't. It makes him want to perceive other dogs as threats too; on his own he'll never bark at an approaching dog, but with Pippin there and barking he gets very excited nervous and whines and barks too and pulls on his lead. Same with any sounds/sights out of our front window, she starts the barking off and then he will join in and they keep setting each other off!!

    Leading up to the title of this thread: I'm reading of other people's experiences with insecure dogs and obsessive barking and people have suggested medication helps dogs that bark anxiously. Can anyone recommend something that might be available in the UK? It might work wonders with helping her get along with Stanley as well, as she is still incredibly intolerant of him due to how anxious and insecure she can be.*

    I think it probably would be possible to continue just training her without the aid of medication and have a pretty good outcome, but it'd be a lengthy process. I'm the only one in my family that takes an active role in training and I start uni in September, so won't have the time to keep on top of it with training alone so I'm afraid she'll fall back into her bad habits. I feel like appropriate medication may help her to relax, making her less likely to bark in alarm and making it easier to teach her being quiet has a better outcome. I won't have a huge budget so something not so pricey would be ideal! Any tips/advice/recommendations?

    Thanks in advance, especially if you read all of this it's like an essay, sorry!!!

    *They are always supervised and if either were becoming exceedingly stressed, we would make arrangements. They are both family dogs and it wasn't my decision to make an addition to the family with Stanley!
     
  2. Walkiestime

    Walkiestime Member Registered

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    Hi,

    You need to get the whole family involved - yes it is a slow process. I suggest the plug in’s adril left in constantly.

    My dogs kept barking, they take a look no time to settle but by ignoring them and don’t get uptight when they bark eventually they do get used to it the noises if their isn’t any tension in you. They can pick up in it.

    I am happy to come over if you are in the Northamptonshire area to evaluate the dogs and give you some pointers free of charge
     
  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    I agree with the above that the whole family will need to be involved, consistency is key in training.

    My main concern here is that you are training her not to bark, but not addressing the root cause, so her anxiety or frustration may manifest in other ways. So do try Adaptil, which comes in a spray (for blankets etc., not for directly on to the dog), a collar and a diffuser. It replicates the hormone a bitch has after having puppies and has a calming effect on dogs.

    With a dog as anxious as this you may indeed need support from a behaviourist but be aware that this is an unregulated profession which basically means that my 90 year neighbour who has never owned a dog in her life could if she wished set herself up in business as a behaviourist. Your insurance may cover this if you are referred through a vet. The organisations in the UK who do monitor the practices of their members and require them to meet professional standards are COAPE and the APBC. But if any behaviourist starts to talk about dominance or pack leadership, walk away - these theories have been thoroughly disproved and will do an anxious dog far more harm than good.
     
  4. Pip-n-Stan

    Pip-n-Stan New Member Registered

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    Thanks for your advice guys. I’ll give Adaptil a try. The only problem with that is whether it would wear off when we leave the house; when we go camping/to see family or friends at their homes etc. but I can look into that.

    I’m working on the family and they do try. They just aren’t as consistent, but they’re starting to get there. Again, ignoring is not an option because as of now, Stanley is more placid and laid-back than Pippin, and I don’t want him to learn that her insecurity is normal by allowing it to continue.

    Before I speak to a behaviourist I’ll see if the Adaptil works. It’s not so severe that she is constantly on edge, but if it got any worse I would definitely look into seeing a vet-approved behaviourist.

    Thanks again!

    P.S. @Walkiestime thanks so much for the kind offer but I’m not in that area unfortunately!!
     
  5. Pip-n-Stan

    Pip-n-Stan New Member Registered

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    Sorry - just saw about Adaptil collars that would solve the problem of anxiety out and about as well as home. :emoji_face_palm:
     
    JoanneF likes this.
  6. Walkiestime

    Walkiestime Member Registered

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    Hi

    No worries, yes go to the vets they have behaviourist lists they will help you.

    I do clicker training reward training to stop dogs eventually from going mad. Make it play time as they see the door as a frightful area etc.
     
    Violet Turner likes this.

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