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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>I am torn about this and would really like to talk this through with fellow animal people.</p>
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<p>My dog Carlos is about 9 months old and a mix with probably some border collie in him, but we don't know (see avatar pic). He was a shelter puppy and has been home almost 3 months.</p>
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<p>We all love him as he is a very sweet boy, but he also has lots of anxiety and nervous behavior. We started seeing it with his crate and the most troubling aspect lately has been his barking; he has a deep bark/growl that comes up unexpectedly and seems somewhat threatening. In his first month home, he would unexpectedly hop up and bark at my husband and daughter. That passed quickly and now his 'big boy bark' is directed at visitors mostly, occasionally the random person at the pet store.</p>
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<p>Some examples:</p>
<p>*Young man at the pet store was helping us with dog food questions. Carlos was fine for the first 10 minutes or so, and then suddenly 'big boy barked' at the young man. I corrected him, he stopped, though looked a bit nervous for a few minutes after.</p>
<p>* Thanksgiving day, my MIL slept over (first time~!) so my dh and I could go to early morning black friday sales. My dd (5) is very much an animal person, and she thought she was being helpful and let Carlos out of his crate and took him outside to use the bathroom, then let him back in the house. When MIL opened the bedroom door where she was sleeping, Carlos stood his ground and barked at her intensly until she went back into the bedroom. She had been here for several hours, obviously, as she had slept here and he had seen her the night before</p>
<p>*FIL was visiting and had been here several hours. He got up off the couch to go talk to 11yr old dd and Carlos hopped up and got between him and dd and 'big boy barked' at FIL until my dh came in and stopped him.</p>
<p>*My very good friend and her son came over to visit. Her son (about 8) came in first and Carlos ran up to him and (IMO) aggressively barked at him; hackles raised and he actually advanced towards him. He actually licked and wagged at his mom, my friend.</p>
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<p>So, I do have concerns about this behavior and I absolutely do NOT want this to escalate. It seems unpredictable in terms of when and who it happens to. There are many more examples similar to the ones I listed. I don't know if it is relevant, but he has never done this barking with me, he actually follows me around the house constantly.</p>
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<p>The good news is this:</p>
<p>*He seems very smart and very eager to please. He has been through basic obedience class and was truly the star of the class. He is signed up for intermediate obedience starting in two weeks.</p>
<p>*He learns very quickly and is very obedient. He will stay in a sit stay when people come over even though I can see he wants to run and bark.</p>
<p>*except for the initial first couple of weeks, he seems to be like our 5 year old daughter.</p>
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<p>I have started keeping him on leash when people come over and keeping him in a sit stay until the guests are in the house, shoes off/coat off and able to toss a treat his way. Mostly this helps, however, he does still bark (not as intensely) when someone gets off the couch or comes in to a different room. This happened with my grandmother last week, and he LOVED her, sleeping on her feet and putting his head in her lap.</p>
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<p>We have consulted with a professional trainer who is well versed in dog behavior. He came very highly recommended by the shelter, and he has given us some tips (like how to work with him with guests) but he does have a bit more heavy handed approach than I am comfortable with, especially since Carlos seems more timid and submissive, more of a nervous dog. It makes sense though, as he is known for rehabbing fighting/aggressive dogs.</p>
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<p>We have a vet who is amazing, and I have had many conversations with her about this behavior. At first she was just shocked because Carlos seems so mild mannered and calm. Her suggestion now was to continue working on the behavior program with him and start him on some anti anxiety medication. We decided on prozac/fluoxetine because it was the most affordable. Her thought is that would be temporary, from a few months to a year at most, in order to get him over this hump of heightened anxiety. He is still pretty new to us, and still a young dog, so we are hopeful.</p>
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<p>I filled his prescription and have been doing research, and I feel nervous. After what happened with my friends son, I feel like I need to do something more than I was doing, but I feel like a failure for medicating such a new to us, young dog. I don't want to change his personality (all except the barking!) and I worry about some of the side effects. All in all, I feel rotten. I don't want a drugged dog, but I also don't want this to escalate into a more serious problem, and I want to feel confident when people come into our home that they are safe. I do not feel that way now. I keep waffling back and forth.</p>
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Can someone offer helpful advise? Has anyone had a dog that they needed to medicate temporarily with this drug or a similar drug? Any experience? I am feeling pretty guilty, and would appreciate someone talking me through this :(<br>
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<p>First <img alt="hug.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif"> because this can't be easy. I would absolutely not put my puppy on Prozac, but I am totally anti meds, I certainly wouldn't put a child of mine on either it, so I can't help you there. If he were my puppy, I would be looking at vaccinosis as a likely cause. I am right in thinking he has other issues, itching, excessive shedding and dull coat which prompted you to change his food? Vaccines, worming, flea and tick meds, which I am sure he got plenty of in the shelter, are known to cause skin issues and aggressive behavior in animals. If he were mine, I would continue working with the behaviorist/trainer on the aggression, and I would also consult with a homeopathic vet (I know you have mentioned you love your current vet, but putting a dog on Prozac seems a bit drastic to me) to clear the toxins from his body. I, personally, would also utilize flower essences, they are very effective on animals and you can buy combos formulated for animals which deal with specific issues. I would be looking at an aggression formula, maybe a boundaries formula to help he assimilate to his new environment and a stress formula, as you say he is anxious, nervous dog. Of course I would also switch him to a raw, species appropriate diet!</p>
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<p>Carlos sounds like such a sweetie and well worth the effort. <img alt="luxlove.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/luxlove.gif"></p>
 

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<p>I shouldnt be responding now as I just got home from NYE celebrations lol.  However, I am a bit concerned about a couple things here.  Corrections really have no place with a fearful dog, and you feeling your trainer is a bit heavy handed is a big red flag to me.  There are some very famous trainers that are known for "rehabbing" fearful dogs when in fact they are actually just shut down.</p>
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<p>I wrote a lot more but my laptop erased it...grrrrrrr</p>
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<p>Check out fearfuldogs.com.  Two books that come to mind are Nicole Wilde's Help for your Fearful Dog and Patricia McConnell's Your Cautious Canine.  Most trainers are not equipped to acutally deal with these issues, your best bet is probably a certified behaviorist</p>
 

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<p>We used puppy Prozac with one of our dogs that had anxiety/nervous issues. She was super attached to my husband and if he was working a lot or god forbid was out of town, she was a wreck. It got to the point where she was spending tons of time in her crate because her anxiety gave her an upset stomach and, well, that got messy. </p>
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<p>Puppy Prozac was our last resort. We had tried a number of things before, and we were really hoping the meds could make things manageable. I don't think they will "change" who your dog is, but hopefully they can help your dog be more pleasant for you guys. I would not hesitate to try it. IMO, medicating  a dog is not the same thing as medicating a child. For one thing, dogs have MUCH shorter life spans, so you're not worried about the effects of a medication 50 years down the line. You're also not worried about things like affecting your child's fertility, long-term physical growth, etc. etc. </p>
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<p>I would try it. I would also look for a less heavy-handed trainer. </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
<p>thank you everyone for the opinions.</p>
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<p>I wanted to clarify that we have actually been working with two trainers, one who is the weekly class leader at the local pet store (and she is fabulous!) she is gentle and kind, and that is where Carlos excells.</p>
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<p>The other behaviorist/trainer (not certified behaviorist ( believe) is the one I though to be a bit heavy handed, and we have spoken over the phone and had a consultation about the barking/fear aggression issues. He gave some helpful tips for helping with anxiety in the crate, and for how to deal with his barking at guests. He did give some not so helpful suggestions (like grab his collar and drag him into the bathroom) that we chose not to follow.</p>
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<p>The shelter has a specialist that they work with that the told us about after we had already worked with the above trainer, and she is $400. While they are convinced she is the answer and will get him through this, we cannot spend that right now (we just purchased a new van with wheelchair modifications to accomodate our daughter), so it has to be a future option.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>greenmagick</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1288384/prozac-for-my-puppy-long-need-to-talk-about-options#post_16151522"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Two books that come to mind are Nicole Wilde's Help for your Fearful Dog and Patricia McConnell's Your Cautious Canine.  Most trainers are not equipped to acutally deal with these issues, your best bet is probably a certified behaviorist</p>
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I am actually reading patrica McConnell's the other end of the leash right now. I like her alot, thank you! I will pick up the Cautious Canine book at the library :)</p>
 
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