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Xanax for Dogs?

October 27th, 2010, 09:35 AM
Just kidding! Was wondering if anyone here has tried using homeopathic calming aids for their dogs.

Keep in mind that I adopted Scarlett from the city with no idea about her past history. She was pretty obnoxious when I first got her home.

In the almost two months that I've had Scarlett, I've seen marked improvement in a lot of areas. She's much better around the house and with listening to commands. She's even getting pretty good with Harley and the rough-housing, and in the beginning I thought that was just going to be impossible. They still require a lot of supervision, but Harley's thawed out a bit and will actually play with Scarlett now, which has made a huge difference.

For the past few weeks, I've been taking Scarlett to doggie daycare three days a week, to let her blow off some steam. Her reports have been all good so far, lots of playing with other dogs and no aggressive incidents.

BUT... (there's always a but)

She's an absolute disaster taking her in and out of the daycare facility. When she sees another dog while she's on leash, she becomes a raving lunatic. Barking, pulling and jumping like crazy. It's impossible to avoid the situation, as other dogs are constantly coming and going through the lobby. She acts like this a bit when I'm walking her in my development, but not to this degree and it's an easier situation as we just keep walking and get out of the vicinity of the other dog.

I had hoped that by going to daycare, it would help her acclimate to being around dogs she can't reach. If anything, she's becoming worse about it rather than better. It was close to a wrestling match with her this morning. Other folks come in with their dogs and they are freaked out by her. If this keeps up, I'm going to be the one who needs Xanax!!

So, I was thinking about getting some type of natural calming remedy and giving her that on the mornings I take her into daycare to see if that helps. I really don't want to stop going to daycare, as her behavior while there seems to be pretty good so far and she's an extremely high energy dog who needs an outlet.

Thoughts? Experiences? Help me??? :wall:

October 27th, 2010, 01:03 PM
it's great to know he does well in nursery. may be you can ease the excitement out when it comes to seeing other dogs, by getting him used to the environment that has other dogs than him. perhaps, you can invite other friends with their pets around. :thumbs up

Dog Dancer
October 27th, 2010, 01:10 PM
Are the folks who run the daycare trainers? If so perhaps when you get there one of them could come out and take Scarlett through the gauntlet. Since she has to listen to them during the day she may react better with them handling her in the parking lot area than you. Maybe they can giveyou some pointers on handling her in that situation. My lab goes nuts when she see's other dogs and I always keep small treats in my pocket and as soon as another dog approaches I make her sit and put her through some exercises to get a treat. She has to shake a paw, sit, down, shake, treat. This makes her learn to distract herself from the dog that is getting her excited. It works pretty good 95% of the time. The trick is to catch her and distract her before she's in full out crazy mode. Good luck to you, stay the course, she'll come around.

October 27th, 2010, 02:48 PM
DD - the daycare is run by her vet, and they do keep a couple of on staff trainers. I've spoken with one of them about some of Scarlett's other issues with positive results. I'm not sure they do much actual training, aside from dealing with issues that crop up among the dogs in the play yard.

Let me tell you, I could dangle a filet mignon wrapped in bacon in front of her and not be able to break her focus when she's around other dogs on leash. I've tried to put her in a sit and put a treat in front of her nose, and she just moves her head to the right and left of my hand, trying to see around me.

She's nothing if not stubborn. And there's no catching her before full out crazy's zero to 60 in a blink of an eye.

October 27th, 2010, 03:55 PM
"Exercise, Discipline, Affection" to quote the Dog Whisperer. You say Scarlett is a high energy dog, so how are you helping her to burn off the energy? It won't happen at Doggie Daycare - they are out in a room with a bunch of other dogs and that's about it - not very energetic or stimulating. IMO you should enroll her in a class. Find an EXCELLENT trainer, ask around for referrals. First they should do an evaluation of Scarlett and then tell you what she needs and how to give it to her. You might begin with an obedience class, which is always good to take any new dog to and/or Agility which is lots of fun for you and the dog.
As a rescue, she will have "issues" that you must address, this is done mainly by being the pack leader. You must gain her trust so that she can relax and have faith that you've got everything under control, this is why she is pulling on the leash etc. and trying to dominate you and others. You must make her feel safe by being the dominant member of the pack, and leaving her at doggy daycare is preventing her from bonding with and trusting you.
Like I said at the beginning - EXERCISE, high energy dogs need lots of it, if you can't do long strenuous exercise then take three 20 minute walks EVERY DAY. You will see an immediate change when you tire her out and you will both be happier, this is the "Natural Xanax" remedy you need. Good luck and keep us posted.:fingerscr

October 27th, 2010, 07:49 PM
It won't happen at Doggie Daycare - they are out in a room with a bunch of other dogs and that's about it - not very energetic or stimulating.

I think you provided some great advice 2sheltiesmom! :thumbs up Providing enough physical stimulation especially for high-energy working breeds is key.

I'd like to add though that not all Doggie Daycares are run like this - although some certainly are. I've worked in doggie daycares for years and some of them are really quite wonderful. True - if there are too many dogs in the room it can be tough for staff to provide individual attention to each and every dog, but majority of the time dogs were provided with tons of physical and mental stimulation - through teaching tricks, training, use of kongs, playing fetch, long walks, etc. one in particular I worked with very, very rarely sent home a dog (of any breed) that wasn't completely exhausated. :D But, I think you do need to be careful as I do know of some doggie daycares that simply throw a bunch of dogs in a room together and don't supervise them or spend time with them at all. :eek: (Which makes me very weary of some of them - I would refuse to take my dogs to a place like this).

SunGurl, what is the daycare like that you take your pooch to?

October 28th, 2010, 08:27 PM
Scarlett's daycare is great. Aside from being a full service vet and providing daycare and boarding, they also have an expansive dog park with play yards, water activities and wooded walking trails. The dogs are not in a room for daycare at all. They have several play times during the day where they are let loose in group in a large outside area which includes a doggie pool. There is always a number of staff out with the groups, throwing balls and such. When not at playtime, they have roomy indoor / outdoor runs where they can still interact with other dogs without physically being in the same space.

From the feedback I get, Scarlett has befriended an Afghan Hound about twice her size, and they do daily lap sessions where she keeps up stride for stride. The staff said that was impressive, as the Afghan typically smokes a full Greyhound they sometimes have in daycare. This is exactly the type of thing I want her to be involved in, and as mentioned, it's not off leash encounters that are the problem.

I don't think taking her to daycare is preventing us from bonding. We're doing great at home, she's very affectionate and in household situations, she's actually very good in responding to my commands. I don't "leave" her at daycare everyday, its just a few times a week to let her burn off some steam. A few 20 minute walks a day is still not going to give this girl what she needs. All of that is working fine. The real problem is her on leash encounters with other dogs.

I did try to take her to obedience classes at our local PetSmart. They kicked her out of group class after the first session because of the incessant barking around other dogs, and they decided one on one sessions with the trainer as we wandered around the store would be sufficient to train her out of this behavior. As you can see, that did not come close to working.

I'm currently researching some other private trainers in the area. I found one I like, just need to go out and observe some of his classes. He's pretty intense, but that might be exactly what I need for Scarlett.

October 31st, 2010, 01:51 AM
I think desensitization ( to the other dogs while she is on leash is what is needed more than a calming agent :dog:

Other members with dogs have recommended "The Power Of Positive Dog Training" 2nd edition, by Pat Miller.