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Old July 11th, 2011, 11:12 AM
geoffh4 geoffh4 is offline
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Please help: Dog developing severe anxiety after moving

My wife and I used to live in a rural part of the south where we adopted two great dogs from the shelter that we volunteered at.

One is a friendly, outgoing, playful lab/whippet/something mix.
A year later we adopted the other dog, a friendly but very shy, introverted hound beagle mix.

In our old home, we had a huge yard and access to lots and lots of trails and parks for them to run around in. We were somewhat isolated, and while we did a great job socializing our first dog (the friendly outgoing one) we were not as vigilant with our second dog. And so his tendency toward shyness became even more pronounced around strangers as he rarely saw them or interacted with them.

For the purposes of his day to day life, there was absolutely no problems. He is an amazing dog who is super friendly with his family and while shy around the occasional stranger, never showed any signs of aggression or anything and was always the perfect gentlemen at the vet/boarding place/etc.

Anyway, we moved to Boston about 2 weeks ago and since the move, he's been developing a lot of anxiety. It was very difficult for us to find a place to rent that even allowed one dog, let alone 2. We are now right in the city and the adjustment as been very difficult on him. He sees strangers everywhere, hears very unfamiliar noises, and is just generally highly anxious any time he is outside our house.

To make matters worse, he is now even afraid of our backyard. We paid a lot more money to ensure a place we rented had access to a yard, however its a pretty regulated renting scheme and we were warned that if our dogs barked, we would be evicted. Because of our previous remote location, our older dog (the outgoing one) was a serious barker whenever outside. She barks at deer, squirrels, birds, etc. It was never an issue because of the remoteness of our living situation. In the city, however, it was going to be a huge problem.

So we consulted our vet and she told us the most humane way of reducing barking immediately was a collar that would puff a small amount of citronella into the air. We bought one of those and put it on her when she was outside.

It worked like a charm and has curbed her barking significantly. Unfortunately, the residual citronella sprays have apparently traumatized the dog that isn't even wearing the collar! We knew he was too anxious to wear one himself (and he isn't much of a barker) so we just put one on the other dog. But even that was apparently too much for the poor guy

Its gotten so bad that every time we go out for walks he just pulls with all his strength to go back inside. Even in our backyard where he is offleash he just sits by the door. He is so distracted by sounds and things that he won't use the restroom even though I know he needs to go. The slightest noise totally spooks him and he puts his tail between his legs and tugs to go back home.



At this point, I'm at a loss. We knew the transition was going to be difficult so we talked with our vet, but she prescribed a medication called acepromazine. This seems to be more of an acute anxiety medication rather than something that we can use over weeks to build up his confidence.

Ive heard of dogs having success with things like prozac before, but wanted to get opinions before I go to a vet again. I want to be armed with knowledge instead of just blindly taking their advice.

I want something that is going to assuage his anxiety so that he has good experiences and then I can ease him off of the meds. I don't want to sedate him.

Nothing bad has happened to him here and he is still getting worse and worse


Too Long Summary Version:
I adopted a shelter dog prone to anxiety and lived in the country for the first 3 years of his life. I have since moved to Boston and living in the city for 2 weeks has made him highly anxious. What medications would you recommend for helping me ensure he has some positive experiences over the next few weeks?
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Old July 11th, 2011, 01:02 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Ask your vet about Alprazolam (Xanac). It's a short-acting anxiety-reducing drug that we've used with good success on Ember. It worked at very low doses and didn't seem to sedate him--it did help him to relax, though. With luck it might help your dog in his adjustment to city living.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 01:23 PM
geoffh4 geoffh4 is offline
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Thanks for the advice! Is Xanac related to xanax?
Can I use it for a few weeks continuously?
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Old July 11th, 2011, 01:26 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Sigh...yes, it's should be Xanax. For some reason my fingers like the c key better than the x key...

And yes, I think we used it for Ember for about 3 weeks.
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