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PitRottMommy, Veterinary Nurse
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 3986
Experience:  15 yrs experience in vet med, 8 in emergency med. Founder of a non-profit animal rescue
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I have a 3yr old cairn who is very nervous and frightened of

Customer Question

I have a 3yr old cairn who is very nervous and frightened of noise. any loud sudden bangs or thunder/fireworks/gunshots/aeroplanes sends her into a complete frenzy. She sits and shakes in the house and if we are out on a walk she will cower and just make a "run for it" which is very dangerous. She has just finished a course of Zyklene that the vet had recommended which has had no affect at all. She cannot be placated at all and it is very distressing to see her so frightened.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 6 months ago.
Hi Rit, thanks for your question. Can you give me some additional info? 1) Is it just Zylkene you've tried? 2) Any other behavioral medications like prozac? xanax? 3) This behaviorist that you saw, what did they recommend? Were any behavioral medications used in addition to new training therapy? 4) Have you tried a thunder shirt? 5) What is your typical approach to her being so fearful? The more info the better I can help you.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
yes Zylkene no other behavoural medications have tried a thunder shirt I try to reassure her, I've also tried ignoring, I've tried practically everything
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for the additional information. It will take me about 30 minutes to type out a detailed response for you. You are welcome to wait, if you would like. The website will also generate an email for you once I have responded and you can revisit the chat with a link included in the email. After reading my response, if you have questions, you’re welcome to respond and I will help you further. Otherwise, once you’re satisfied with our dialogue, please take the time to rate the assistance you’ve receive from me. This is how I will be compensated for my time.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 6 months ago.
Behavioral concerns can be a very tricky thing to overcome. You have to find a happy medium between keeping your dog safe but also not reaching a point where you are contributing to the behavior that they're exhibiting (that is "Oh, honey, you're okay!" can be misconceived as "Oh, honey, this behavior is entirely acceptable!" and make behaviors worse). There are behavioral medications on the market that can help to stop her response to the things that she fears such as alprazolam (commonly used for noise phobias). However, when it comes to working through behavioral concerns, my two favorite medications are prozac and buspar. These medications can help to lower their desire to panic or flee during a scary situation and allow you to begin improving their ability to work through the scary sounds. We usually begin by making a list of things that they do not tolerate well and, once on medication that works for them, begin slowly working through them with clicker training. This marks the proper behavior. Perhaps previously she would yank on her leash and try to run off if she heard thunder, but now she sits and looks to you for a command. This is worthy of your praise and once you've made headway with one behavior, you can add more to the list as she will realize what you're expecting her to do. The hardest part is finding a way to get her to understand that YOU are there to PROTECT her and she does not need to be responsible for finding her own solution to a scary problem. However, you must do this in a manner that builds trust and focus, not a desire to rely on you for comfort (so, we want her to look to you for an appropriate command for what she should do, not just look to you for a hug). If the behaviorist that you worked with previous diagnosed her as "a drama queen", you need to find another behaviorist. Drama queen or not, YOU need useful training tips on how to get her past the problem areas. If you need assistance finding a new behaviorist, let me know your location in the UK and I will find someone who can handle such a responsibility. Info about anxiety in dogs: extremely thorough guide to fearful dogs and anxiety: one of my favorite websites for positive training, with the use of a clicker. You can also google "Nothing in Life is Free", which is a training method I use. It emphasizes that the dog needs to make a connection with his owner in order to get what he wants. This can be used in connection with behavioral concerns when the dog learns that he needs to look to the owner for solutions to his problems and trust that the owner will make a good choice. Additionally, there is discussion over desensitization therapy (where a dog learns the scary noise is not a big deal): you're satisfied with our dialogue, please take the time to issue a rating for me so that I am compensated for helping you today.

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