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Fluoxetine has been life-saving for us. I'm sorry that you have a negative view of using drugs to help your dog - honestly no one is excited about it, but please try not to let the stigma prevent you from helping her. Drugs can be a wonderful tool.

Also PLEASE don't judge this drug according to the dog's reaction in the first few weeks of using it. Every vet and every website should be able to tell you that the sides suck, and it takes at least three weeks to get through them. Layla was A WRECK for weeks. She was worse than ever. Knowing what I know now, I should have stopped the meds for a day and restarted at a half dose. But I didn't have the guidance of a good vet behaviourist at the time.

We trucked on through because I was expecting it to be awful, and it was. Poor Layla. She experienced increased fear, noise sensitivity, anxiety, nausea, and even some tremors. On the other hand, your dog may have none of that. My sister's dog started fluoxetine and literally had no side effects.

After three weeks, it was like "we had our dog back" but she was so much better. Suddenly our training began to pay off. She was able to retain some level of emotional distance from her triggers, and I could use food in situations that would have been overwhelming for her before. She was consistent. It was life-saving.

Since then we've also added trazodone which has been a very good adjunctive therapy.

I really encourage you to consider this med, and to have a thorough understanding of what to expect with the sides, how to manage them, and how long they will last. Do NOT start these meds during a time of change or unusual stress. We started them because we were moving into the city and I knew that she wouldn't be able to handle it. But we did it before our move, planning to be through the side effects by the time we made the change. We were also able to visit the city a few times for short day-trips, after the side effects were finished but before the actual move. Even during those visits, barely a month after starting the meds, I knew that the meds were integral to our success. She adjusted better than I'd thought she would.

Today she's a well-adjusted city dog who's used to passing dogs on-leash, seeing dogs in parks, streetcars and trucks, trains and construction, pigeons all over the place - all things that would have been huge triggers in the past.

The only thing she will always hate with passion are skateboarders and rollerbladers!
 

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Also, I'd really encourage anyone who's considering meds to also look at a few excellent Facebook pages. There's one called Fearful Dogs, and another called Reactive Dogs.

Both are totally force-free and science-based, and never is flooding recommendend. They are basically rooted in something called CARE (Counterconditioning And +R are Essential). You can learn more about the CARE protocol here.
 
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