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I am getting ready to increase Buster's meds again (under the vet's supervision). We go along just fine after every change for about 4 or so months, and then I have an anxious, panting, OMG it's raining I am going to die, escaping dog. This is the first time I have increased his meds in quite awhile, getting him a companion worked for the previous 5 month interval, he was relaxed and staying in the yard while we were at work, without being kenneled (we have hotwire fence inside a wooden fence). With the nasty weather in the NE, I was hoping I could leave him in the yard with the other dog where they have access to a barn with a dog door and a pair of doggy beds rather than a chainlink open to the elements kennel. I am very thankful for my neighbor who saw him heading down the road and called him back and put him in the garage and called me at work. The next time he got out, he just went to her house and was waiting on her porch to be taken home. I worked from home on the worst days this winter when I just couldn't leave them out. My husband built a platform in the kennel so Buster could be off the ground, but until the other dog started going into the kennel with him (her choice) I would come home to a soaking wet muddy dog - he was afraid to get on the platform until she started using it. With this increase in meds, we are maxing out on how much Clomicalm he can take. I suspect that some of this is associated with his age, he just turned 12, but aside from SA, he is a healthy, active dog. I was wondering if this is a usual pattern for anxiety meds, that they only work for a period of time before the dog builds up a tolerance? I know you are supposed to practice behavior modification with the meds, but he shuts down when you ask him to learn something new. He can't be crated, he destroyed his crate and the inside of the garage, so I can't leave him indoors. Daycare is out of the budget, especially now that we have 2 dogs again. As always, thanks for any input.

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In dogs with anxiety disorders it is not at all unusual for their anxiety level to slowly build over time. Each little incident adds stress. Eventually it reaches a critical level and they have a breakdown. If this is the case with your dog it means he is not able to relax in between scary events. You may need to step back and figure out ways to reduce stress in his life. This might mean fewer outings to public places, using supplemental medications to get him through short but scary events (storms) and changing the way he is managed.

 

Do talk to your vet about his meds.

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Have you heard of the book "Control Unleashed" by Lesie Mcdevitt? It is a great book about how to teach your dog how to deal with things that stress him or her. It was originally written for people who compete in agility with their dogs, but it has wonderful applications for all dogs who have anxiety issues. There is a game called "Look at that" that may be helpful to you , as well as Karen Overalls Relaxatoin Protocol. The actual protocol is not in the book, but I have access to it through a yahoo group for CU readers. You can probably do a web search for it. It teaches your dog how to relax. Good Luck!

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Thanks, I will check out the book. Buster is only anxious about things around our house. The rain on the skylights, the wind dropping sticks on the roof, being left alone. There are days when he won't even go potty without me standing on the deck and waiting for him - forget my husband letting him out, or feeding him, he won't potty and he won't eat the food. When we go to our place in the mountains, he is fine. He loves to ride in the car and go places, just don't change his routine at home. We tried Prozac as the first anxiety drug and it made him very fearful and like a zombie. I do take him to the vet each time we increase his meds, just to make sure it isn't something else that is causing him to sit and pant for what seems to us no reason. I do appreciate all of the support, I really don't know what we would have done if I didn't have the people on these boards to give use really good advice.

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