Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ray Of Hope

Since we were recently on the subject of "just say no", let us talk about drugs. As you know, Reagan is a drug user. Not by choice, of course, but she cannot resist the "cheese" I am pushing. Joking aside, Reagan did a 2 month course of Prozac (Fluoxetine) for her noise phobias related to motors, engines, and thuds. Prozac had no effect so we switched to BuSpar (Buspirone). BusSpar also requires a 2 month evaluation to determine if it has a positive effect.

In the meanwhile, Reagan experimented with Xanax (Alpraxolam). The benefit to using Xanax is that the effect is immediate.... well 90 minutes versus 2 months. Xanax was helpful and interesting to say the least. Helpful in that Reagan was able to stay composed if a diesel truck drove by or if I closed the car door too many times (thud noise). But interesting in that Xanax also seemed to make her behave rather belligerent.

If Reagan was a girl at a party, she would be the loud one dancing on a table. She has always been a back talker, but Xanax really highlighted this personality trait. After exercising, she would come home still energized, wide eyed, and obnoxious. It was great that she was not having panic attacks, but it effected her coordination and she was unable to to agility. She could bike, jog, play, and fetch, but not agility. It was also not much fun to practice obedience exercises with a surly drunk who felt the need to exaggerate every movement she made.Oh and the munchies! Serious munchies! You guys know I love food motivated hounds, but she had her nose in the air and was all about finding food instead of just doing what I asked in return for treats.

Reagan has not used Xanax for about 2 weeks now and I am hesitant to report (fearing a jinx) that the BuSpar might be working..... fingers crossed, knock on wood, lucky #3, and please, please, please let it be. The challenges this week included boat motors that were out of sight. Stopping to listen is usually the kiss of death, but not on Tuesday. In the backyard, she was fine despite the loud, continuous construction noise that was also out of sight (see video clip below and turn up your sound). Then on Wednesday, we trained in a friend's front yard that is great for obedience because it is large, flat, and fenced, but on a busy road that provides distractions for training. I even had her do a sit stay (another great way to accelerate a trigger) as cars, trucks, and school buses zoomed by and again no problem.

Hopefully this is a big step in the right direction. We still have a lot of work to do if Reagan is to compete in agility again. I confirmed the other day that she still has a problem with teeters away from home (no problems at our field). Unfortunately, teeters indoors or under a roof seem to echo so much louder than anything I can create at home. Maybe we can work on the noise this fall when Riley is trialing locally.