So far … so good …

Dexter update!

Gosh. He’s doing so well… the Prozac has kicked in. His appetite is back. He’s really learning to relax, to be calm and to be happy. I wish I had taken video of what he was like when we picked him up and what he’s like now. It’s like night and day.

He used to be all stress all the time. Even when we were relaxing he was stressed. Now he’s calm and full of sunshiney love.

So much of his anxiety, crazy, neurosis has dissipated with the combination of regular exercise, doggie etiquette lessons and the Prozac. He’s really come into his own.  🙂

Except for the Separation Anxiety.

I was having such trouble with it that I was starting to feel like a prisoner in my own house … so out of desperation I rented a Citronella Collar. I mean we’ve tried everything. Rescue Remedy, the Prozac, the Thundershirt, etc etc … a friend suggested the Citronella Collar and I wasn’t sure. It seemed … I don’t know… mean. But I did my research and watched a few videos on youtube and realized that the collar just gives a quick “correction” but done with the small burst of Citronella instead of a leash. I correct him all the time with the leash. So what’s the difference? 🙂

Our local pet-store rents out the collars by the week so we gave it a go and HOLY CRAP! It works!

The collar lets out a tiny quick spurt of Citronella spray whenever he barks. It’s fast. Shoots away from his face and does NOT scare him but it does startle him. I am not looking to take his bark away. Barking is a very important part of being a dog but I want him to learn appropriate barking. Barking at a seagull on the beach? Yes. Barking non-stop when I’m away. No. 🙂

I put the collar on, put him in the crate (his sleeping crate is large and vented), left the house. He did ONE bark – had a correction from the collar and then lay down and went to sleep. TO SLEEP! No barking. Nothing. How do I know this? Because I took a video … 🙂

I’d post videos … but like a dummy I deleted them when I was trying to make space on my iphone.

We’ve used the collar now 6-7 times (with him in the crate wearing the collar) and the second time alone he had 2 corrections from the collar. Then went to sleep. The third time … went right to sleep. The fourth time … sleep. The fifth. RIGHT TO SLEEP with no corrections!

It actually made me tear up watching him sleep in the crate. Why? Because he’s learning to relax when he’s home alone … that alone is worth the price of the collar. Dexter was such an overly emotional dog when he first came to live with us and now to see him relax and chill out alone without being stressed about it. Wonderful!! I’m thrilled. I’m going to try him soon without the collar and see how that goes.

The car is still an issue for anxiety … but one thing at a time!! We’ll get there eventually. 🙂

As for a potential new family for Dexter? He has had a few people come and look at him … but they weren’t right for him. Most of them were in love with his photo and didn’t realize that he’s “special needs”. Being cute only gets you so far when you’re neurotic. 🙂 We’re meeting with a new potential person on Friday … fingers crossed it goes well.

Gerry got a little weepy last night when we talked about Dexter moving on to live with someone else … Dexter has really wiggled his way into our hearts. We’re struggling with if we’ll ever find someone who can live up to our expectations. Dexter is too precious to be re-homed to just anyone.


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4 Responses to So far … so good …

  1. Genevieve says:

    I also have a dog with severe separation anxiety. When she was 2 we moved to a new apartment and it got a lot worst. When I would leave the house she would bark and howl and I’d stay down the hallway to see if she would stop and it would go on forever. I thought for sure that I would get kicked out of the place if I let this go on. I bought a citronella collar (even though the guy at the store said they were useless) and it worked almost instantly, much like your experience. She is now 11 years old and we still have to use it sometimes…what she doesn’t know is that I haven’t replaced the battery in over a year. She just knows that when she has it on its not an appropriate time to bark.

    I’ve been curious about the Thundershirt you mentioned. It really works?

  2. Holly says:

    You are so amazing for all your efforts in helping Dexter! He’s so much calmer and more relaxed than he used to be, he’s like a whole different dog. Here’s hoping that the perfect adoptive family comes along soon to take Dexter into their loving home. Just think, he was virtually unadoptable just a few short months ago. You’re the greatest, Sarah!

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks so much Holly. That means a lot… when I look back to where he was when he first arrived I can’t believe he’s the same dog. I’m really proud of him. And me! 🙂

  3. Maria Rose says:

    Oh I am SO GLAD that he is doing better! I am glad you’ve finally found something that worked for him.

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