Monday, October 5, 2015

Dr Max talks about anxiety

Profile:  Dr. Max  8 year old Shih Tzu living in Riverdale, NY.  

Qualifications:  Ph.Do, PUNY, (Pooch University of NY);  MA in Psychology, Mutger's University, NJ;  BS, Poundston College, NJ

The topic is Anxiety in dogs. I would like to add that much of this information is relevant to other species.  I have the honor of interviewing my cousin Galway. He is a Beagle and is eight years old. He has been living with his Mama for five years. Galway has suffered from an anxiety disorder for most of his life and luckily was rescued by his Mama,  Lorraine. 

Dr Max:  Galway, it is so nice to catch up with you. Can you tell us about the symptoms of anxiety that you experience and some of your history?
Galway:  Hi Dr Max. Thanks for doing this interview. So many dogs who suffer with anxiety are misunderstood and get punished for bad behavior when we can't help our impulses. I will tell you that I lived with a family where I was socialized as a puppy but not on lead. I was allowed to run in the woods with other dogs.   Did you know that a puppy has to be socialized between 4-14 weeks and that is it?  After that the pooch will experience stress when he or she is near another dog. 

Dr Max:   Yes, I read that.  I understand that you fare better when off lead.   Is that true?

Galway:  Yes that is true because I feel comfortable and more in control when I am off leash. I am still shy but I will hang out at the doggy spa with the other dogs.  The problem is that when on the leash I feel so much anxiety that my impulse is to go on the offensive and try to get to the other dog.  This has caused major problems for my Mama.  Just like humans, anxious dogs need to feel they have control. 

Dr Max:  That has to be hard on both of you.  In looking at your chart I see that you have some phobias.

Galway:  Well if you want to call them that. I hate being left alone. I get so anxious that I get destructive. I am so afraid of being abandoned again that fear just gets a grip on me. I am also afraid of  carriages. Don't ask!  I am a Beagle so I think it is in my DNA to howl when I see prey but Mama says carriages are not prey.

Dr Max:  So you went to see the Behaviorist/Vet Dr Shepherd.  I see in your chart that she put you on Prozac.  How is that working for you?

Galway:   In the beginning I felt more anxious but after awhile I was okay. I also went into training with Instinct. They are specialists in dealing with troubled dogs and they work closely with Dr Shepherd. The trainers are a lot of fun and seemed to care about me. My initiation was to stay at Instinct for one month and Mama was allowed to visit me periodically.

Dr Max:  How do you feel now since it has been some time that you have had your training and been maintained on Prozac?

Galway:  To tell you the truth, I am feeling much better but anxiety can still creep into my life. I get very upset when I run into dogs on a leash that I don't know. Carriages still get to me and I am not crazy about thunder either.  Fortunately, I only see carriages in Riverdale.  I am happy when I am at home with Mama and I also like her friends.  I feel much more secure in State College and my NYC vet wants to wean me off of the Prozac once I am able to handle the triggers that set off my anxiety.

Dr Max:  Well Galway thank you for letting us get to know you and helping to explain how anxiety has affected not only your life but your Mama's.  I see that you brought a photo so humans and dogs can see you experience anxiety because your Mama has left, even though my Mama is with you and has lots of treats.  Riverdale was a tough transition for you.  I have some issues with Riverdale too.


In my next blog I will discuss anxiety in more depth since this disorder affects many species on the planet including humans.   Let's get ready for Fall.

In loving memory of my good friend Ella who recently passed away.  I will always miss her.
Dr Max.       
c Dr Max/Ita Dowler all rights reserved 7/8/2012

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