This is a super boring post so here is the summary: Week one, good! Increased meds. Week two, bad. Decreased meds. Week three good! Don't know if she's just sleepy or actually feeling less anxious, but either way, I like it!!
Jun is on 12mg of Sertraline once a day and 50mg of Trazodone twice a day. The first day she was extremely sleepy. She cuddled on the couch with me for a quarter of a movie---and she has NEVER cuddled on the couch for any length of time. She slept most of the day. She was pretty sleepy the second day. She'd be looking at me and her eyes would start closing and her head would start getting lower, then she'd force herself awake. She got gradually less sleepy over the first week. Other than the sleepiness, she was a dream. She was pretty much immediately back to her pre-spring-thaw ability to chill out in the house. She has not been in her crate since our appointment and is confined in the bathroom when I am not home or at night. The first week she didn't wear her bark collar at all and there was NO barking.
The second week her Sertraline was increased by 50%. The pills are TINY, so 8mg is pretty much about the size of a medium-sized crumb. Hard to imagine it having any effect. But in week two, Jun went crazy. It was a downhill slide all week with more and more barking, pacing, spinning. I think she was worse and more anxious the second week than she has ever been in her life. She was definitely worse in the car. There was absolutely nothing I could do to keep her from barking except put her bark collar on and then she just sat there looking silently panicked and I felt terrible. I had no connected the deterioration in her behavior with the increase in drugs and emailed Dr. Reichl in a panick. She nicely pointed out that we had increased her dose and had me back off to the first week dose.
Since decreasing her dose again, she has gotten better and better. I was running a disc dog competition all weekend and had to leave Jun home for 10-11 hours. On Saturday, when I got home, I had no time to anything with her. I didn't run her or train her or anything, yet she was able to be calm and chilled out. She even laid down at my feet calmly when I sat down to eat dinner. Her usual MO is that me sitting down is a cue to start pacing, spinning, or bugging me for attention. It was pretty cool that she was able to self-entertain and chill for a night when I was too busy to do anything with her.
I don't know if her behavior changes are a result of being sedated or if they are a reduction in anxiety. I am not sure how to tell the difference. She seems to mostly have the same energy/drive for playing and training, especially when I train right before giving her her evening trazodone dose. A few hours after the trazodone I notice slight decreases in her energy and enthusiasm for "doing things." She is still hypervigilant outside and scanning for monsters buy maybe with a little less intensity. She has also been really nice and relaxed on our short walks and able to be very attentive to me while moving. When we stand still she scans, but we are working attention and getting her to focus on me and think.
We are also working BAT. I love the concept, but I'm not entirely sure I'm applying it right, and I think it's too early to tell if it's making a difference. I'll do another post on that later.