Thursday, March 3, 2011
Medication Update: 5 months
It’s been five months since Maisy first started taking paroxetine (Paxil), and three months since we increased the dose. So how is she doing? Absolutely fabulous. I took behavior logs for two days this week… if you can call it that. I didn’t actually write anything down! She might have vocalized a slight wuff at one point, but I wasn’t sure- it was so quiet that I couldn’t tell if she was sighing or wuffing. This isn’t to say that she doesn’t have any outbursts at all anymore- she does- but they are far less frequent, and they don’t have the same anxious, overly-vigilant quality any more.
In addition to relaxing at home, she’s relaxing while out and about. You’ll remember, of course, that she was able to relax in class recently, and we’ve started working on going back to trials, too. There’s more work to be done there, but I’m feeling pretty confident about it since the behavior modification work I’ve done around dudes seems to be paying off.
I’m also happy to report that she’s finally earned working privileges in her Tuesday night reactive dog class. We started working on being calm in her crate during class awhile back, and the deal was that she would spend classes in her crate until she could go the full hour in a covered without vocalizing or snarking at the other dogs. For a long time, she had only one little outburst per class, usually towards the end. Honestly, I was beginning to wonder if she’d ever make it out of that crate! But this week she spent the whole class in her crate calmly. In fact, as we first arrived, she was really excited to say hi to the Scary Doberman (Maisy hates large, dark-colored dogs with prick ears). This is huge progress for her.
Overall, I'm really glad that I chose to put Maisy on medication. I get the occasional email from readers asking about our experiences. Am I glad I did it? Do I regret it at all? And perhaps the most common concern: did her personality change? This last question makes so much sense to me- after all, I loved Maisy just as she was before I put her on medication. I didn’t want her drugged, I just wanted her normal.
If the medication has changed her personality, it’s only because it has allowed her personality to shine through even stronger. She is so much more relaxed, confident and outgoing. I really feel like the anxiety was altering her personality by preventing its full expression. Indeed, the medication is allowing her to grow into her true self. She’s the same dog, but better, and I am so grateful for it. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.