April 02, 2012

Week 14 - Happy Easter!

How about that?  Updating the blog on MONDAY! :-)  Since it is Easter week, I decided to make that my theme.  I tried taking the photos in the yard, but the full sun was giving me harsh shadows that even the editing couldn't correct enough for me to be happy with the result.  So I carried everything next door and used the shade of some big trees to get these. 

I had plans for more shots/poses, but the neighbor started his tractor and Dazzle was thinking seriously about getting that tractor, so I decided it was best to take him in.  Thankfully our practice in the sun made it easy to get the shots I wanted in short order once we were in the shade so I like the way these came out.

I know I have talked about Dazzle's thunder phobia on the blog before, but I think we have found the solution!  I have tried SO many things, but nothing I tried was working to relieve his stress during thunder.  So I bit the bullet and got some drugs from the vet.  During a storm early last week, I tried one of the pills (1mg alprazolam), but it didn't seem to have much effect.  The dosage range for the "doggie Xanax" is rather large, so we started with a low dose in case that worked. 

On Friday, I had to be at the training club since I'm running the Agility practice runs (and didn't want to leave it to Sarah again). But I knew a big storm was predicted.  I went to the club early to practice Dazzle's agility and he got in one official practice run on the full course before I needed to give him the meds.  He has to get them about an hour before the thunder so they have time to work.  Since I knew we were going to be in a metal building, I brought along benedryl as well.  I gave him 1 benedryl and 2mg of the Alprazolam.  I also put his thundershirt on him.  Given how loud the thunder was, he was still reacting a bit and climbed in my lap and shook a bit, but nothing like the basket case he would have been without the meds!  And as soon as the thunder was over, so was his reaction (instead of being stressed for an hour+ after the last boom).  So definite improvement!

Last night, more storms rolled through, but we were between two bad cells.  So the thunder was more distant, but definitely still audible at a level he would have reacted badly to. I gave him only 2 of the alprazolam and he slept through the storm!! 
He did raise his head a few times when there was a loud boom, but then went back to sleep!  I'm so happy I have a way to help him cope and there is a chance that after several storms with this help he could get conditioned to not have a stress reaction to the sound of thunder.  And then he wouldn't need the meds.   It does make him pretty sleepy (& gives him the munchies), but he's not in a panic and that's so nice.  I hated to see him so scared and not be able to help him.