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By Published On: March 24th, 2010

I have to admit that after living with this dog for over 4 years, I’m not very good at assessing the causes affecting his progress. I came to the conclusion that I’d have to have the training and the inclination of a field biologist who noted details, keeping track of behaviors, when they occurred, where they occurred, how long they occurred, etc., to be able to come to any conclusions between Sunny’s behavior and any meds, changes in his diet, acupuncture, massage, etc. There are trainers who will tell me ‘why’ Sunny’s behavior changes and improves, often based on nebulous descriptions of energy, polarities, drives, pack hierarchy and wolves. As much as I’d like to nod and believe them, the reality is that, they can’t know for sure either. What I do know is that Sunny is learning new skills and behaviors that help him move more comfortably through his world.

That said, I do believe that he benefits from being on fluoxetine, and I give him alprozalam on occasion (the effects of this are much more immediate & obvious). So I am coming to some conclusions but they stem more from what ‘seems to be’ or from what I ‘feel’ is happening. This information may be based on years of what I have learned by observing Sunny, even if I am unable to explain exactly how I know it. Like ‘knowing’ that a dog is going to bite or snap at you even if you couldn’t describe to someone all the reasons you came to that conclusion. Wouldn’t I just love to have the ability to see into his brain and note the changes occurring there!

Add to my observations the research, anecdotal experiences of others, and recommendations of trainers and vets and I’m onboard with meds & supplements. And though it should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, I am always modifying his behavior through rewards, play and training.

This morning, after about a week on l-theanine, Sunny checked out the far side of the bedroom, which I have never seen him do before (and for anyone who has never lived or worked with a seriously damaged dog, this is the type of incremental improvement I have made note of over the years and which have added up to huge changes in his behavior). Was it because the old cocker was there, the supplement, or having spent a few days with a couple of big dogs in the house, or something else entirely? I probably will never know, but will continue with the l-theanine, especially since I discovered that I can purchase the same quality product at my local food coop for $12 a month (it was on sale!) compared to $100 through the vet’s office (sorry vets). When it was going to cost me $100 a month I was hoping I wouldn’t see any improvements from it! So in this case I’m glad that what I wanted to see is what I’m getting.

*This is not a recommendation of the supplement and pet owners should consult with their vet before adding any supplement, medication to their dog’s diet.

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