Our male b named Benji is 14.5 months and we brought him home a few days prior to Toronto (Canada) going into lockdown for the first time when covid hit last March 2020. Right from the start we identified separation anxiety, and after doing tons of research and listening to the advice of a separation anxiety trainer, it was confirmed that Benji's behaviours was that of SA. We learned that as long as he was with someone (doesn't have to be mom or dad) he would get on OK. My husband and I went into panic mode - reason this is such an issue is that once the world goes back to normal in Toronto (whenever that is), my husband and I work long days - avg 8-9 hours away from home 5 days a week. He's already been sent home from doggy day care from having an "incident" with another intact dog.
Having tried almost everything to see what would work - observing behaviours through desensitization training via puppy cam in the crate while left alone, vs. free roam in our condo while left alone, kong toys, puzzle toys, calming tv/radio, tshirt smellng like us, pheremone diffusers, CBD oil, natural aid called Anxitane - an amino acid that helps to calm, you name it.
What we filtered down to by mid-August (5 months into trial and error) was a combination of some of the above: a thorough desensitization training protocol provided by our trainer (average 5 days per week, short 15-30m sessions), pheremone diffuser - Adaptil, and the natural aid Anxitane two times a day. We have been fully committed since, which makes it almost 7 months. PS - if anyone has ever read Malena DeMartini's Separation Anxiety in Dogs protocol, then you know how granular this training really is! I think there are 5 Phases where you start off really easy and then implement time and distance to eventually be out of view, then eventually go to a full absence outside of the home. Although we made great progress in the beginning building a foundation for us to be able to get to the front door of the condo, we have made very slow progress from an overall standpoint - only being able to leave the condo for less than 1m before he exhibits true signs of anxiety and panic. The idea of the training is you never want to hit their threshold of panic, so its baby steps upon baby steps...
After consulting with our trainer and vet, it was agreed that the next route is medication. I truly believe this will help as we will be supplementing the training with his meds - gotta thing positive here as we are running out of options. We have done Benji's blood work and his results came back excellent. Now the next step is choosing which medication. The vet recommended either Clomipramine (also known as clomicalm) or Fluoxetine (also known as Prozac). Start on one of the medications and if for whatever reason it doesn't work after a month or so, we can wean off and try the other.
Now the question is for any of you folks who have gone through a similar situation - getting your b on medication for separation anxiety - I would be curious to know your experiences with either of those medications? I of course understand that every b is different and dogs can react differently. I am more just curious to hear stories, that's all.
Bonus points for anyone who is familiar with this separation anxiety protocol as I'd love to chat on that as well!
Wish us luck wth the whole SA thing and medication route.