The Zach Diaries: Week One of Behaviorist Treatment Plan

All days start with 2 Prozacs, 20 mgs each. Since this won’t change past day 1, I won’t repeat it. I’ll list medication changes as they happen. Also, he always responds to water, inside and outside commands so we won’t include them in the practice cue list.

Night 1, April 12th:

After meeting Dr. Sung and filling Zach’s prescriptions for Tradozone and Prozac, we started the dosage protocol that same night. Our puppy needs to take 2 Prozac in the morning with one Tradozone and one tradozone in the evening. We feed him the pills with his meals to avoid upsetting his stomach. So far it has been working nicely.

The first night was almost as horrible as the windstorm episode. He kept pacing between the first and second floors, taking naps in all his beds including ours. Any noise would startle him and to give him credit last night was full of new noises. Just our luck. He seems to be on edge but I don’t blame him. After two hours with the muzzle on during the consultation, I’d be on edge too.

He finally went to sleep around 2 to 3 am, even though we originally had hit the sheets at 11 pm.

Day 1, April 13th:

At 6:30 am we woke up and gave Zach food and the pill pockets with the prozac and tradozone. My husband left for work and I took the day off to track progress. Turns out he went back to bed with me and woke up at 8:30 am asking for a bathroom break. That concerned me a bit because he usually doesn’t need bathroom breaks that close to each other. I can assume he figured I was in the house so he might as well take advantage of the perk of having an assistant available. He did bark at several cars and plane noises from 8:30 am to about 11 am, and he took a nap with me until 2pm.

The one difference, and it was completely overshadowed by the loud alerting bark he has, is that he does obey some commands quicker even in his fit of anxiety. He licks his nose and snout a lot and asks for hugs and cuddles. Most of our sleeping session was spent with him curling up to me, licking me and laying close if not on top of me. This is normal but he seemed to need more reassurance. Hopefully I’m not reading to much into it. He was shaky most of the morning which worried me but it was also cold and his jacket seemed to help him shake less. Snack wise there haven’t been any issues so his appetite is still good. That’s always a good sign. XD

My husband played with him for a while after 4pm, and Z seemed to be in high spirits. He had enjoyed bubbles and fetch a few hours earlier and he keeps bringing me his outside ball to play. We’ll figure out if after dinner his dose of trazodone will help him sleep through the night. He gets riled up during sundown and now that it is dark he settled in my lap. I’m sure he always did this but now that we are keeping a log it seems we are more suspicious of any behavior change. He still feels and acts like himself though, in a good way.

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Up, Hug, Look at me and Cuddles. 

Day 2, April 14th:

Zach was so fidgety last night that he growled a few times at household noises and at me while doing chores. He was jumpy and overly excitable. It came as no surprise to me thah after his dose this morning he got upset when we wiped his paws, enough to warrant a growl and lunge at me during the act. I thought he had tried to bite me so I immediately sent an email to Dr Sung and she adviced to discontinue the tradozone. After 12 hrs it will clear his system and we can gauge if the rest of the medication works according to plan.

Zach has been on edge the last day and a half. At night he starts to feel groggy and wakes up after a 3 hr nap and reacts to everything, even noises we knew he ignored before. It is hit and miss with the growling and he is even barkier than before. However, his walker didn’t find anything abnormal with him or his paw today so I guess it must be the medication working through his system. Either that or he is testing my boundaries. A little blood smear on my husbands shirt after being licked by Zach make us think he has a cut and I must have aggravated it with my touch. As of 8 pm he was starting to act a lot better off the tradozone. Fingers crossed. Hopefully by tomorrow the effect of the medication wears off and we can have our old Zack Attack back!

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Up, Leave it, Hug, Look at me and Cuddles. 

Day 3, April 15th:

Today Zach didn’t eat all of his morning meal. We thought it might be a sign that he wasn’t feeling well but he may just have not wanted to eat because he was full of treats or getting used to the Prozac dose. He spent most of the day playing at home and was able to spend 10 hrs alone. He did shake a bit while waiting by the door so we are trying to figure out why. He doesn’t shake every day but on some occasions.

Our friend from Portland, OR came to visit and we had a rough time during protocol. He didn’t warm up to him because Zach kept barking which we made us all uneasy. We used the gates to keep them separated from each other and avoid anxiety on both parts. His trainer, Jennifer Kolar, and Allicia from Rescue Pup, advised us to wait it out and not attempt another meet and greet until we could get an evaluation scheduled. We settled on a Sunday meeting so we planned to keep them separated the rest of the weekend.

Zach ate his evening meal eventually and I fed him soft foods to avoid having them become spoiled. The guys left for the evening and Zach and I stayed in. He acted normal and went to sleep with no incident.

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Up, Leave it, Hug, Look at me and Cuddles.

Day 4: April 16th

Today Zach woke up and was able to ignore our friend from a distance. No protocol was attempted. Our puppy went outside to relieve himself and ate his breakfast from his new puzzle bowl. He loves that thing! We left for the day and when we returned we continued to keep my friend and Z separate using the gates. I plugged in the lavender diffuser and the smell calmed Z down; he didn’t tremble when we arrived.

We stashed him in our room around 9 pm after he had his meal at 6:30pm and had gone outside to play. He didn’t mind the isolation and fell asleep after munching on a bone with frozen peanut butter. We got into the room with no incident. Slept through the night relatively well.

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Up, Drop it, Leave it, Hug, Look at me and Cuddles.

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Day 5, April 17th:

After eating his breakfast and going outside to play ball around 7:30 am, we went to sleep again and woke up around 10 am to meet with Jennifer. She evaluated him and found him in good spirits but realized that he had a skin reaction that could be attributed to allergies. It didn’t change or affect his temperament. Zach responded well to all the commands given, including gonto bed, which Jennifer helped us tweak. She then helped us come up with a new greeting/mercy protocol that involved less treats in hand and more throwing treats away from him which worked beautifully. After 20-25 mins Zach was all over our friend and had no more reactivity. From now on we will attempt this trick from a sitting position first and then a standing one to ensure he has less issues socializing with a new stranger.

We had a BBQ and fed him cheese and a bit of steak. He ate his evening meal from the regular bowl and enjoyed a big nap after all the sun and play he experienced. We made sure he didn’t get heatstroke and gave him water with ice regularly. Well the ice melted and made the water cooler. He loves all cold things. 🙂

Around 7 pm he sat next to us to watch TV and chill out. We played ball indoors too. At 11 pm we went to bed. He slept soundly in spite of the heat. (75+ degrees)

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Drop it, Up, Leave it, Hug, Look at me, Go to bed, and Cuddles.

Day 6, April 18th:

Tax day! Zach woke up and ignored his morning bowl but slowly ate it throughout the day. He stayed at home while we worked and I plugged in the lavender diffuser to see if it calmed him. He was shaking when we got home, as he normally does, but bounced back quickly when we let him out. He enjoyef the sun, drank lots of water, and spent a calm evening with us. That was after barking at our neighbors for a little while but nothing extraordinary. Around 11 pm we went to bed and he didn’t have dreams. It was fairly uneventful. (FYI- Outside temp 80+.)

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Go to bed, Catch, Drop it, Paw, Up, Leave it, Hug, Look at me, go to bed, and Cuddles.

Day 7: April 19th

Zach woke up around 7 am, had breakfast and went back to bed. After 45 minutes I started my work day from home and had to call him inside because he was barking at the garbage trucks. After that lung work out, he had water and waited for his walker, Jeremy. Zach played hard to harness with him for a while and eventually left with his friend.

Out there they met with dogs, kids in strollers and his porch/patio friends. He wasn’t overly reactive. Once home he went #1 and played ball. When Jeremy left he took a 2 hr nap. It is 80 degrees and he is taking time to adjust to the new climate. After playing a while he took another nap. Around and around we went with this cycle until bedtime at 11pm. No incidents. (FYI- Outside temp 80+.)

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Go to bed, Catch, Drop it, Paw, Up, Leave it, Go to bed, and Cuddles.

PS. Seems Zach is allergic to pollen like me so he has been reacting to the environment. We gave him a bath yesterday and are considering Benadryl to help him cope. That may explain the gagging effect I observed. There was mucus on his downstairs bed on Monday (Day 6) which I take as definitive proof.


We will wait a fee more days before reporting back to Dr Sung. After week 2 of treatment the desensitization training will begin. Wish us great success!

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