Iggy is off behavioral hold! Since he is now trazodone free, we have seen a very different dog, a dog that loves training, a dog with personality. We are changing up his Paxil to a different anti-anxiety drug, so until we know its the right med, he is on medication hold! Please read his previous updates to see how far he has come with proper and dedicated training by his amazing foster parents!
Hard to believe Iggy has officially been with us for two months! A lot has changed over the course of the past month, and Iggy has made some big progress.
About a month ago, with the support of MNBR and a veterinarian, we began the process of weaning Iggy off Trazodone, the sedative medication he has been on for quite some time. We weren't sure what challenges, setbacks or opportunities would arise with this change, but everyone was on board that we at least needed to give it a try.
Iggy has been completely Trazodone free for 1 week now, and we're seeing amazing progress, processing, training opportunities and interactions. Iggy no longer has tremors, and is able to relax and rest comfortably. He also does not have the same mood and energy swings we were previously seeing. But most importantly, Iggy seems to be able to better process the world around him. The frequency of his staring and freezing has greatly decreased. We have been able to "interrupt" and reset Iggy with a simple verbal command to leave it mid-bark on a walk past a stranger. Recent walks have been almost entirely boomless, with Iggy demonstrating social sniffing, tail wagging and interest in other people out walking, while remaining redirectable. Iggy was even able to participate in a pack walk with other dogs through a group called "TC Reactive Dogs", it wasn't entirely boomless, but it was amazing exposure, and an overall positive experience for Iggy as well as my husband and I (his foster parents). We have also been able to work on recall within the house and the back yard, and Iggy is no longer "fence fighting" with the neighbor dogs. We have also been working on leave it, as well as eye contact amidst distractions.
Iggy has also become more respectful of the cat, her space, and much more responsive to her requests to back off (this was quite the struggle the first month, with Iggy barking and lunging at the cat and tremoring whenever she was in sight if he was unable to reach her). Although he is still often a bit too playful for our cat's liking, he has started taking her cues, backing off, and can comfortably exist in the same room as her without barking or lunging.
Overall Iggy has been a more playful, interactive and balanced dog. The most amazing accomplishments over the past month have been during introductions to strangers. Iggy had the opportunity to meet 4 new people within our house since stopping trazodone. All initial introductions were muzzled, so that all parties involved could be relaxed and comfortable. Due to the brevity of the introductions in our house, his muzzle remained on throughout the entirety of the interactions, but Iggy was able to relax, accept treats and pets with gradual approaches and introductions. The real amazing progress was seen when Iggy spent Easter weekend with a total of 7 people (including my husband and I) at my parents house, an environment entirely new to him. He started the first evening off muzzled. Two of the people were repeat introductions from our house, and he warmed up quickly, especially to my younger sister and her dog. He was cautious at first and barked once at one of the males in the house, but quickly relaxed, and after a short period of time was able to be out of the muzzle, and eventually just dragging his leash behind him. Everyone was able to enjoy his company, wiggles, snuggles and tail wags. What a win for Iggy!
Iggy is still on twice daily doses of paxil and benadryl to help with anxiety and reactivity, but it has been wonderful to see him make so much progress! Looking forward to more training experiences, exposure, adventures and seeing who the real Iggy is!
Liz told me to send you an update for Iggy's page, so here goes :)
Time for an Iggy update! We are coming up on 4 weeks with this goofball in our house, can't believe it! We are accident free (woohoo!) and getting along with the other two dogs very well. The cat continues to be a challenge, with Iggy wanting to chase and bark at her, but we are gradually moving toward not obsessing over her, and being able to be called away when looking at her. We are still avoiding face to face encounters at this time, and Iggy is always leashed if she is wandering around.
Iggy has been out and about on many walks, and has made lots of progress sitting off the side of the path or passing other people depending on the moment. We encountered some moments where, out of frustration and confusion, Iggy would redirect and nip at his leash, or the pant leg or sleeve of the leash handler during tense encounters. For this reason, and along with guidance from Iggy's awesome trainer Liz, we have started muzzle training, and are utilizing a muzzle during our walks. We think Iggy pulls it off quite stunningly! It has allowed us to walk him on a simple slip collar, and to further work on his leash manners and stranger reactivity. Can't wait to see where this goes! Over the past couple weeks, Iggy has enjoyed adventures at Willow River state park (surrounded by lots of people and dogs), Kinnikinnic State park (where we only encountered two people, and enjoyed a
beautiful sunset and lots of great smells) a small neighborhood park (where he experienced crossing a creek), and many times through the UW River Falls college campus (where we often work on leash reactions around strangers).
After a visit with the vet on Tuesday, we have started the exciting process of weaning Iggy off of Trazodone, a sedative medication Iggy has been getting twice a day. We are hoping getting this medication out of his system will allow Iggy to have a more even energy level, and will allow him to better process new information and learn new things. We know there is a goofy, playful dude under there, and we are hoping this medication change will help us find him! Today we are at half his previous dose, and if all goes well, Iggy will be trazodone free in a month. He will remain on an antianxiety medication, as well as benadryl for the time being, to help him cope with his anxiety.
Iggy has also had two very positive encounters with visitors in our house, one with Trainer Liz, and one with a fellow boxer lover. He took a little time to warm up, but was able to relax, accept treats and even accept touches/pets by the end of the visit. Way to go Iggy!
We can't wait to see what else Iggy has to teach us in the coming weeks!
Neighborhood watch hounds! Iggy is learning to really like the place bed. And he's pulling Lyra out of her shell and getting her to wrestle! She still doesn't know what to do with a boxer punch, but she's getting better at play bows and dodging. Parker is still a little grumbly in the house (his norm until a dog is fully incorporated into the pack), but loves a good game of chase in the back yard. The cat is another story...Iggy has a similar reaction to her as to unfamiliar people outside. Something to continue working on.
Today's progress, learning to relax on a place bed, and following commands at the vet (no interactions with strangers, just responding to my commands and observing/ listening to new voices)
Iggy here! My foster parents said it's time for an update, so here goes:
I love snuggling and sneaking in to their bed at night when they are sleeping. I still have accidents in my kennel or safe space, but have had some "pee free" days.
A neat lady came over to our house to help my foster parents learn behavioral therapy tactics, because my anxiety means I don't do well with traditional training methods.
Sometimes I just don't know what to do with myself so I pace around and bark. I heard somebody say they're going to change my medications again soon. I'm hoping that will help me relax more.
That's all for now. Maybe somebody out there is looking for a special dog just like me.
Iggy has been in our home as a foster for 10 weeks. We have three dogs (two Boxers and a Pug) that Iggy gets along amazingly well with!
Iggy has adjusted well to me and my husband; he follows our commands, loves to snuggle us and loves to spend time with us. Every night when he is told to go to bed, he will get up, walk into our bedroom, and lay down dog bed that is next to our bed. He sleeps well for 8 to 10 hours every night.
Iggy had difficulty with us leaving for work in the beginning. Despite going willingly into the kennel, he cried while we are gone, and had accidents in the kennel almost daily. After trying several different methods to make him more comfortable without his humans, we have found he does well in a "safe space". Iggy's "safe space" is a small hallway in our home with a gate on the doorway. He is fed in there, has a blanket and is given a frozen Kong or other puzzle toy while we are getting ready to leave. As long as we leave without making a big fuss over it, he is content in here for several hours. He no longer cries when we are gone and has fewer accidents than before.
When we are home with him, he lays down calmly on his bed near us, plays with the other dogs and his toys, and seems content. The exception to this is when visitors and other members of the household come and go.
Iggy has not had an opportunity to bond with the other two adults in our home, and he is not happy about that. He simply does not feel safe around people he does not know. When they come and go, Iggy gets tense and barks at them. We are working with a behavioralist and the vet on these behaviors, and to help Iggy feel safe with the world around him.
Iggy is on Paxil and Trazone twice daily, and needs continued behavioral thearpy to get his anxious reactions under control.
Hes also undergoing medical evaluation due to the frequent accidents he has as well as the fact that he eats up to four cups of food per day but is slow to gain any weight. Additionally, in the last couple of weeks he seems to be having an allergic reaction to something in his food, meds or environment.
Iggy is on a behavioral hold and cannot currently be adopted. We are looking for a long term foster home for him. The ideal long term foster home is an experienced, quiet, adult only home that is able to spend time working with Iggy and MNBR to navigate through the complexities of his health and behavior. While his needs are significant, he is worth it. Dogs like Iggy are the reason for rescue!
Iggy is settling into our home, but we need to do some continued work on his barking when he is bored or anxious. His anxiety makes him somewhat edgy around males that he does not know or has not learned to trust.
He has a UTI that he is being treated for and continues to be on medication for his anxiety. The UTI wakes him up a couple times every night, but accidents in the house are very minimal.
The good news as we discovered that he will eat well if we just mix his regular food with wet food, so we are hopeful for him to gain weight. He also does amazing with our other dogs, and loves logs loves to play with them. He knows many commands, including sit, stay, down, kennel, and go sleepy (a softer version of play dead)
will need more time and training before he can meet families and go to events. For now, he is cozy and comfy with his foster family.