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the Your Dog section of barkingdogs.net
Controlling Your Dog's Barking Behavior with Medication
In those instances in which a dog's barking is thought to be compulsive in nature, or in those cases where fear and "separation anxiety" are deemed to be significant contributing factors in the animal's excessive vocalization, psychoactive medication, in combination with behavior modification, is sometimes prescribed.
The term psychoactive refers to the tendency of the medication to change the way the dog thinks, as well as the how he feels, behaves, and perceives the world around him.
Interestingly, the drugs used to treat barking dogs were originally developed for use with humans suffering from anxiety and depression. Most commonly, those are Amitriptyline (Elavil), Buspirone (Buspar), Clomipramine (Anafranil), and Fluoxetine (Prozac).
This website recommends putting your barking dog on psychoactive medication only as an absolute last resort.
We all know that drugs often don't affect us the way they are supposed to. Some people take psychoactive drugs that are supposed to prevent depression, only to find that their mood worsens, while drugs that are meant to calm people down sometimes result in their becoming agitated. Certainly, anybody who has ever needed to try a number of different tranquilizers and antidepressants will tell you that some of those drugs made them feel much worse.
If you give your dog a drug and he stops barking, all you know is that he has fallen silent. But you don't know why, and the dog can't tell you. It could be that he has gone quiet because the medication has plunged him into some nightmare world where he can't bring himself to bark simply because he feels so awful.
There are many strategies available for dealing with a barking dog that are both more effective and less risky than resorting to psychoactive medication. It would almost certainly be better to pursue one of those options.
The Dog Science Network also sponsors a course in dog training, featuring a free workshop in canine
Written by Craig
Spanish translation - Traducción al español
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