So, I've decided to try some medications for Sagan. After almost 3 years, that boy is full of tools, calming signals, yet our progress has really stalled. So, here is the plan:
He's been on L-theanine for a little over a week. This stuff takes almost 60 days to get into the system. There were a few times this week when I *thought* I was seeing improvement: He had a totally soft mouth and body language when leaving agility class Wednesday night when he saw 3 off leash dogs behind a fence. That was great. He is back to doing better (mostly) on our runs together. Anecdotally, he seems even MORE sensistive to noises, though he seems to be REACTING less.
After L-theanine, I will either try melatonin or some drugs through a vet (ala Prozac and the like).
I know how it all works....this will be a big experiment in dosing, correct drugs, and continuing the work we've already started with counter conditioning, desensitization, Control Unleashed, BAT, emergency U-turns, look at me, look at that, etc. I find my default behavior management strategy is to check for the "turn to look at dog, and look back at me, then get a reward." This is not really "look at that", as I'm not clicking for the looking at the trigger, but rather for making the good choice of looking back at me. If he is unable to do that, I click for the looking at the dog, which will normally snap him out of it. Then I ask for a "watch" and reward that.
I'm hopeful on the meds, and I think I will be able to read fairly quickly what is going on. Sagan's body language cues are very easy to spot. Tail goes from relaxed to high and curled, and ears stand straight up.
Will post with updates.