Breakthrough Initial Feeding Trial: Consumers Msc
Dogs were referred to a behaviour specialist who was responsible for making and recording the emotional and mood state assessments. Inclusion into the study required the dogs to be in good health, not receiving any veterinary treatment or medication, or receiving any form of behaviour therapy and no history of dietary intolerance.
Owners were provided an information sheet explaining the purpose of the study and were required to provide relevant details regarding their dog and keep a feeding diary for the duration of the study.
Dogs were selected with one of the following problems:
- a) Fear/anxiety
- b) Over-excitability/manic behaviour
- c) Reactive/low impulse control/irritable
25 dogs on the trial diet. 22 dogs showed significant improvement in both their emotional assessments and mood state. 3 dogs needed a further 3 weeks on the trial diet for any significant improvement to be seen.
These results clearly suggest that the diet had a significant positive effect on the dogs’ mood state and emotional responses, indicating the benefits for dogs exhibiting problem behaviours. This could improve the efficiency of behavioural therapy and potentially prevent some dogs being relinquished to rescue centres or euthanized.
Jack Russel Terrier, Male
Main problem: Over excitability/manic behaviour. Unable to settle, finds it hard to keep still and relax, constantly soliciting attention from owner or other dog
Progress: No reaction to other dogs when out on a lead
Starting to learn new behaviours that he couldn’t before
As Todd is more calm, owners other dog is getting back to herself as of 3 years ago
Todd had a stomach upset during week 3 (not related to the food) so was off the food for 4 days. Owner noticed that he did go backwards a little when not on the food but as soon as back on the food got much better.
Staffie/lab cross. 3years, female, spayed.
Main problem: Over excitability/manic behaviour
Destructive when left alone, even for a few minutes. Constantly active regardless of how many hours exercise she gets. Constant licking and pestering for attention.
Progress: Bella is less hyper on the diet when under my normal quiet working conditions. I can work throughout the day with less distraction from her.
She still reacts to triggers from the other dogs in the house but this has improved and is not a constant thing all day everyday like it was. When they settle down, she does too. Before she used to keep trying to goad them into carrying on.
In general, there is less destruction of my house and calm and tranquillity reigns during a normal day.
However, great news…… I can see that the diet has made a big difference to one of my other dogs a chocolate lab. She has fearful aggression problems and this diet seems to be helping a lot. She hasn’t growled at anyone since she started on it and is less barky so fingers crossed.
10 yrs ,labrador, Female, spayed.
Main Problem: Fear/anxiety
Very fearful and noise sensitive, highly reactive to anything new. Honey can pant, shake, shutdown, climb all over me, refuse to go somewhere, whine, constant lip licking.
Progress: Went out to in-laws house and she did so well no panting or freezing which is the norm there, she played in the garden. We went into town which is not normal and she came into the bank for a meeting and was so calm and relaxed. good day!! even a bee that got stuck in nets in the bedroom did not set off her anxiety, she was not happy but I am amazed how she coped. FANTASTIC
Lab, 3 year, male, neutered
Main Problem: Fear/Anxiety
Anxiety, problem adapting to new situations, barking, occasional aggression with strangers
Progress: Calm, confident, even when lots of visitors to house. Calm, settled, deep sleeps during the day (to the point of snoring – this didn’t really happen before)
Spaniel X Cocker 2 years
Main problem: Low impulse control
Resource Guarding. In house Alfie will pick up any items the family leave down and take them to his crate. If a family member tries to take item from him, he becomes tense, pull his head away, growls and lip raised. The family use treats to exchange items Alfie picks up, which he will drop the item for. Dog is tense in the house and doesn’t appear to be very happy. Doesn’t like close contact from family members. He prefers to rest on his own – wither on the floor or in his crate. If the male owner strokes Alfie around the face or gave close facial contact Alfie would raise his lips. Outdoors on the park will avoid other dogs if they are approaching – head dip, increasing distance by move away from approaching dog.
Progress: Alfie’s behaviour has improved significantly, much happier and more relaxed in house.
The possessive behaviour has reduced again. No teeth bearing when he is approached by family member to exchange item from him. Daughter has noted he wasn’t growling when they walked pass his crate and he has something. He also sat on the sofa to eat a chew which he normally doesn’t do. Alfie played with a dog on the park. This is the first time since he was a puppy.
3 years old. Cavalier King Charles. Male
Main problem: Fear/anxiety
Nervous around unknown dogs and novel surfaces such as bridges and shiny flooring.
Progress: Alfie a lot more relaxed around other dogs. Cautiously approaching other dogs, no vocal behaviour. Definite improvement.
2 years old. Springer Spaniel. Male
Main Problem: Fear/anxiety
Fear of dogs. On the lead Alfie barks and lunges at approaching dogs.
Progress: More self controlled in problem situations.
Excitability and focus has improved. Much better around other dogs.
2 years. Cocker Spaniel. Male
Main problem: fear/anxiety
Fear aggression towards unknown people. Dog fearful of non family members in the household
Progress: Positive improvements with Griffin’s behaviour toward non-family members. The guitar teacher had come to the home. He had been coming to the house for a year or so, and Griffin had always barked and growled at the teacher and would never approach him. This week Griffin approached the guitar teacher with a wagging tail and allowed the teacher to stroke him. Griffin sociable towards one of the children friends and mother who came to the house. No barking or growling at them. The family have noticed Griffin is more friendly and appears happier.
3 years. Bichon Frise. Female
Main Problem: Fear/anxiety
Fear of unfamiliar people and dogs
Progress: Lola let a male visitor stroke her, he comes to the house each week. Normally she avoids him. The visitor had been coming for some time and Lola has never shown any interest in greeting him before.
2 years old. Border Collie. Male
Main Problem: Fear/anxiety
Fear of traffic. Jack has always been fearful of traffic. Generally tense in the house.
Progress: Jack appears much happier– more bouncier and energetic. Jack more relaxed on a walk and is walking more calmly on the lead.
4years. Spaniel/Terrier/Mastiff X. Female. Neutered.
Main Problem: Fear/anxiety. Barks constantly when left. Whines, defecates, scratches. General distress when left alone.
Progress: Relaxed , loves the food, calmer in the car…no barking when left in car. Starting to spend a little time on her own in a separate room. Generally much less agitated and much calmer.
9 years. Labrador. Female. Neutered
Main Problem: Anxiety/Fear.
Fearful of other dog in the house and aggressive to other dogs. Walked in a muzzle.
Progress: Very playful with other dog in the home. Able to be called away from other dogs on a walk. Generally much more playful and happier.
4.5 year. Springer/Labrador X. Female. Spayed
Main problem: Low impulse control.
Food guarding. Sometimes aggressive with owners and other dog in house.
Progress: More willing to give up toys. More relaxed. Better with visitors. Wanting play more. More relaxed around other dog when eating. Happy to share toys with other dog.
2 Year. Tibetan Terrier. Male. Neutered.
Main problem: Fear/anxiety. Barks at anything unfamiliar. Very anxious when out walking.
Progress: Calming down quicker after barking. More interest and excitement when going out for a walk. Much better with birds, sheep and horses.
7 years Lab X KCC, Male, entire
Main Problem: Noise Sensitive.
Progress: Calm and relaxed in the house. More playful. Less aroused by noises and much calmer on ‘bin’ day.
1 year 9 months Lab Female spayed
Main Problem: Reactive to other dogs
Progress: Now ignoring most dogs. GSD barked at her so she barked back, but was easily distracted by a treat and walked passed – very impressive.
1 year 8 months female working Labrador
Main Problem: High arousal, reactive, lack of focus in new environments (barking)
Progress: calmer, much more focussed and settles quicker
8 year old neutered male greyhound
Main problem: separation related problems, toileting in house, noise sensitive
Progress: More relaxed, less stressed, began playing, stopped toileting in house
8 month female spayed pug
Main problem: barking at everything including the TV, biting visitors
Progress: less agitated, more responsive, so much calmer. But reverted back to problem behaviours when food ran out.
5 year old, Female, entire GSD
Main problem: extreme arousal, barking and aggression towards other dog in household
Progress: more settled, less reactive, more relaxed with other dog. Now off the test food she has become hyper vigilant and aggressive towards other dog again
No dog details
Main problems: Anxiety, reactive towards other dogs. Inability to focus/learn
Progress: Attentive and confident, much less reactive
No dog details
Main Problem: Low impulse control. Fearful and reactive towards strangers and other dogs.
Progress: Had a small family gathering and Ebony was relaxed and slept in her bed instead of bolting upstairs away from everyone. In the park she played with a couple of calm, quiet dogs. This has never happened before.
Any questions for the breakthrough team?
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