Some part of Silas’s progress lately is attributable to our new buddy:
The behaviorist recommended this Adaptil Collar for us. It isn’t a magic bullet. She said that some dogs would show a dramatic improvement in a day or two. Some dogs wouldn’t be any different at all. More common than either, according to her, is a kind of faint improvement. Many owners don’t notice much difference until the collar wears out, and then they think, “Oh, hmm, maybe it was helping a little.”
Adaptil (also known as DAP) is a synthetic simulation of a pheromone that mother dogs release while nursing puppies. The theory is that this scent, imperceptible to humans, is comforting to dogs at an instinctive level.
I’ve noticed one distinct, absolutely attributable improvement: Silas has always been fine in the car at highway speeds. In town, though, he can sometimes get the nervous shakes. He is much better since we put on the DAP collar.
Otherwise, we’ve seen some improvements that could be the collar, or could be training, or could be total coincidence. (Like yesterday’s encounter with the baby.) To give another example of the ambiguous-type improvements: a few weeks ago I accidentally took him to the park in morning rush hour trying to avoid the heat. He was totally okay. It could have been the DAP, or it could have been that he’s familiar enough with that park to dismiss the traffic.
The part of our experience that I thought would be the most useful to you guys, though, is that we have also tried the plug-in diffusers with very little success. My musings on the differences:
Your dog obviously doesn’t have to wear the plug-in diffuser. You don’t have to worry about it getting pulled off or wet, and it doesn’t interfere with your dog’s regular collar. A dog with separation anxiety should not be left alone while wearing any kind of collar, in case they panic and get tangled. I would also guess that the plug-ins put out a more consistent quantity of pheromone, since they’re electric with a fan mechanism.
If you have multiple dogs, the plug-ins would probably be cheaper. The pricing is complicated by the huge difference between online and retail prices. The collar is not as significantly discounted online. If you shop in bricks-and-mortar stores, the collar is significantly cheaper per month. If you shop online, one collar is roughly the same price as one diffuser refill. One plug in is good for 600 square feet, so most people will need multiples for whole-house coverage unless the dog spends most of his time in one room or area.
The main benefit of the collar, as opposed to the plug-in, is that it goes with your dog everywhere. It’s in the car, and on vacation, and at the park. Silas is more anxious away from home, so this is important for us. It’s probably a smaller dose, but it is more consistent exposure for a dog who is out-and-about a good bit. Also, consider your architecture. Our main living area has a loft-style ceiling that I think interfered with the diffuser’s effectiveness, even when we were running two.
The form we haven’t tried is the spray, which is designed to be used in small or temporary spaces, like cars or hotel rooms.