Well, obviously it IS anxiety. The real question I guess is whether there is likely some cause other than just whatever factors messed up our dog before we got her. We have an approximately 8.5 year old shepard/lab mix. We've had her for about 3 years now. She was surrendered to a shelter when her previous owner decided that it would be too much trouble to take her with her when he moved. Month by month, we've seen her go from a very skittish, reserved dog to a much more outgoing girl who feels free to demand love whenever she wants it. However, she has always had some quirks that catch us unaware sometimes, and she seems to be nervous by nature. She sees the vet regularly and is up to date on all her shots, etc. Her last visit to the vet was just a few months ago.
She occasionally just "freaks out." There's really no other word for it. She shakes so hard she almost falls down, drools, runs around us in circles, pants, sort of grunts softly with the exhalations, runs away if we reach out toward her...like I said, freaking out. We have not been able to find any reason for it. Sometimes, we can just be hanging around the house all day, and it just starts suddenly. Sometimes, we come home and she's doing it. It happens at irregular intervals, and she can go weeks without experiencing the situation.
If it happens in the evening, we just turn out all the lights in the room and she'll just lay down and get over it quickly. Sometimes, we can distract her--throw a ball, give a treat, go for a walk--and it ends suddenly. Apparently, it was really bad tonight and lasted about 3 hours. DD came home and she was already up to full steam. Basically, I try not to play into it and give her the usual amount of attention--possibly a little less--because I don't want to reinforce the anxious behavior. DD was very upset; it's the first time she's seen her do it. She called me at work, and I told her to just ignore it and see if she calmed down.
I got a couple more anxious calls from DD, worried about the fact that Thalia (the dog) was continuing to escalate the behavior. When I got home, I found them in bed together--with one very happy dog under the covers with her head on the pillow. She's showed absolutely no signs of stress since I've been home.
DD wanted to take her to the vet tonight. I told her she could if they were open, but they were closing. I don't think it warrants an emergency trip. Honestly, I think it's all emotional. Any ideas? Crating her is out, by the way, because she was crated for three months before we got her and it doesn't go over well. It's stressful for all of us, and I believe that DD was so concerned for her that their anxiety sort of fed into each other.
I'm probably a total sap, but I did by the pheromone release plug-in thing and some herbal dog stress-reducer. Don't know if they'll help, but it makes me feel like I'm doing something.