I wouldn't give her pills unless she is assessed by veterinarian behaviourist. Giving pills is the easiest thing to do. I would recommend finding a good therapist who will work with you and your family step by step. It is a lengthy an expensive process, however. You need to practise and be patient and above all, you (or whoever) need to stop punishing (smacking).
What do I do? My sister recommended anxiety pills for her? Do I find a dog psychologist?
While training is advisable, obedience is NOT the same as therapy and desensitation.
I took her to a dog training school for one class and the operator of the class diagnosed her behaviour as coming from being insecure. He quickly introduced himself to her and she was fine with him.
Exactly what I'm talking about - she needs to be SLOWLY desensitised and re-introduced to objects/things that cause her fear/reactions. I believe there are foods that no dog can't resist, maybe for a start practice at meal time when she's hungry. Instead of dog cookie, give her real meat, chese or something yummy. It's NOT about bribing, it's about reinforceing desired behavior. You can practice desensitation to sounds (of vacuum cleaner) by playing a recorded CD, first very quietly, then louder and louder and award her calm behavior. No point for explaining here and writing, your therapist will slowly guide you through as it is more complicated than it seems when you read something. An experienced therapist will see and acknowledge her signs and body language and act acordingly. They will also have to point certain things to you regarding this and teach you further.
• She is terrified of the vacuum cleaner, the BBQ cover, the air-conditioning vent and even the dark! I could list many more. She hates being alone too (I think that’s called separation anxiety?).
Disciplining will not build her confidence. My dog used to do it. I tougth her to go to her mat and stay, and I also taugth her Yes and No cues. She's not doing it any longer. I also asked guests to slowly introduce themselves to her when they arrive.
• She can “herd” guests. Nip/snap at their ankles (without making contact). It’s rude and frightens guests. This she has done around me, and I’ve quickly disciplined her. It happens less now.
Again, big NO-NO. As much as she can connect a smack with her biting, she can connect smack with a person and start behaving worse. As she obviously did.
My brother gave her a big whack and put her out the back immediately.
However, Jeanie never stopped acting funny with my uncle following that. She would growl and bark whenever she would see him.
Respect and you shall be respected. Animal is always right.