I have a 15 month old golden retriever, our second. She has been much more hyper and stubborn than our last, so much of this is new to us. On top of it, we've had a rough year, so she has suffered attention-wise and training -wise and gets in trouble often.

In the past five months she has received much more attention and training and things have improved a lot. However, she has started to itch a lot. So much that she bites at her front legs and the insides of her back legs.

I've read that it could be her diet, could be airborne allergies, could be nerves and could be hereditary. I took her to our vet. I was disappointed. I felt that the exam wasn't very thorough (he didn't get her down on her belly to see the spots underneath for example) and spent the majority of the time trying to talk me into very expensive allergy tests that we just cannot afford at this time, and which I understood would only tell me that I needed to essentially clean my house more often. (Our whole family has allergies so we already have the HEPA filters, extensive cleaning, etc.).

The vet discredited the nerves concern, discredited the more natural food (get rid of additives) question ("fad") and insisted that we check out the allergy route. I opted out of the tests and took the prescription dog food approach instead. We also put her on an antibiotic and prednisone (sp?), which I unfortunately got no information for so when she started to urinate unexpectedly all over the house, we got angry.. which worries me that again we are adding to a possible case of nerves.

Now that she is off the drugs and into her second bag of dog food, her itching and biting at the skin has started all over again.

Does anyone have any insight into this? Has our lack of attention and frustration with her made her nervous and so now she itches? If so, is this something we can reverse? Anyone been through these allergy blood tests and seen them offer anything valuable? Am I wrong for not having them done for her? (We really cannot afford them, but I do want to do what is right for her.

Thank you in advance for any help.