It’s been a busy week. We are finally getting ready to sell our home (yay!!!). This should be great for Oreo in the long run because reactive dogs in condos make the least progress (yes, I know I’ve said this a million times)! Oreo has been feeling better, no vomiting. I think her sickness was caused by the antibiotics, but I’m happy to say she is done and her stomach has cleared up…no more brown spots or red bumps. However, she still is sucking/biting on fabric which is very unusual for her, so her stomach must still be bothering her a bit. She’s definitely licking her paws and biting them TOO much.
Tomorrow is training. Last week we did VERY easy things, just basically treat & retreat. This allowed each person to approach her, which I had her on leash. She went up to greet the person, and before she reached them the person threw treats behind her to the side. This allowed her to know people are good, and she got that time to calm down while turning around. When she turned to get the treats, the person would “retreat” a few steps, giving an additional “space” reward to her. She did wonderful and loved everyone. She was so happy! Once again everyone at training didn’t see what the big deal was, and she looked “normal” haha. It’s an ongoing joke with everyone because every time I said she had a horrible week, she goes to training and does a great job. Last time this happened she made amazing progress after her regression. Hopefully that happens again…
I actually broke down at the last training crying. Oreo had the worst week she’d had in a long time 2 weeks ago. We went to the vet and that caused extreme stress. The stress rolled over into everything during the week. She snapped when I tried to clean her ears (after a few days she was okay with it again), she was growling when I touched her legs, and actually made contact on my wrist with her teeth when I asked her to get off of the bed. It was like ALL of the problems we had tackled…tackled together had rushed back with one vet visit.
We worked on classic counter-conditioning for her legs & paws. Touching them then clicking and treating…over and over, working it on longer periods with high value treats. We worked on “off” with rewards, and FINALLY she let me clean her ears without even putting up a fuss. She would even lift her head and turn so I could get to her ears. Yesterday, I almost had another meltdown. My husband bent down over her when she snatched a cardboard box and was chewing it. She growled at him and showed her teeth. I have worked on “trade” with her for a long time. I started with something simple and low value to her, like a spoon. I put it in front of her, said, “Trade,” then threw treats to the side of her, preferably so she turned back a little.
Next, I picked up the spoon, then replaced it. This way she got treats and realized I would give it back. I followed this pattern, then tried it with something of higher value, like a toy that was “okay.” I moved along to high value toys, then finally practiced with socks and things she LOVES to have. This way, if I ever need to take something away from her, she will believe I will give it back. Instead of giving it back, I would give her TONS of high value treats. You must practice giving it back, and having a positive outcome so the dog will actually perform in an emergency.
This is also true with asking a dog to come to you. You NEVER call a dog to you if they are coming to something “bad.” For example, when I wanted to go inside and I was just hanging outside in the sun with the dog, I would call her in. She wouldn’t come…I didn’t understand why. Well DUH! She didn’t want to. So, in order to practice come, I could call her, when she would come I would give her praise, but then release her to go back. Sometimes the real life rewards such as being able to go lay in the sun again are better than anything else.
Anyways, I got off on a tangent. She’s had a rough week, and I haven’t been up to snuff with training. I need to continue walking her longer, practicing tricks, and continuing to teach more tricks. I would like to do “bow” and click her when she does it to “catch” the trick. I taught her “leave it” too well, so food luring doesn’t work (booo!) haha good and bad. My husband has agreed to practice “trade” with Oreo so hopefully that will help. She has calmed down this week, and tomorrow is training, so we’ll see how it goes…remember…regression happens…but so does progress.