BIG SURPRISES/ACHIEVEMENTS THIS PAST YEAR:
-figuring out she’s allergic to 8 foods
-finding out she has hypothyroidism (we can help her now!)
-having food that is healthy which she can eat without getting sick (for 2 years she was constantly sick)
-having a pillow/bed she doesn’t destroy
-moving on from reactive training class
-being able to clean her ears, paws and giving her haircuts myself
Looking back, this year has been one of great progression. It started off with more months of training to get used to other people and dogs. The early months continued with working on being able to clean Oreo’s ears without aggression and fear. Next we moved on to more ear infections, yeast, and throwing up. As the year went by I tried different foods. I tried raw, which she seemed to be okay with at first, but didn’t particularly enjoy after a while. I tried many different foods and even made her gluten-free pumpkin treats.
However, her allergies got to the point where she was itching, itching, itching! It got so bad she would itch her eyes until she scratched the skin around them, causing them to bleed. We ended up taking a trip all the way to Smith Ridge Vet Center, all the way in Connecticut (and I live in PA). That was the best decision I made that year. Although Oreo didn’t enjoy hanging out with new people who were going to prod her (okay she doesn’t like it when I’m there-she gets defensive), we came out of there much healthier.
We found out she’s allergic to 8 different foods: chicken, alfalfa, eggs, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, salmon, corn and soybean. Also, we found out she has hypothyroidism. All of these allergies and issues definitely contributed to her behavior. She was MISERABLE. I don’t blame her, I would be too!
During the year we reached a point where we felt reactive training was not working, and opted for helping her health first, then if training was needed we would go back.
I’m happy to say Oreo has reached a place I never though or imagined would be possible, especially not in the beginning. She can greet her friends (dogs she has met before being attacked by another dog). We do not even let her approach other dogs, even if she seems to want to (it’s not worth the risk). She is fine around my family and people who understand she needs space and time to warm up. We don’t invite stranger or friends over she isn’t familiar with, or we bring her to my parents.
I learned about relaxation protocol which has helped her stay calm and relaxed in many situations and at home. Oreo has reached a place of relaxation. She will still panic in certain events but it is a rare occurence. My family has learned to manage, to train, and to avoid scary situations for her.
It may not seem like a big deal-but she has a bed she loves!!! She has always destroyed beds in the past.
We still work on her allergies and do some training. I almost feel like training stressed her out and now that we don’t do ask much she is calmer.
She also took another big step-she can roam free around the house while we are at work (NEVER thought that would happen either). She use to be gated in the kitchen because she would destroy things. I believe now that she is feeling better, calmer, and gets more exercise she is fine at home now.
We don’t hear her growl much and haven’t seen her snap at us in a LONG time. She will only growl usually if she is sick since we have learned calming signals and more about each other. I hope everyone else had a productive year, if not I hope the next year is better!!!