Go Ahead, Treat Adults Like Children (They Just Don’t Get it!)

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Speak up for your pup because sometimes people don’t get the message!

It came to my attention this past weekend that I needed to treat my mom like a child when it comes to dogs.

Did I like treating her like a kid, repeating the same thing to her many times to ensure she would listen? No, absolutely not. Was it necessary? Definitely!

Many times we don’t always say what is on our mind when it comes to our dogs. We worry about what people might think of us, if they will be mad, laugh, or get upset with us if we do or say things that don’t seem “normal”. For example, this past weekend my parents were watching Oreo. My brother and sister-in-law were stopping over for a few minutes. I told my mom to put her in the bedroom when they came over. “It’s just Den and Lila, she’ll be fine,” was my mother’s response. “No, she won’t be fine. Please put her in the bedroom, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” I replied. “Oh come on Jess, don’t be ridiculous…” The conversation continued like this until I basically had to annoy her and get her to comply. Yes, she was doing us a favor watching the dog, but Oreo is a bite risk if left around strangers (she doesn’t see them much at all). I called the night before my brother was coming over to remind her. Did she get angry? YES! She told me not to treat her like a child, that she knows. I tried to explain why I reminded her, yet she didn’t quite understand.

That’s the point, PEOPLE DON’T HAVE TO UNDERSTAND. We need to stick up for our dogs and for what makes them comfortable or uncomfortable. They don’t have a voice, so we need to speak for them.

If I didn’t speak up to my mom Oreo could’ve easily bitten or had a bad experience that couldn’t worsened her reactivity. Maybe she would have been fine with them, but why risk it?

Sometimes we have to treat other people like children, beacause they just don’t get it. People who aren’t associated with dog training or have had a reactive/scared dog just don’t get it. What’s worse is that they don’t believe you. When you tell people your dog will NOT be okay in a certain situation you are most likely met with the comment, “Oh well she’ll be okay, don’t worry, it’ll be fine.” This is where you have to be your dogs’ protector. You can protect your pup many ways, but one of the most powerful ways is to speak up even if you feel uncomfortable. Trust me, things will work out better and after you have stuck up for your dog (even if you’ve offended someone) you will feel better and so will your dog.

So go ahead, treat someone like a child if they don’t understand. Stand up for your dog!

Watching…Waiting…

This is just an update entry!

Oreo had private training again with the “big black scary dog” and the trainer. This time we backed it up. Instead of being in the barn, we worked in the poll barn, a much bigger, more open area. I went in first and attached a 50 foot lead to Oreo. The trainer came in with her dog, who stayed near her and Oreo got to investigate. She smelled around and eventually would get closer to the end of the leash. We only saw 2 nervous licks the entire time, and we were there for over an hour!! YAY!!! She ventured to the end of the leash then would look at me and run back. After a while she would get closer and play bow and even sit and relax yay!!

That is the goal-we want her to be able to RELAX around other dogs, so one day she might be able to greet and play with them. She is very conflicted. At a distance, and even a few feet away she wants to play, then as she approaches she slows down and freezes. Sometimes she will play, sometimes she will snarl and want to bite. We are working towards rehabilitating her after she was attacked. I would NEVER force her to go near other dogs, especially because she is afraid. But I know she once LOVED playing with dogs and couldn’t get enough. Now, she shows me she wants to, but is too scared and unsure, so I am doing this for her, so maybe one day she will get what she wants…to be able to play and not be scared of being attacked by the dog again.

Her reactive training went well. We had some observers who may be attending the class. One was a man!! WOOO! I say that because men hardly ever come and most of the dogs are afraid of them. Oreo was nervous when we did parallel walking. Parallel walking can be used with just a person opposite of you and your dog, or a person and a dog. Basically you walk parallel to someone, so you start at the same spot, parallel at a certain amount apart. If it’s your first time, give it tons of distance and look for signs from your dog to tell you if you are too close or far away. This exposes your dog to the trigger at a safe distance, while you can click and treat your dog for looking calmly at the person or dog. Remember, don’t push your dog too much! Stay at a distance and take it slow, do a few reps walking back and forth and give your dog a break. We did three back and forths with the man and she was nervous. I gave her a break, then later we tried again a bit closer.

Further down the training road we had her meet him, and she LOVED him the most out of everyone! I think she just needed to MEET him and have him give her treats to know he is okay, a friend. I wonder what would’ve happened if I had her meet him first. I don’t think she would’ve been nervous when parallel walking then, it was just because he was a stranger. She has become “Stubborn” like a “mule.” She will sit when I ask her to walk back to the car with me. She used to hate people, now she loves them so much she won’t leave. I had someone walk with us back towards the car and she did fine then. I guess loving people too much is better than hating them!

A Little Hair…

Oreo has done so well in the trainings the last few weeks, it was actually boring for her. However,we had her walk around the lake following another dog, and she definitely needs work on that. The whole time she is pulling,crying, wanting to get to the dog. She is play bowing, so I believe it is because she wants to play, but one can never be sure. That is her pattern…so excited to see dogs,then when she does get up close, she changes her mind and becomes afraid and wants to snap at them!

We had our first private lesson to try to rehabilitate Oreo to relax around other dogs. The ultimate goal is for her to do just that…be able to relax with other dogs around and perhaps one day play with them (she is torn about this,wants to play, but is scared). The lesson didn’t go anything like the trainer or I expected, unfortunately it was much worse. We started by discussing what we were going to do, then the trainer brought her dog in (also trianing her dog at the same time). She sat on the other side of the room and I entered with Oreo and did our focus/door work activities. Then I sat in a chair and rewarded her for looking at the other dog calmly. The goal was to have her sit on her own or lay down and just relax and be like, “Who cares that there is another dog over there”.

However, this was not the case. She barked, play bowed, lunged and cried the entire time. We tried re-entering the door and she did better the second time. We followed each other in a circle but Oreo did so much lip licking to calm herself down, she was extremely uncomfortable. I should have known better, but we continued and did some calming curves, but instead of calling Oreo back to me, we let her just stop and check out the other dog. She was nervous, but did a good job being so close to the other dog. The trainer suggested having her sniff the other dogs butt, to teach good manners when approaching other dogs.

She turned her dog around, Oreo went to sniff, and the trainers dogs’ head turned…so we retreated. We went back and tried again. This time Oreo looked at me for a long time, and didn’t seem interested at all, or nervous. All of a sudden she went to bite the dog in the butt! She got a mouthful of hair, and that’s it–luckily no skin was touched and no pain.

Next class we are working in the pole barn, a much bigger area with longer leads. Hopefully the space will allow her to calm down. It was hard for her for many reasons. She is fine with all the dogs in class, but has never met this dog before. Also this dog was a BIG, HAIRY, BLACK dog! The trainer also pointed it out, but we can’t work with another dog that is also in training until she can calm down. We don’t want reactive dog training with another reactive dog. She does have an idea for a brown dog as a playmate one day. The training makes me extremely nervous, but we will take it slower, and I have to trust my instincts on what is okay for Oreo and what’s not. She doesn’t seemed stressed by the incident at all, so that is good. Well, that’s all for now!

Listen to Your Dog

Dogs talk!! Can you believe it? They tell me things! I told my mother this the other day, and I think she just about blew her gasket. She looked at me real concerned, yet entertained, tilted her head and said, “Oh yeah…what DO they tell you?” I told her they tell me lots of things. They tell me they are hungry, tired, scared, nervous, and when they want to play!

I want to share some information on “calming signals” coined by the famous Turid Rugaas.

“To be able to communicate, to be actually understood by dogs, that is a wonderful feeling for people and dogs alike. Calming signals are the key and seeing through that opened door has been looking into a childhood dream of talking to the animals.” -Turid Rugaas

We have to realize dogs are not humans, and yes we have to accomodate them like they accomodate us. They don’t understand english and don’t have the ability to speak it. However, we have the ability to LISTEN to our dogs, just like they listen to us when they understand what we are saying.

For example, if you tell your dog to sit, and they have never learned the command, they will look at you like you are nuts. If you taught them other tricks they might try some of them to try to please you (dogs love to please)! This would be like someone telling you to sit in another language and you wouldn’t understand. How would you feel if someone just pushed you down to sit? Not very good I bet. Dogs don’t either. We need to communicate more effectively. One way is to use treats to mark their behavior. If your dog sits…click and reward! Eventually you catch the behavior and click it and add a name then reward. The dog will associate the word with the action. Just like if that person who told you to sit gave some positive praise when you sat down and said the word again. That would probably be annoying, unless we got some sort of “treat” from the person, like we would give to dogs. There are many ways to teach tricks, but we need to be patient and realize they don’t speak english people!

When dogs are reactive, calming signals are very important for the person and the dog. There are different types of training including BAT where people click calming behaviors, but the most important thing is to recognize them. When your dog is nervous, you should know. Especially if your dog is going to explode. If you have a reactive dog, you know what I mean. You don’t want your dog to reach threshold (where they can’t think they just explode—barking lunging, growling, etc).

Some calming signals I see my dog use frequently is licking her lips, tongue flicking, head turning, and laying down. She knows our neighbors dog is SUPER shy…so she lays down when she sees the dog to calm it down and say, “Hey, it’s okay!”

At training over the weekend, a neighbors dog was barking it’s head off and I knew she was nervous. Not only did I notice her tense body and stiff curled tail, I saw her tongue flicking and licking her lips. If my husband gets too close to her face, she turns her face to say, “I’m nervous, I ned to calm down.” Sometimes dogs are telling others it is okay, and sometimes they are telling YOU they need more space or are nervous.

At first I thought this was not true, I never heard of these calming signals. The more I paid attention to my dog, the more I noticed she did communicate to me…and I wasn’t listening. After more practice I noticed she was telling me things, and I could actually communicate too. Yawning and body shaking are also calming signals. Oreo frequently uses body shaking when she gets out of the car at training to calm herself down. As I’m writing my husband dropped something upstairs and there was a loud noise. Oreo just licked her lips to calm herself down.

You can also use calming signals with your dog. For example, a few minutes ago I did a tongue flick (oh how silly we look to humans) and Oreo responded by laying down saying, “It’s okay mom! Be calm, I am!”

Try and it will amaze you!!

*On a side note, Oreo had training on Saturday and did great! She wanted to play with another dog, but when getting closer, she sat a few feet away. The woman with the other dog was feeding her dog treats and Oreo would look at the woman, then at the dog getting the treat. She would repeat this, taking everything in, trying to understand and watch. She did this all herself with no commands or anything! Then she moved up a few feet and sat right next to the dog (1 foot away). The woman fed both dogs with treats and they were both great! Yay! This is a big landmark for Oreo. Not just because she wanted to play at first, or because she was near the dog without reacting, but because she was CALM. She was focused and didn’t mind the dog was there. In the past she would want to play with the dog and wouldn’t be able to control herself. Puppy Oreo would jump all over the dog. Reactive Oreo would be lunging and putting on her tough act. New Oreo is calm!

Regression Happens…

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.

Barking Bonanza

Training in the snow today! It was snowing and we had training anyway and I am still feeling cold!! I used Oreo’s coat today for the first time at training. She doesn’t love it, but doesn’t seem to mind it too much either. Today we only had 3 people at training due to the snow so we had lots of training time! We worked by going through the barn today. Inside the barn was another dog at the opposite side being worked by an owner (doing tricks & paying attention to the owner…or supposed to be paying attention). Also, there were 2 people in the barn sitting far apart. Oreo loves them all, but especially the trainer!

So I got her out of the car, brought her to the door, and it was time to learn to pay attention to mom! I opened the door, called her name and she had 10 seconds to respond. Why 10 seconds you might say? Well dogs like to see what’s around them, especially reactive dogs-they need to check things out. When Oreo didn’t turn around when I called her name (or look at me), we went back outside the door. We did this until she finally learned she needed to pay attention. When she did, she got a click and the great reward of seeing the person! She performed for everyone, hand targeting and doing tricks. She then came with me and paid attention to me most of the time-even when another dog was in the barn!

We did this a few times & even gave her a break, but after the 3rd time she stopped paying attention to mom, and just wanted to play with another dog. The trainer mentioned she is learned more about reintroducing dogs to play again with other dogs after being attacked or reactive. So I am hoping I will learn more too. I really would like to reintroduce her again to other dogs, and not be so nervous about it. I don’t think I’ll ever fully trust her, just because she was attacked. What if she is playing and the dog play bites her on her back in the same spot she was attacked before? I think I would react!!

Anywho, we had a barking bonanza today at training. We did triple parallel walking (all walking about 5 feet or a little more away from each other in the same direction). Oreo was okay, but kept pulling and lunging to play with the other dogs. Eventually this worked her up. In hindsight, I don’t think I’ll do the triple walk again. She gets too excited to play with other dogs and works herself up. That wasn’t the real issue though. The dog in the middle started barking like crazy at Oreo. I could see the signs-the lip licking, the frozen stare, then the hopping as we are walking. She didn’t have a meltdown or anything, but she did STOP taking treats, which she hasn’t done for a while-so she was over threshold. We then took a walk around the lake to calm down, she did take treats and also ate some goosepoop (ewwww!). She saw some geese and wanted to jump in the water after them-and she almost pulled me in with her! She’s about 35 pounds, but she is strong!!!

So overall, we had an okay day, a little more stressful for her than I would’ve wanted and Oreo would’ve wanted I am sure. She’s having lots of allergy issues again. She’s been itching so bad she’s missing a lot of hair from her legs. I believe it is food allergies. She doesn’t like raw even though I saw great improvements with it in the few weeks she would eat it (I had to mix it with lots of other things). So I’m starting her on some all gluten-free foods. Trying Sojo and Nature’s Logic so we’ll see. She is actually itching now as we are talking. I believe a vet visit is going to be in order soon 😦  I hope not but the itching is becoming horrible. Her eyes did clear up and all of her hair around her eyes was back, but now shes missing lots of hair. Also, she has some brown spots on her stomach, which I’m hoping aren’t yeast. I’ve started putting water and probiotics on them. I just cleaned her ears & have been cleaning them once a week, but they are starting to smell yeasty!! Oh no please not the ear drama again!

So we’ll see how things go…I just want her to be healthy!

Another Great Lesson & A Graduation

Today was graduation…not for me…but for Annie, another dog we work with. We are a close group, considering there are only 5 of us and we grow closer each day due to our shared experiences with our reactive dogs. Annie is a dog who isn’t aggressive. I am sure she would be if put in a situation where she HAD to be, but she’s really the opposite of Oreo is many ways. Instead of showing she is scared by growling, lunging, or barking, she will run. Most of the time her tail is tucked so far between her legs it looks like she doesn’t even have one. She bounces from person to person excited to get treats, her tail out in sight. As soon as she’s within a foot of a person the tail disappears again.

She was rescued in a field, found on the run. Every time her owner would pick something up, especially the newspaper her dog would run. Obviously Annie was abused in the past 😦  Her owner spent weeks trying to get her out of the corner of her living room from behind a recliner. She has made great strides. Now she can go up to people and perform tricks for treats. She doesn’t love other dogs, but can stand right next to them-as long as they don’t touch her. She has made so much progress she is graduating, and moving on to reactive rally!

Oreo had another wonderful day. We arrived and she was whinning to go play with the other dogs and see the people. Familiar dogs she is okay playing with now, at least the trainer believes so-makes me nervous but slow steps will help. She greeted everyone and we did a “hanging out” session, and Oreo did great, but now she just sits and whines because she wants to greet everyone! (Hey, it could be worse, she could be like her old self growling, lunging, barking, etc). She also learned the send off, a structured greeting for people (she did great!).The trainer said she may be able to do rally one day! I never thought!!

I still don’t see so much of a difference at home when walking (she still barking wildly at dogs, etc), but she is in the same neighborhood still she was in when she was attacked. So her situation here is the same, but within the next 6 months we are looking to move, and Oreo will have a big yard to run around in! Looking forward to the future, but enjoying the present!

Yes, Dogs Not Only Pray…But Smile Too!

I am currently reading a book called, If A Dog’s Prayers Were Answered, Bones Would Rain From the Sky” Deeping our relationships with dogs. Suzanna Clothier is inspiring. I have only read the first few chapters, but already love her, and her passion for relationships with animals.

She speaks of a friend who adopted a dog who came from a bad situation. The woman had previously had a dog all her life who behaved, grew up with her throughout her life, into teenage years and adulthood. The dog obeyed, was her partner and companion. This reminds me of my own life. I had a dog from 2nd grade until I was in college, then in adulthood adopted another dog after my first dog passed away. Anyway, the newly adopted dog had issues at training and with trainers. However, the real problem was not the dog, it was the trainers. These trainers would hold down dogs until they were submissive and the dogs peed themselves out of fear.

Many times we blindly follow trainers, thinking they know the best for our dog (I have done this). In the book, the dog runs away from the woman (it was a stray for a long time, and was in a shelter for over 6 months in a cage). The dog seems panicked and will run and not come back. On the advice of trainers, she did a shock collar, and the dog was terrified. It made the dog regress and the relationship between herself and her dog was torn apart.

Training is not really training, it is building a relationship with your dog. This makes me realize, as I have in real life, we must LISTEN to our dog, like Suzanne says. Our dogs are always sending us messages, talking to us, but most of the time we aren’t listening. We know when our dog is nervous and doesn’t want to do something. We know when our dog is excited. They talk to us. Not in human talk silly, but in dog talk. When they are nervous we see their tail go up, we see them get rigid and they look alert or freeze. We know when they are happy…YES dogs not only pray, but they smile too!

 Sometimes I admit I have not listened to my dog telling me things. For instance, my dog was telling me not bring her close to someone she was scared of, ears alert, tail up. Someone with me said that it was okay, don’t be such a worry wart, the dog will be fine. I listened of course, and it wasn’t okay. She freaked and I took her away. But the trust was gone there after a few times of not listening to her. Building a relationship takes time. I have taken time with her, and we rebuilt our relationship and it has blossomed. Suzanne tells in her book about how we should think about dogs. We should treat them like we want to be treated. We should think about our relationship with them such as, “What would you think if someone shocked you, or pinched you? Would you trust and like to be around them? Would you listen to them?” It’s true. What kind of relationship with our dog, who we love is that?

This woman’s story is very true to everyone in the world. Some people think of dogs as being “just dogs”. They are not just dogs. They have emotions, feelings, and even PRAY! They pray for things to fall when you are cooking. They pray to run in an open field. They pray for people to stop hurting them, or to get out of a cage. Like Suzanne says, their prayers are sometimes answered when we “accidentally” drop food. They communicate and pray, you can see it in their eyes! Haven’t you ever seen them just staring in the distance, or looking up at you as if they are seeing through you? Yep, they are praying!

I have so much more to say on so many topics brought up in the book. Suzanne has so many good things to say which I have mentioned! More to come later.

Good Training Update

Oreo was very shaky the last few weeks. We have had more stress at home, and since I have gone back to work she hasn’t been herself. It was so bad that when a car door would slam outside, she would get up barking like a nut! However, she did very well at training yesterday. We did calming curves, and she turned around nicely when she got near another dog and I called her name.

Also, I made sure I had a great reward for her when she got back into the car–STEAK! So now she enjoys going in the car more. Last session it was hard to get her to go back into the car. We also did a new exercise, called treat and retreat. I got her out of the car, and someone would stand about 10-15 feet away. Oreo barked at first, but the trainer who oreo adores, stood next to the new person. Oreo was better with the person then. We would take a few steps towards the person & they would throw a treat behind Oreo so she would turn. Then they people throwing the treats would back away a few steps, giving her room. Oreo kept going towards them and they kept throwing treats. This shows her people are good, and we can take breaks to calm ourselves by turning and retreating. We don’t ALWAYS have to run up to people, especially if we can’t control ourselves. This was a good activity for her, and we will continue to use it at training.

Her allergies seemed to be getting much better since we started her on raw. We also got honey locally, and have added it to her food. However, when it rains her eyes get more inflammed. So we are trying a homeopathic remedy-sulfur. We shall see how that goes…

First Reactive Class

I pulled into where our first reactive class would be held. It wasn’t a normal reactive class, in the matter that we don’t all bring our dogs out at the same time. Everyone strategically parks their cars around the property (near the lake, behind the barn, near the house) so that the dog can’t see other dogs or people (or whatever upsets them). I pulled into 3 different areas until I found a good place and covered the back of the windshield with towels to cover her view from other dogs and people.

Most people who were there have been taking the classes for months, and some for almost a year or more. People come whenever they can, and for as long as they want. There are 6 sessions and then it just continues to another round of 6 after that if you want to continue.

Of course I was nervous, but we did fine. We decided on having her get out of the car and focus on me, do tricks, then return. She did it the first time. Next, we had a dog at a very great distance (50 feet away), and she would have to do the same. She got out, looked at me when I said her name, but would not treat. She sat & whinned, and begged to go see the trainer who was 50 feet away. We did a few sessions with Oreo, all about the same getting out of the car and focusing, she did an okay job, but had trouble focusing. We need to work on her impulse control. It was awesome she was whinning and wanted to go see people and a dog, but also not awesome because she couldn’t focus on me. Impulse control is part of the goal.

Reactive dog have a hard time controlling themselves. Especially her. She can’t focus on me for long with a distraction around or something better (sounds like a kid right?). When she sees people she loves she just goes out of control, there is no median, just either wild, or sleeping. We have seen a lot more relaxing lately. It has been 2 months since she started her anxiety medication.

Can I tell it’s helping? A little, but I can’t be sure it’s the medicine and not training, or both. I see little things, like she is still afraid of the fan (I catch her looking at it with those eyes), but she doesn’t go into full blown panic attack barking at it. She also is much more relaxed outside. When she sees people and dogs going to the mailbox about 30 feet away she doesn’t bark at all (she used to go wild).

She has had very bad allergies and itches her eyes nonstop and has lost the hair around her eyes. I believe these are seasonal allergies, but we will see. She is on benadryl prescribed by the doctor, but with her anxiety medication it makes her very sleepy. I am once again looking into the raw diet or perhaps a home cooked diet to help her. She was sick yesterday throwing up and not eating anything, not even treats or pills. This use to happen all the time, almost 5 out of 7 days months ago. But, we have eliminated all wheat and gluten from her diet and she has been doing better and she only gets sick usually once a month. However, she still isn’t excited about eating food. She was at first when I started raw, but lost interest so I went back to kibble. I try mixing chicken and different things with the food, but now she’s really not too interested.

The trainer again recommended raw because of allergies, and I mentioned the cost and lack of freezer space. She said I could get the premade chubs which is true, but they are expensive. I know it would be less expensive to get raw food that is not premade but I just can’t change her diet with the school year coming up this week (I’m a teacher). Oreo has seemed more clingy since I’ve been back from work.

We did calming curves at class. This means there is a dog at a distance, and Oreo is with me. The dog and handler are 50 feet away and the trainer shouts out how many steps (5 steps, 9, 11, and so on). You walk with the dog for the set amount of steps and turn your body and call the dogs name so they turn around with you. The other person does the same. This is to teach the dog that they can walk away from things that are scary. Oreo did not want to turn around. She whinned, sat , and so on. She wanted to see the trainer?? Or the other dog?! Not sure, but that’s my homework for the next week-practice calming curves without distractions.