Flower Design

Yesterday, we had another lesson. This time we did calming curves again with a larger dog. She did very well walking towards the other dog. She did okay with turning around and going the other day when I called her name. She did much better than last week, but she still will freeze sometimes when looking at the other dog or person. I don’t think this is necessarily because of fear freezing. It is because she WANTS so badly to see the other dog or person. You many wonder how I know this.

I know this because she whines and wags her tail, sometimes she even play bows. Still haven’t gotten her a playmate. A little apprehensive like her I guess. I know someone from her puppy class, and she got along very well with this dalmation, but I’m not quite ready. I will have to work my way up to it. I’m still afraid that if the dog bites her in the back or jumps on her that she will react to it, because that is where she was attacked before. I have seen her before get snappy and defensive if a dog tangles in her leash (they shouldn’t really be playing with the leash on for this reason-they get scared).

Anyways, she did well with the flower design. The other parents of fellow doggies formed a circle and everyone looked in toward each other, talking. I approached with Oreo walking on my side. She would have to walk towards the people, and before reaching them I would call her name. When she turned, I would click and throw treats a few feet in front of us. She got the reward of distance and treats-DOUBLE! But really, she doesn’t need distance too much from these people-she used to be afraid of them, but now she LOVES them! So really, we were working on her and I working as a team. If she wants treats or to greet someone, she needs to perform the desired behavior. After the first few rounds of this we did so much better! Next time we will be doing the flower design, but people from the circle will be greeting her, asking for a sit, treating, then sending off to me where I will click and treat her for returning to me.

By the way, the only thing to do when something bad happens is LAUGH. These 2 women came to observe the class. Of COURSE they parked right in front of my car where Oreo was getting all nervous. I went to feed her treats so she wouldn’t get over the threshold. These 2 women were old, slow moving women. They started getting out of their car, meanwhile I’m in the back with the dog feeding her treats making her target my hand to keep her attention. Otherwise, she would be barking, lunging and losing it completely. So these ladies take their time, put their jackets on, then FINALLY they look like they are going to get walking. OOPS! Forgot the coffee, so they go back. Then they start walking RIGHT BY THE CAR (come on ladies, this is a REACTIVE class, dogs are going to REACT to you, think about it-I’m not in the car feeding the dog for fun!). Then of course again they turn back to the car to get something else. What seemed like forever was probably 5 minutes, but finally they realized they should walk AROUND the car in a large arc after the trainer told them to. DUH!!! All I could do was laugh at how people do not think!

Training Session #3

I had our 3rd training session. Oreo is not yet ready to exit the car with other dogs around, so next session we will try setting up some scenarios with another dog and the trainer. The sessions will consist of getting the dog out of the car and looking at me and performing tricks. There are a gambit of different things we can do after we accomplish the focus from the dog.

We are going to be practicing 2 different variations of “come”. One is more traditional, while the other involves going through my legs and should increase trust between us. I feel that so far the training has increased her trust in me and decreased anxiety inside the house.

We will continue “stuffing the dog” (feeding her while saying her name), and continue associating her name with looking at me through different methods. Additionally, we will practice more tricks. I will try to get her to spin the other way (where her injury from the attack was), and hopefully this will help her be less sensitive there. I will also continue TTouch and the trainer may put me in contact with someone going through the TTouch program who can help. She is only a little over a year and a half, so it’s important to get her over these things now.

We practiced a “high five” with the dog. Every few weeks I should teach her a new trick to keep her mind going, and to use for focus so she doesn’t get bored. The key is to realize when she is about to go over threshold for triggers, then make her perform a trick. Many times dogs bark because they are like guard dogs, and that’s why we work so well with dogs and they work well with us. They just want us to acknowledge “ok” we see what you are telling us is there, and it’s ok.

Oreo will be okay when she can see things, but when she doesn’t see them, she gets nuts. For example, when I was walking with the dog into the training barn, her husband was there and Oreo looked and didn’t go crazy. She saw him, continued walking (we didn’t get too close), and she was okay. When we got into the training room, he started up the mower. She couldn’t see it, and started barking and getting upset. At that point, she is using the back of her brain and in the fight or flight mode. She should be using the front of her brain and thinking logically, but when dogs get over their threshold, it’s too late. Sooo the moral of the story is to get their attention and for them to do something before they start using the back of their brain.

We also discussed the RAW diet. She does not want to push it on me, just suggests to look into and see if it is right. The reason she suggested this is because Oreo has lots of digestive issues, and hardly eats the expensive kibble we get her (although she is treated a lot!). I will look into it. I’m mostly concerned about all the time it will take and the cost. I can’t afford to pay more for food, I already pay tons, but some people say it costs less so we shall see.

I have 2 weeks until my next session, but will be away a few weeks at the shore. I’m not sure what will happen after this session (it will be the last one). I do want to continue, but it is super expensive. We shall see…

Some progress…and cracked feet

Oreo’s making progress with the “Spin” trick. She is excellent at leave it, and giving me attention when I have treats in view. “Here” and “Touch” commands are going great. However, I am having difficulty with getting attention from her once I walk out the door. She can do the sit, stay, go through door, attention, tricks–perfectly inside the house, but outside the house it is more of a distraction. It doesn’t help that she was sick for a day. Now she also has small cracks in one of her paw pads, it seems to be healing though. Definitely need to stay off of hot pavement.

I recieved news that I am moving to a new school (I’m a teacher) and a new grade. This has caused me extra stress and sadness, and I think it could be rubbing off on her. This morning she wasn’t even interested in steak! I have noticed much more gas from her (smelly too! gross!). This is telling me something is going on. Perhaps more stress from weaning her off of her anxiety medicine? Or maybe the new wheat-free treats? I’m not sure yet…

She is still running from the thundershirt, but when I put it on her, she does not snap or anything. She usually lays down and sleeps. She is more anxious without the anxiety medicine, but I don’t think it is as beneficial as another medicine may be. She does frequently bark at the ceiling fan now, which hasn’t happened in a long time since she was a puppy. Not the best week, but we are making it through.