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…

Thundershirts

I’ve undertaken something new…a thundershirt. At our training lesson last Wednesday, the trainer suggested a thundershirt and asked if I knew what it was. She was very surprised to know that I have been doing all this research. I promptly searched local stores looking for a thundershirt in hope that this will help Oreo. Thundershirts are like wraps that velcro around the dog to create a feeling of safety, security, and lessen anxiety. There are many great reviews for this product, and some not so great. Many people use thundershirts to lessen the fear of thunder (hense the name).

It was suggested that I put this on her a few times a day leaving it on for different amounts.  So…I put it on her and she stood looking at me, wide eyes, and didn’t move. It was like she was in shock. Then she looked around and wobbled a little like she was off balance. I actually believe she may be getting her balance. Some dogs do not really notice their body. They don’t know their body extends and aren’t aware of it, so that makes it scary when people touch them. I am hoping the thundershirt and ttouch will help with this.

So…she followed me around like a lost puppy dog. She stood on me, followed me to the chair and jumped up to stand on me. It was like she was in shock. To me, she seemed super anxious, although she wasn’t whining or anything, she was just looking, and not moving, very odd. So I took it off after 5 minutes so she can get used to it. Next time I tried to put it on…what do you think happened? She RAN!!! I e-mailed the trainer telling her what happened, and the trainer said that she thinks this will help so I should try to get her used to it. REALLY. That hit me. Wow, yes I am a worry wart. But considering the way she acts when I tried putting something she is scared of near her (she tried to bite, snaps, growls, shows teeth). So I confronted her. Usually not the best thing to do..but I followed my gut. She hid, but I put it on top of her and she did not resist, she did not bite, or growl, or snap.

I’ve putten it on her a few more times and she’s been sleeping on the floor with it on, I think it may be working, relaxing her a bit. She is taking treats now with it on which is good. She still will run at the sight of it. Hopefully she likes it and I’m not forcing her into something scary. I think she has a love/hate relationship with it. She loves it because its calming to her, but she hates seeing it. I think each time I put it on she is a little less scared and a little more relaxed. Hopefully the trainer is right. Not sure yet…I’ll keep you updated.

TTouch

I recieved my copy of “‘The Tellington TTouch” in the mail and started reading it. I am surprised many people don’t know about the TTouch, and that I never did before my life with Oreo. It has been used for a long time and can make fearful animals less stressed, and enjoy touch instead of fearing it. This is my hope for Oreo. The trainer is having me do Noah’s March and Zig Zag (feather touch). It’s been 2 weeks and I haven’t seen her relax enough with it. She does when she is on Xanax (for the pesky ear drops), but without it she is fearful and wants gone. She will just start to move away but will allow me to touch her.

I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, I know I can help her, but I know it will take a LONG time. In reading the book, I have come across many different TTouches to help fearful animals and I can’t wait to use them. 2 I am particularly excited about are one that touches the ears and mouth. This will help her be more comfortable with those 2 parts of her body. I need to do more training, I was on vacation a few days and have been slacking a litte! Time to cook up some chicken for treats-yum!!!