Friday, November 12, 2010

Jun 1, Trainer 0

How does she get me to do these things?

So, Jun has been really "spooky" lately, which is weird for her. I am used to her spooking at people, but lately she's been spooking at objects A LOT. Especially outside in the dark, branches will move or something will brush up against her and she will jump back. She recovers quickly, but still. We've been working nosework in the basement utility room (which she is rarely in) and she walks around part of the room half-crouched, leaning backwards with her nose stretched out. She will touch something with her nose and jump back. The other day she barked at a paper bag on the kitchen counter. And if I make a sudden move, especially if I have something in my hand, she will jump and cower. This is really weird and is starting to worry me. I swear I don't beat the dog!!

I'm trying to just ignore it for the most part, as well as trying not to startle her myself, making sure she sees me before I touch her, etc. But it's starting to worry me. It's been awhile since Jun has "tried on" a "new" behavior problem. She seems to have settled into her favorites--excessive pointless barking, leash reactivity/aggression, and biting people--which I've given up on solving. I manage the barking with a bark collar, and I manage the reactivity and aggression by just keeping her out of bad situations. But I really don't need a dog who is going to be afraid of THINGS. More specifically, I don't need THIS dog to be afraid of things. She is enough work as it is.

But to get to the point of this post, Jun has been known to be . . . manipulative, and last night I began to suspect she is just doing this to see what she can get out of me or get away with. Last night I was cooking some bacon and Jun spooked at something on the kitchen counter--the contents of the counter hadn't changed all night, nor were they any more or less cluttered than usual. So what do I do? Thinking it may be time to step in and do some counter-conditioning. I grab a piece of bacon, encourage her to put her paws up on the counter and feed it to her there. WTF, Tania?! Counter-conditioning all right--conditioning counter-surfing that is. Smarter than the dog, Tania, it's, like, the first rule!!

And P.S., if any of the like 3 people who read this blog have any ideas on the sudden spookiness, please let me know.


  1. No idea about the spookiness. Seems to old to be in a fear period. And I am assuming that there's been no new stress in her life. Puzzling!

    I don't think you have to worry too much about training counter surfing though. All the service dogs need to learn a rise-take, but learn to do so on cue only. Of course Jun is a smart girl so I wouldn't purposefully go down that road :)

  2. I dunno my dogs go through spooky periods sometimes, they'll walk by something 50 times and suddenly its a problem and no f'ing way are they walking by it now. LOL at the counter conditioning-surfing though. It happens. Just try to ignore the spookiness, I think that's the best solution and avoid things that are spooky right now. She'll probably be back to normal soon, if not already.