Monday, February 14, 2011

In Which Jun is a Happy Dog

This is Jun.

This is Jun off stress hormones.

Actually that is an old picture. That is the very first time I ever saw her sleep--and it was NOT the day she came home. (No, she spent the first day running and running and running and I spent the first day wondering WTF kind of dog did I just bring home and WTF was I going to do with her?) Or the next day, or the next day, or the next day . . . You get the idea. It was probably a couple months later. The occasion was momentous enough for me to take a picture, and I'm not really a picture-taker, if you can't tell by the lack of multimedia on my blog.

I am fairly certain that that was not the first time she EVER slept, since I have THIS picture:

Of course, it's possible that is ANOTHER white puppy with a black ear and not Jun at all. But I am told it was Jun.

Something I am doing appears to be working . . . whether it is the DAP, the intermittent use of the thundershirt, the almost daily Relaxation Protocol work, the fact that Jun's days are now 100% structured, or the fact that *I* have calmed down a TON in the way I deal with my dogs (and I feel like I was a pretty calm handler before, definitely way calmer than I was when I started this dog adventure a few years ago). Probably a combination of all of the above, but she is acting like a normal dog lately. We have no pacing circles, no tail chasing, and no pattern running in the yard. This is partly because I haven't allowed any of it--she's goes out to potty on leash (and to play off leash, but she is totally focused on her toy), when inside if she's not inclined to relax on her own, she is tethered. She is either playing, training, chewing, or relaxing (on her own or forced) at all times, and she just seems . . . happier.

As odd as it might sound, I felt kinda bad about taking away her her pacing and spinning. Like I was taking away a part of her. But lately I've started to see that underneath the crazy is a really sweet, happy dog! 

The relaxation protocol is going well. She is active-relaxed (which I think of as different from operant-relaxed) but definitely calm, and the other day she even put her head on her paws for a few seconds on an out-of-sight stay.

We discontinued the counter-conditioning work for awhile. First of all, temps have been below zero here for what seems like forever. Second, she stopped taking treats on walks. She seemed very nervous the whole time, whether there were any people around or not. It was next to impossible to get her attention and she wouldn't tug or lick peanut butter, or canned salmon dog food from a food tube--both of these she loves in the house! This weekend it warmed up a bit and we had some success! I broke out the roasted chicken--one of her favorites--and we ditched the GL, which seemed to be a source of a lot of her anxiety on walks. We walked about 1/4 of the way down the block and back again a few times. Worked on loose leash walking, which she did GREAT with! And we saw two people at a distance (one walking a dog). As soon as she saw the people I threw a big handful of chicken on the ground right in front of her face, then as soon as she was done eating we turned and walked the other direction. She was calm enough to take her eyes off the people to eat and got right back to her happy LLW when we turned around! So I think we will continue with this strategy for now--occasional short walks, plain buckle collar, lots of chicken!

Disclaimer: Despite what it might seem from my last two posts, I am NOT anti-GL (in fact, I'm not anti-ANY tool that is used correctly). For my particular dogs I have found it to cause a lot of stress and cause them to disconnect from me, which is pretty much the opposite of what I'm going for.

1 comment:

  1. Great picture! I'm glad Jun is doing so well with all your hard work. Hopefully by taking away all her obsessions you're just giving her a chance to breathe!