Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jun Update!

My truly fearful dog has been doing SO MUCH BETTER lately!!! OMG, I don't even think I can really call her insane anymore! She CHILLS! On her own! Without being tethered! She no longer has to be constantly touching me! We only rarely have the pacing and spinning, and when we do, she goes on her tether and chills there. Usually she gets restless if she hasn't gotten any mental stimulation for a day or two. But as long as she gets her physical and mental exercise for the day, she is really, really good! We have fallen off the wagon a bit with the RP and need to get back on it, but we are still doing other relaxation work.

We're still working on counter-conditioning her to me sitting down. I'm guessing the reason she is reactive to this is because I sit down so rarely that it doesn't fit into her "rule structure" and she doesn't know how to deal with it. So I am working on teaching her how she should behave when I sit down. We are working on having her lie down automatically when I sit at the table or on the couch. We're doing this in a variety of ways, but as she understands what she's supposed to do she is becoming more calm about me sitting down. (Ok, maybe I can still call her insane--reactive to sitting?! Weirdo.)

We're working counter-conditioning gradually, still in the Petsmart parking lot. Now that it's warmed up a bit and we have an extra hour of daylight at night, I think we will be able to work this more often. She's made the connection between people and chicken and will look at the people, then back at me for her food, so now we just need to work on slowly approaching. When we're able to get a bit closer, I plan to do another session with our trainer to figure out what the next step is and what our ultimate goal should be.

Jun is still working on her limp. She is really good at holding her paw up while targeting my hand now. After we got that down, I started moving the target farther away so she needed to stretch her nose out for it. Then I started marking for back paw movement. She got her back paws ridiculously close to her front paw, but would NOT move her front paw. We got a hop in place with her front foot off the ground once, which I jackpotted, but it hasn't happened again since. I briefly tried helping her by holding her paw up for her, but got no farther that way, plus I don't really have enough hands to do that. So the new plan . . . I had been sitting on the floor and putting the target in front of her at nose height. I have now switched to standing up and putting the target above her head. If I can get her to jump up to touch the target, maybe she will realize that it's her front paw that has to move.


  1. Now that is fantastic news! Is there one thing you felt made the biggest difference with her?

    I gave up on the back foot limp with LAnce. But I did start a new variation...we're attempting backwards back foot limping. I think because Lance is so used to targeting something with his backfoot that even if I don't set anything out he pretends that something is there and wants to back to it. We'll see if we can actually get it. I think your jump up for the target is a great idea with Jun!

  2. I think the one thing that made the biggest difference was increasing structure so that she didn't have any time to practice her OCD-ish craziness. Outside, she is either playing or on leash. And she and Elo now play separately so I can give each my full attention. Inside, she is playing, training, chewing, tethered or confined. Though she is now spending more time loose chilling on her own. She still has her moments and will go on the leash, but she is now off more than on.

    Where did you get stuck with the limp? Backwards back foot limp is an interesting idea!

  3. That makes sense. You're simply not giving her any opportunity to practice her crazy behaviors.

    I just haven't been able to get any forward momentum going. He will target and lift his foot at the same time but it's still not a clean attempt. It's spazzing with his back leg and then a huge effort to stretch forward. It's like his back foot really wants to go backward while his nose is struggling against him. So we'll see what happens

  4. That's funny! (Probably not for him though.)

  5. Aww it's so great to read about Jun's progress! What a good girl. I'm sure she'll continue to improve as the summer comes on too. Sorry about your bad run of weather this year - sheesh!