Well, life is back to "normal" (as normal as it can be with my crew) after Lok's near-death experience (which I never mentioned on the blog, since I don't think anybody reads the blog who isn't my facebook friend). Today he has ANOTHER infection--one of the wounds from one of his many catheter sites is not healing up properly. So more money and more antibiotics. This dog really sucks at fighting off infection. But other than that he is doing really, really well!! He is completely off phenobarbital now and is just on zonisamide for his epilepsy and hasn't had any seizures since June 8th, the first day he was in the hospital! So three weeks!! He was going about a month apart before his hospitalization, so I am interested to see how well the zonisamide works for him. And now that I've said anything he will probably have a seizure tonight, so excuse me while I find some wood to knock on . . .
Jun has been on drugs for over two months now with inconclusive results. She is up and down, calm and wild, barking and quiet. I have not seen anything that I would label as a clear improvement, and it's tough to know what is due to meds and what is due to the behavior mod work I have continued to do with her. While her general behavior seems to have improved some days, the BIG issue--her hyper-vigilance and fear of people--doesn't seem to have improved at all. I would have expected to see a decrease in her "scanning" behavior when there is nothing around, and haven't. I would also have hoped that her threshold would have decreased and I don't think it has. Or not much. I feel like the BAT work we've been doing, along with CC/DS has been helping her. However, rather than helping her feel more comfortable around people, I feel like it's helping her "operantly" to make better choices in situations that make her uncomfortable (turning to me or walking away vs. starting and reacting). This is a good start, but I would really rather she FEELS better in these situations instead of just being able to suppress her reactions to fearful situations.
Being so busy with Lok and Jun lately, I have not really had time to work with Elo much, which sucks because he is the dog that my work pays off with the most! We haven't gotten out around other dogs much lately, but we've been shaping a lot of obedience foundation stuff! He heels really nicely on both sides! We've been doing a lot of work with pivots lately, in front and heel position. He has an easier time with counter-clockwise pivots, due to missing a leg on the left side, but both are coming along! I've been working on a drop on recall and having kind of a hard time with it. He will down at a distance from a sit-stay or stand-stay, but gets really confused when asked to lie down in the middle of a recall. He finished his recall and then lays down in front of me. It makes perfect sense, but Jun and Elo pretty much did this automatically, so I never had to think about how to teach it. Right now, we are working moving downs in heel position and also working on a "wait" command. I am having him follow me in "front" position, I cue a wait, and he (hopefully) pauses while I continue moving. So far, I am still having to pause with him before continuing to back up, but I think he's starting to get it. Any other ideas?