Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lok Can Learn!

Lok has been doing amazing lately! I've seen so many changes in just the past couple of weeks! He seems less depressed and more engaged in life, and I am wondering if it is the result of increasing his fluoxetine? We increased it probably about 6 weeks ago in an attempt to get rid of some lingering anxiety-related behaviors, so this would be about the time it would be kicking in.

For example, instead of hitting his nose on the step of the deck when I am bringing him in, he's been responding to the cue "upstairs" and lifts his head and feels for the step with his foot. The other day he actually jumped right up onto the deck without even being cued, like he used to do! He has been trotting along when on leash instead of having to be practically dragged at a snail's pace. He has jumped onto my bed three times in the past week, which he has not done since before his surgery last summer. He has been spending more time out in the main portion of the house "with the family" instead of spending all his time holed up in a bedroom by himself. He has been spending slightly less time sleeping. He has been soliciting attention from me. He has picked up bones to chew on. He has solicited play from Elo. And this morning I only had to ask him once to get him up from where he was laying!! These things might not seem like much, but they are signs of LIFE from a dog who has been little more than a shell since coming home from the hospital last summer.

The day he jumped up onto the deck was the day I started working on some exercises from an online class with my other dogs. And that simple act caused me to think--hey, maybe I will give this a try with Lok too! Lok no longer responds to the large majority of what I say to him and seems not to remember most of his commands. I haven't been able to successfully teach him anything since I can't remember when. But two nights ago, Lok LEARNED! And last night, I got it on video!

One of the biggest obstacles to training for Lok since going blind (other than a complete lack of confidence) has been not knowing where the treats are or where they are going to come from. He spends more time sniffing around for the treats than thinking or listening for what he is supposed to do. This game is teaching him that if he ignores the treats they will come directly to his mouth! If he can get this skill down, maybe I can start from scratch and gradually build his other behaviors back up! I am not sure what he is still capable of, but the past two nights have encouraged me to start working with him again and see what he can do! 


  1. 6wks was how long it took for Vito's fluoxetine to kick in initially but then the increase was only about 2wks for him. How much is he on now?

    That's awesome news! And so cute going back to puppy zen games :)

  2. He is on 20mg twice a day. He was on 20mg once a day for about a year and it took the full 8 weeks for that to kick in.

  3. Yay for Lok! Glad to hear he's feeling better. Depression's a bitch.