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Day 2 of a new day: we took it to the front yard

It’s amazing how night and day the house/backyard is from the front yard. Our quick sits in the house and backyard are very focused and fun. I take it to the driveway and front yard and she’s completely unfocused. She’s super hypervigilant and I have to pull her on her leash and she’s not responding at all. I need to video tape and I need to use my new work lamp so there is better light for the video since it’s dark.

We had a few good sessions with Apollo today and making it fun with treats. She looked a little nervous when he stood by the x-pen gate.

So next steps: front yard, video tape, snoot loop.

“Simple isn’t always easy.” – Bob Bailey

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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in November 2012

 

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Today in training – the new day 1

Today I went over all my notes from the seminar and transcribed them to my laptop. I should have just brought my laptop to the seminar– after all I had it with me in Davis but I left it at the hotel. I wrote everything on paper. So tonight I went through my notes and put them into a word doc. It was very helpful re-writing all the great information I got, and I feel like information overload all over again.

I also watched the Say Please By Sitting DVD Dr. Yin gave me at our consultation. More great info and great demos on all the mechanics I learned. It is very helpful to see it all in motion for me to do it myself.

Gypsy and I have worked on our rapid sits and stay please by sitting in the house and yard. It is going pretty well. She’s learning the new rules of the door pretty quickly. We also worked on her mat with the Manners Minder with no distractions. She did great with long stays without getting fidgety or getting up. She laid a lot closer to it so she could still lie down and eat the treats.

We’re also doing our tricks and treats with Apollo. In our consultation, one of Gypsy’s behaviors is for us to do really fun stuff with Apollo in the room so she makes the positive association. Fun happens when Apollo appears. Fun stops when Apollo goes away. So we had a few sessions of that today and she seemed to have taken well to it. She only cares about Apollo because he doesn’t always eat his treats and she is waiting for him to drop them. We get to work on leave it simultaneously.

Gypsy seems a little more reactive tonight to noises upstairs and outside but the good news is instead of bolting to the door, she’s looking back at me!

So really, I consider today to be day one of our new program just because today was the first day I’ve had the chance to review everything and think-plan-do.

Onward…

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in November 2012

 

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Another Great Blog From Dr. Yin and updates this week

It’s Saturday morning at 7am and I just got done with my behavior changes– my workout! haha. It’s a lifestyle change for all of us around here.

Dr. Yin posted another amazing blog this week, with mechanics I learned during the seminar and what we practice every day. It’s great to see though because sometimes I need a reminder on my mechanics, and sometimes when I think I’m doing it right, I’m not.  So read this blog about reinforcement and speed of delivery.

This week had some ups and downs. At home the barking and reactiveness in the backyard continues. Melatonin helps. A leash helps. But it’s just not getting better at all, especially when my upstairs neighbors are super noisy (which they have been recently).  I can’t give up but I want to. I feel helpless and that I’m losing this battle. I need to think more creatively.

In agility class this week, Gypsy went a step backwards but it ended up good. There was a spot in the very first day of class where a dog was crated and she went to it. That spot in class is in her memory of some location fear I guess. This week a dog was crated in the same spot — the first time a dog was crated in that same spot in many many weeks. Gypsy was running her course and took off to that spot. The dog was covered and she didn’t even know there was a dog in there, but she knew something was up.  I grabbed her leash tab and we finished the course with some treats.

On our next run, I had the owner make sure the dog was all the way covered. Gypsy ran her course and she still looked that direction. After the weave poles, she looked in that direction, I called her name and gave her the cue for the next obstacle and she made the best decision and took the jump. She got a huge huge jackpot for that!  It was a very big breakthrough. Had the dog not been covered I’m not sure it would have been as successful, but at the same time it was a good choice. Had the dog not been covered and had been somewhere else in the room, it wouldn’t have been an issue either. It’s that spot. We got a chance to work through it and it was great.

After class a few of us were talking with our dogs out on leashes, and Gypsy couldn’t have cared less about any of them — even the one who was in that scary location earlier. She was totally calm. But when she’s running and gets freaked out, it’s very difficult to get her threshold lower again. Still, this week was a good test.

We continue to work on our sit for please and shadow handling. Today we’re going to a Rally trial — going for our first leg of Rally Novice B.  Wish us luck.

Today I am thankful for the Adidas pants I ordered and came in the mail yesterday that are super comfortable and great to run in agility and for dog training! Yeah, silly but true!

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2012 in week 11

 

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Onward to more adventures

Our Saturday Growly Dog 2 class at Ahimsa Dog Training in Seattle has come to an end. Gypsy did really well and on the final class greeted one of the other reactive dogs in class. I have to admit that the other dog wasn’t over the top by any means. For the most part throughout class, the two of them couldn’t care less about each other. But still, they greeted and that was great.

The class wasn’t really what I had hoped. There were only 3 students of 6 spots. The one lower-reactive dog was the one we worked with the most.  The other dog was reactive in a different way and barked a lot and kept his distance — a distance that was way below Gypsy’s threshold.  When we started the class I told the instructor Gypsy is noise and motion reactive and we really didn’t work any of that. It was pretty much 6 weeks of BAT setups, which I modified to fit more into Dr. Yin’s protocol.  We still went every week but I don’t think we got much out of it. As Dr. Yin told me, Gypsy is not the type of dog that turning and walking away is going to reduce her anxiety. Yes, it may help some other dogs but not Gypsy.  So the class is ended. I think it did help lower her threshold in some arenas, like when the dog in class barked when he got over threshold, she didn’t seem to care. Perhaps a few months ago she would have. I think we’re going to spend some time over the next month working on CU games at home, at the park and even agility practice.

At home it’s a different story. She’s still reactive to my landlords upstairs and through windows. My Growly Dog instructor recommended a Calming Cap.  I looked it up online –I am not sure that’s right for us. I don’t know. Perhaps it could work but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem and doesn’t really form a situation to work through — it’s just what I see as positive punishment — adding something to change a behavior.  I tried to think of it like a Thundershirt, but I think it’s a little more intrusive than that. At least the Thundershirt gives a calming feeling with the wrap. The Calming Cap just makes it so they can’t see as much because it’s like looking through mesh.  If any of you have tried it, please let me know what your experience is with it.

For my birthday I got a little money from my Grandma. I went on Amazon.com and bought Gypsy a cheap, but full size skateboard!! I don’t see her skating down the street or anything but I do think it will be fun to train to at least have her stand on it and me pull her. I think it could build her confidence and trust in me. We’ll see — we’re so far just clicking and treating for putting one or two paws on it!

Today I am thankful for my background check going through at work for an awesome promotion that will allow me more financial resources to spend on my dogs!

 

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Reactive barking, good progress and my birthday

First, I’ll start out with this week– we’ve done a lot of the Look at That game with objects, not dogs. I know Dr. Yin said to be careful with this game because if the dog is looking at it, they are thinking about it. But using toys or leashes or something completely neutral, I am able to start using this game to teach her she can take a quick glance but the reward comes from me. So that’s what we have been working on this week and it’s going great so far.

Yesterday was my birthday. We went to one of the local islands to a beach and there were 4 dogs total, my 2, one Gypsy knows well and another she just met. Dasher is a 2 year old lab and very active. Gypsy did great with her for just meeting her.  I was really impressed and happy.  We did a lot of walking and playing on the beach.  There were other dogs who walked by on the beach that she had no reaction to either. The distance was way below her threshold but it was great to see. I think a lot of the training we’ve been doing has allowed her to work under threshold a lot longer. This is awesome.

So back to what I don’t like — she’s still noise reactive at home. Every single sound makes her bark. I am having a hard time counter conditioning it because I literally have to click and treat all day long. It is just not possible. The melatonin helps a little — it really just depends on how noisy my neighbors are and what’s going on outside. I am not having a lot of success in fixing it. It’s all noise-related so at least I’ve been able to narrow that down.  Now I have to see how I can work on it with success.

Today I am thankful for another trip around the sun.

Family photo on my 35th birthday.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Week 10

 

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Week 10 underway and doing ok

Gypsy and I are plugging along as we’re in week 10. I need to work more on our heeling and leash exercises as we haven’t done much of that lately.  I also need to be more vigilant about her sitting to say please.

Overall though we’ve had ups and downs as usual. She’s still barking at home when even no one is upstairs and all the blinds are closed, as it has become a habit, but we’ve also done some CC in the yard and really working on the Look at That game with windows and lights and non-dog objects. We are also working mat work more and I ordered her a special Mutt Mat which we’ll get in a few days so we can work our mat work outside, at parks, at class, etc.  She doesn’t really have a designated mat in the house so it will be nice to have one she knows is her ‘safe place’ or ‘home base’ as you will.

Nothing really better or worse today.  I guess that’s not too bad.

Today I am thankful for a pending promotion at work so I can afford to play more and train more with my dogs.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Week 10

 

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A good week and a great blog

The last few days have been pretty good. Agility class on Thursday went really well. No Thundershirt! Very short ribbon and a tab and she was nailing the course of jumps! I was really proud of her.

Today we went to our Growly Dog 2 class and she did really well with Winston, a little terrier who also isn’t super reactive. Gypsy and him have been working together because they are similar and today Gypsy smelled his butt. She got a click and lots of treats.

Then today we went to Green Lake for a walk. For the most part she was really good. There were two circumstances where we had a leash lunge and both time we weren’t walking. Green Lake is super busy on a Saturday afternoon and also very stimulating. There are LOTS of dogs, people, bikes, skateboards, and smells. Overall she’s doing so much better than she was just a month or two ago. The last time we were there was kind of a disaster with her completely disconnected from me. Today was much better.

Today I am watching the 4 DVD set of Leslie McDevitt’s Control Unleashed seminar. Since we finished our first CU class and didn’t sign up for the next class, I wanted to watch this seminar, see Leslie demo the games and see how Leslie talks about reactive dogs and the example dogs in the seminar. There’s some great things in this video. Some things I’ve heard before in a different setting–not related to stressed or reactive dogs. What I’m getting from the first part of this series is that I really need to work on my mat work and I need to change the mat at home. I need a special mat that can go anywhere I go, whether to trials, trips, hotels, other peoples’ homes, the park, etc. That’s not what I have so we’re going to get a special mat and really dig into the mat work.  I will probably use a lot of the CU method but also maybe work Dr. Yin’s method with the Manners Minder. I’m not sure I want to use the MM though so I’ll see what is best for Gypsy.

She’s still reactive at home this week. Last night my upstairs neighbors were being very loud packing for a trip. Gypsy was super hypervigilant. I need to video the next time it happens so I can show Dr. Yin if I ever email her or request additional help. I want to have it to show her. I’m pretty sure it will happen again, as it does  every weekend when their home and I’m home. Today and tomorrow they are out of town and it’s pretty quiet and Gypsy has been better.  She still likes the bark at the neighbor across the fence when the light is on in their bathroom.  I had to have Gypsy chill in her crate with the door closed for about an hour last night so she could cool down. That helped.

Also, she’s still doing some melatonin. I have found it helpful. It’s not as good as I had hoped on weekends, but it’s better than nothing. The Comfort Zone spray is also doing ok too I think. It’s hard to tell because of other environmental factors but it does seem to help.

Finally, Dr. Yin posted a blog today about running exercise with dogs, which I have no interest in but I did click on the link and one of her related links was a great blog from 2011 that I never saw before! It’s called Dog Training Tip: Why Cigarettes are More Addicting than Heroin and How It Applies to Dog Training.

I LOVE this blog. I love the science. I love that there’s research behind the training methods. That really helps me understand my own dogs’ needs rather than just a trainer saying “do this” without offering support. This is why I really trust Dr. Yin. She does much of the research herself and if she doesn’t, she looks into to findings and states her own opinion on the results. Every dog owner should read this blog so they can have more success in their training. Read it!!

Today I am thankful for Control Unleashed, Leslie McDevitt and all the tools I have learned in my dog training progress.

Gypsy at the park today

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in 9th week

 

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