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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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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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Reactivity and Lifestyle changes

Who should we discuss first — Gypsy or me? Gypsy!

So this is what has happened today:  I gave her about 1mg of melatonin and she was very calm all day. My neighbors weren’t home a lot. Gypsy was very sleepy and slept most of the day. That’s not really the result I wanted but I was able to reward her quite a bit when there was a sound because she was slower to respond.  Tomorrow I go back to work so no melatonin before I leave. We have our corgi walk tomorrow after work too.

This afternoon I went over to agility friend’s house to buy a used dremel.  She has a young papillon who is quite friendly and who Gypsy kind of knows but they’d never been face to face. I took Gypsy in their yard on leash. Sunny was off leash and was very friendly. Gypsy and he smelled and sniffed and were great together. I didn’t let her off leash but did reward her quite a bit for her interaction with him. It was great. She greeted him and then pretty much ignored him. It was her all-or-nothing response–either she doesn’t care at all or cares a lot. In this case she didn’t care. It was good though.

This evening we went to a nearby state park where we used to go until now they require a pass. For my birthday I bought the pass because it gets me into other state parks and it’s not too expensive. There are places I want to go this summer, and the park we went to tonight is really nice for after-work walks and training because it’s very close and not too crowded. There were two smaller dogs walking around the park that had some leash reactivity.One was barking and lunging and the other was just pulling. They weren’t aggressive but they were reactive on leash. I’m proud to say we walked by them at a safe distance and Gypsy completely ignored them. She didn’t care one bit that these dog were reacting to her. We kept about 20 feet away since it was obvious we were in the other dogs’ reactive zones. I was really proud of her for not even acknowledging they existed!

So onto me– Not that I don’t have enough going on with work and training and behavior modification — I am starting a new fitness program because I really have to change some of my own health.  I am very much out of shape and at a weight and look I do not like one bit. I started this morning and it’s 6x a week. Thankfully I work out at home. Yet the thought of waking up extra early is already making me sick. However I must do it before work.  My dogs need me to be healthy and have more energy. I know they think I’m a lazy slug sometimes. So I’m making some changes.  Gypsy and I are both going through a transformation.

Today I am thankful for all the service men, women and canine who fought for our freedom.

 

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in week 11

 

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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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One month ago today…

One month ago today, Gypsy was with me at Dr. Yin’s workshop for our working spot. Dr. Yin showed us how to start our L2E, the mechanics of reinforcement and did a little evaluation on Gypsy’s reactivity. It changed my life and how I think about my dog training and my responses to Gypsy. I am forever grateful.

Again, unfortunately today, was a bad allergy day. I got home late from work due to a co-worker’s good-bye party. I didn’t do much when I got home. Gypsy was in the ex-pen chewing on her rawhide. I think she really liked it. She also barked at imaginary noises and reflections in the windows. I rewarded her for staying quiet the best I could. The nice thing is when she barks, I can recall her off of it. It doesn’t stop her really, but it is nice that I can recall her successfully off whatever it is she is barking at as long as it is not a squirrel.

She is looking at me for leadership a lot more in the yard these days and sometimes in the house. Her sits to go outside (please) are a lot faster and more automatic.

Tomorrow we have agility class. I hope she does as well as she did last week.

Today (and everyday) I am thankful I went to Dr. Yin’s workshop and had an invaluable working spot with Gypsy.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in 5th week

 

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Celebrating small successes

Today was a good day. 🙂

This morning we went in the front yard and walked around the street and she was focused on me the whole time. In fact, she was so focused on me she didn’t want to potty! (we did get the potty accomplished). She did really well out front this morning.

When I got home from work, we did a little work in the yard but not much— mainly with some sits.  I had her tethered to me while I did some stuff around the house.

Then we went to agility class. Last week was awful. Tonight was better. I changed a few things. First, I brought her collapsible crate we use at trials. I thought perhaps she’d be more comfortable than the little crate she rides in on car rides.  Secondly, she wore the thundershirt. And finally I had her on a ribbon. Before our first run, we did some focus exercises around the building. She was heavily rewarded for staying focused. I used a lot of our methods and moves from L2E. We did a few obstacles then — jumps and the table and I rewarded after each obstacle, then after 2 then after 3. It’s back to the gambling analogy I mentioned the other day. We ended on a high note.

On our second turn we did even more longer sequences with heavy rewards after just a few obstacles.  We also added the tunnel and weaves. She did great. One dog in a crate looked at her and she looked at it and didn’t respond at all. She looked back at me and we did our thing. She got lots of rewards and had a good time!!

When we got home, our landlord’s dog was outside going potty. For some reason Gypsy has issues with her. She’s very old, can’t walk, can’t breathe well and is noisy. She’s a very old yellow lab who is deaf and isn’t even aware of anything. Gypsy can hear her a mile away. We got out of the car and I was ready with treats. I put the leash around my waist (I had the buddy system with me that I took to class) and we worked around Mocha with sits and fronts and heels with lots of cookies. We stayed pretty far away and Gypsy did look at Mocha but she was more interested in the treats I had with me. The more cookies she got, the more she didn’t care about Mocha. It went really well. As soon as Mocha was back inside the house, Gypsy was focused on me. Before she would be pulling and sniffing every step Mocha took.  I wish she didn’t respond at all when we got out of the car and started the session, but it was definitely better than anything we’ve done in the past to counter-condition. Poor Mocha is sad to watch. 😦

We are now resting for the evening and Gypsy has a rawhide. She’s barking a little at noises upstairs is better at not barking than she used to be.

Tonight I am thankful for keeping the hope and continuing on.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in 4th week

 

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Distracted Trainer Day

Today I had a lot of intentions to catch up on reading my behavior books and articles, run a few errands and work on Gypsy’s come when called.

I got some of that done but this morning, my sister called me. Her dog slipped out of his harness at a community dog walk in a busy downtown area and ran off. She has no idea what direction he even went. She is devastated, sad, angry at herself, and all those emotions when your dog runs away. I feel so bad for her. I helped make a poster this morning and a few phone calls. I live too far away to help locally but I did the best I could.  So the sadness I feel didn’t really make my day very good. I still worked with Gypsy a little, we went to Home Depot (twice!) and got materials to make a table and ramp, and wasted time on the computer. I still haven’t opened the book I intended.

What work I did do with Gypsy today was good. Minimal but good. My neighbors are still gone and she was barking at imaginary noises like they were here. I found that quite interesting.  She was rewarded a lot for good behavior and being calm and quiet.

So not much to blog about today.

Tonight I am grateful my sister has a lot of friends helping and/or supporting her in this difficult time.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2012 in 3rd week

 

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