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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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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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Agility trial, hello week 9 and kidney stone update

Wow, hello week 9! How has this happened??

So I signed up for this CPE trial months ago. I only signed Gypsy up for 2 standard runs because I really wanted it to be a test. The trial was 2 ring, which is more noisy and active. It was our first 2-ring trial too. I wanted to focus on her runs and behavior in the crating area.

She did fantastic! She was very calm in her crate. I gave her some melatonin and calming spray in her crate. I think it really did help. Last weekend at the TDAA trial she was really nervous. She wouldn’t even eat her bully stick. Yesterday she was very happy munching on it in her crate. It was also very hot yesterday (I know! Hot is 75 in Seattle!!). It really was warm though in the arena. I know dogs get a little cranky when it’s warm. There is also not a lot of crating space.  The dogs were very close to each other. Going in and out of her crate was awesome! She didn’t make a peep, didn’t really look at any of the other dogs, and was just awesome!!!  The only reactivity she had was with one particular dog in a pretty pink crate who made a large commotion when any dog walked by. Because it was a small dog in a pink crate I think it startled Gypsy more than anything. So she barked at it while we walked by BUT only if it barked first.  When the owner got fed up with its reactivity, they turned the crate around and it was more quiet. When that dog was quiet, we walked by a few times and Gypsy had no reaction!!!

At the ring gates, I didn’t hold her like I had in the past. I had my treats and we played hand touch games and ran in little circles. Inside the ring waiting to run (we were first dog in both runs) we did more hand touches and circles. She was very disconnected from me in the first run, ran over a few obstacles, ran around the back and then we finished the course. It was 11 seconds!! I still gave her treats afterwards but not high value ones.

On her second standard run, again we played more games at the start line. I asked for a sit and she did. I tried to get a lead out but she didn’t let me. Still, we were more connected. She made it almost to the end until my handling got in the way and she went to the gate, then came back, then thought about what to do, then came back, then back jumped a jump where I got her moving again and we finished and Q’d!! It wasn’t a pretty run but it was very successful. She came back and didn’t react or get too stressed out. She looked stressed but then found me for leadership and we finished. She got HUGE praise at the end of the run!!

A friend of mine sells treats and toys during trials. She’s also the only one I know who gets raw freeze-dried tripe treats. It’s magic treats. I had already gotten a few bags of tripe before that last run so she got a few pieces of tripe after that.

I was so proud of her. She did so good and looked relatively relaxed. We won’t do another trial for about 2 months to work more on L2E and everything else. As Dr. Yin said, you want to keep them under threshold while you do L2E. Trials are the closest to threshold you can do and the most arousal you can do so it’s not optimal for L2E training.

So improvements: 2 months ago, she couldn’t wait outside the ring gates ready to get in the ring. I had to hold her or run to the gate when they called is. Yesterday she was happy doing our warm up exercises.  2 months ago she was more reactive walking by all the crates in small, close proximity. Yesterday, she was focused on me as we walked by.  2 months ago, she ran out of the ring (well into the chute at least) totally stressed out and not knowing what to do.  Yesterday, she didn’t do that. She did her own course out of stress, but then the 2nd run she looked to me to guide her and didn’t react to her stress and we finished with good success!!! I’m so proud of all our hard work. Baby, corgi steps!!!

And today I found out the CT scan is definitely negative for a kidney stone. The doc goes off that more than the x-ray. So no stone. So what’s causing my pain? Not sure yet but doc said everything else on my CT was normal so that’s good news. I’ll find an internist this week and get checked out and have them review the CT film just to make sure they don’t see anything someone else missed. In the meantime the pain isn’t as bad. It hurt a little yesterday but overall was manageable.

Today I am thankful I can play agility with my reactive dog because we’re working so hard on our teamwork!

Gyspy’s ribbons CPE Level 1. 5/13/12 – One 2nd place for the run she made up on her own (because there were only 2 dogs in her category!!). And then there’s a Q ribbon, a 2nd place ribbon and a new title ribbon for her 2nd standard run and finishing her Level 1 Standard title. 🙂

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in 9th week

 

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Busy week, kidney stones and a neurotic dog

Wow, what an interesting week and it’s now Saturday evening. I have neglected this blog the last few days.

Let’s see–Tuesday nothing interesting. We worked on some backyard agility for our online class.

Wednesday – I don’t remember but nothing stands out

Thursday-Gypsy rocked agility class without a Thundershirt. She was really focused, didn’t take off and understood my handling.

Friday — wow what a day. I had been feeling some pain in my back the last few days and decided to call the doctor yesterday (the urologist). About a year and a half ago I had a kidney stone. It passed in a week. The pain I feel now is similar to that pain. Well, the radiologist saw a stone on the x-ray but not on the CT scan. So I don’t even know if I have a stone or not or if this pain is something else. That is what bothers me the most. So yesterday I was at the doctors all afternoon. In the evening the pain was pretty mild and we went to Four Paw to practice our agility handling homework. It was an eye opener, doing a sequence without arms and really mapping out cues.  It was like what Dr. Yin says when the dog feels a sigh or breath of relief because you’re finally speaking her language. That’s the way I feel like the handling session went. Gypsy made more eye contact with me than she has ever done before!  We were both tired after that.

Today: Today she did great in her Growly Dog 2 class. There was only 1 other dog besides Gypsy and he’s pretty low-key. She didn’t cross threshold at all.  Afterwards we went to the beach and chilled in the sand and sun because it was a beautiful day today.  When we got home, the neighbors were kind of noisy and she went a little balistic. CC wasn’t doing any good. It was like I described last week or the week before where she was pacing, whining, being hypervigilant, and barking.  When we got home from the beach I gave her some rescue remedy but her reactivity got worse. So she got about 1mg of melatonin. It took about an hour to help relax her (on top of closing blinds and putting her on leash), but now I think she’s relaxed. I can’t really work the CC now because it’s dark and the noises are gone.

Earlier in the week I talked to the vet about meds and we decided to try melatonin for a few weeks. I think it’s helping. We have an agility trial tomorrow and I’ll be giving her melatonin there to see if it helps take the edge off.  I hope so.

Today I am thankful for good doctors, loving dogs, and Aleve. Ouch.

Gypsy at the beach today. It was a beautiful day.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in 8th week

 

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It’s been a rough evening

I’ll start with yesterday since we didn’t post. It wasn’t too exciting, though. We went to our Growly Dog 2 class and it was ok. There were only 2 of us in class and it wasn’t very effective to what Gypsy needs. We were able to help the other dog though, so that was good. But for Gypsy, it wasn’t much help. It was still good. We mainly did BAT setups in the classroom and I worked with Gypsy off leash in our little boxed in area.  Then I had to run some errands and in the evening she was pretty quiet for a weekend.

Today was a different story. We got up early and went to a TDAA trial about 90 minutes away. It was her first TDAA trial in 2 months and I wanted to see if anything got better. In a nutshell— yes and no.  Yes, she was much better with the dogs around her. She saw dogs while she pottied and we walked around, as well as going up to the entry of the ring. I didn’t carry her in this time.  She was much better with that. But once in the ring, she was not thrilled for the most part. She didn’t even want to get out of her crate, which is very odd and disturbing for her.  I don’t know why that was. She even had a bully stick she didn’t finish. She ate a whole one in class the other day but today didn’t want to chew on it much.

I did have her Thundershirt on, and sometimes she thinks the world is coming to an end when that happens. It could be a factor.  The runs didn’t go great, but I did experiment with a few things, she was better with her startline stay, she nailed in contacts (running too!!) and had fun. The most fun she had was when we ran FEO in a beginner’s run instead of intermediate. She’s technically an intermediate level but the courses weren’t too fun for her and so I dropped her down for FEO and she did fantastic!!

On that beginner FEO run, a person at the trial had a border collie about 5 feet off the gates. Gypsy spotted him and started freaking out. She was totally fixated. She would not sit for me at the startline or connect with me. So I had her ribbon, just ran in circles with me, back and forth and got her ramped up, and then I just said “GO!” And she didn’t look back at that BC again!!! It’s interesting because when I did the startline stay I wasn’t as ramped up as I was with the BC incident and she wasn’t feelin’ it much. I guess I was too concerned about the stay so I didn’t look fun.  I think that was our revelation of the day.

Back home, it got worse. We fell asleep on the couch and I thought all was good. But then she started fixating on noises outside. I took her outside and my landlord was in the front yard gardening. We did do a lot of click/reward and some recalls but she was still very hypervigilant and stressed out.  She looked really stressed out.  We came inside and she still looked really stressed out. I tried to calm her but it wasn’t working. I tried to click and reward and it didn’t work. So I put her in her crate, with the door open, and just pet her. She stayed in there about 20 minutes and that did calm her down. Then I took her near the couch on leash and sat with her on the floor. She found a squeaky penguin toy and just went to town on it like she was releasing all of her stress. She was squeaking it like crazy and then proceeded to try to remove all the stuffing. She didn’t pull out much. We even played a little tug with it. Whether the intention for her was stress relief or not, I tend to believe it was since she doesn’t usually get toys out of the blue on her own, let alone this penguin one.  She just went crazy with squeaking it like she was beating the hell out of it like a punching bag.

After she calmed down I gave her a rawhide to chew while I did a few things around the house. I don’t know if it was the anxiety or the bone or both, but Apollo came up to the x-pen barrier and she stared and then lunged at him. He ran away. She couldn’t have gotten to her because of the barrier but I wasn’t happy with that behavior at all since I think that’s what happened the other night because there was a rawhide on the floor in the bedroom when we had that incident the other night.

So after that, I don’t know what to do. I’ve been thinking today of trying some melatonin this week to see if it helps take the edge off. Apollo goes the the vet tomorrow for his eyes and I may talk to the vet about some anti-anxiety meds. I don’t know her stance on them, but after she was so overthreshold in her own backyard just by seeing someone through the gate (she also reacted when my mom and dad were standing outside the gate last week and I went to let them in, so it’s not just people she doesn’t recognize right away), plus the anxiety in the house and hypervigilance, I just so badly wanted to help her feel better. She was panting, moving every which way, and just very very anxious. I really don’t want drugs, but I would like her to be able to feel “normal” while we work through the fear and so some CC and OC because it’s not really working on it’s own. She treats it as a game or a training session and when the session is over, so is the work. She hasn’t yet transferred it to real life and I honestly don’t know how to make that happen.  I can’t just click and treat all day. She just can’t eat that much.

If anyone is reading this, please let me know if you have any experience with anti-anxiety drugs for your dogs, like Prozac or Xanex.  I found this blog today — it’s a little outdated, but interesting nevertheless and something to talk to my vet about.

Today I am thankful I worked hard to get through to my dog and try to show her that she can lead a calm life.  Someday I’d like to be thankful it actually happened, and not just a wish.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2012 in 7th week

 

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