Luna’s Life… A Dog and A Trainer 4/9/2017
This was a great week!!! Is she cured? NO, but there were tons of tiny improvements this week. Again please don’t focus on the improvements, instead focus on the frequency and consistency of me (or someone else) working with Luna. If you want to attempt the rehabilitation and training of a fearful dog, it is a 7 day a week job… No matter how busy your work week or difficulties with school or family… I guess what I am trying to say; you do not take days off! I look at my time with Luna as a way to get away from all that normal work stuff, so if you are going to look at working with your fearful dog as work you best stop now! But enough on the soapbox and back to the week that was…
Parking Lot Work
We did this 3 times as walks and left her in the car while in parking lots for quick alone time visits another 2 times… Each time she is getting better, but believe me she is still scared and if not on leash or securely in the car, would be a flight risk and to be honest if she got loose (scared) I am not sure I could get her back… Something to think about but there is great news on this front at the end of the blog!
Bath and Brushing
We attempted and succeeded at a bath and brush out but lets just say Luna was not a fan 🙂 lots of kind words and did it quick, with no blow dryer this time… I am lucky enough to have a niece who is a groomer so we will be able to do this on a pretty regular basis. Brushing went way better and she even seemed to enjoy it… Again I will know when we are making progress when she is willing to take treats while the bath is happening… And for this first bath she was NOT interested in food or the bath for that matter 🙂
We also added a pheromone collar this week. Basically it is oxytocin, which is the pheromone of a lactating mother dog, and is calming… I waited a month to try one so that I could get a better gauge as to if it worked… As you hear about our trips to the vet, coffee shops , doggy daycare and the dog park… I would say it has worked!!! The collar is a 30 day duration and when we reach the end… I am going to buy the spray version and start just using it in stressful situations on a bandanna I will have her wear!
Last booster was this week and there was no pull at all coming into the clinic. We were able to walk in and sit in a chair… She would take treats from me but no one else and was really good in the examination room…. But again not treats from strangers…
Went Twice this week and was able to lay down and relax but was still pretty concerned and nervous around people… Again nowhere near able to take treats from strangers but normalizing all these strange environments is just plain huge!!!! Not to mention Dad loves coffee so we will keep up this work!!!
Huge win! She is playing in multi dog play-groups and is now OK with the noise of the kennel… check out the pic here, where she is patiently waiting for her next opportunity to go outside with her group. In my mind this was our biggest win this week!!!
And finally, today (Sunday) we decided to take Luna, her canine besty, Petri, along with my son and my friend Eliza, and went to the dog park… What we found was she did not wonder very far away and as long as the spaces were large, people were OK but if she got surrounded by people or met people on the paths she would freeze or get flustered. But if we were paying attention, we could call her or walk up to her and get her leash on and she would walk through the scary parts with us!!! HUGE!!!! Check out the video!
What does all this mean… I have a dog who has made so many improvements, its well amazing but I do not have a dog:
- I would trust alone around kids
- That will take food from the hand of a stranger
- That still gets freaked out every once in a while
- In fact if startled she still growls and runs (and that is totally OK)
- When scared or startled she shuts down and will not listen to commands and wont take food (even from me)
AND WITH ALL THAT… I THINK SHE IS STILL AHEAD OF SCHEDULE… FEARFUL DOGS PROGRESS ON THEIR TERMS NOT OURS… And for those of you wondering if I have a goal for our progress?, well yes I do… I think Luna will pass her C.G.C and be ready to help me in my training business in 18 months (that puts us September 2018) Might be sooner, might be later but one thing I can say… I am in it for the long haul and I fully realize she and I have only been working for a little bit over a month!!!!
Reality check done and still just as happy as a guy with an awesome new dog could be 🙂
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