Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Crazy Dog Update

I introduced you to my crazy dog a few weeks ago. I received several emails asking for updates on the situation, so here goes!

We had a dog trainer come out. Not much help. She did recommend we take her to obedience classes to get her more socialized and understand there's more to the world than me. Classes started July 5.

We had a canine behavioral therapist come out. I know what you're's no wonder the dog is nuts, look at the owners! I know. I was a little leery at first too. But I have to say, she did great. Here's some of the things we're working on:

1. Crate time when we're home. Basically, she's in her crate for varying amounts of time, while we're home. We started out in seconds, now we're up to 30 minutes. If she's quiet at the end of the set time, she gets a treat (cut up hot dog) and we let her out.

2. Training and interaction with the husband while I'm home and leaving. He works with her on new tricks, keeping her focused on him while I'm in the kitchen, cleaning, and walking out the door. The goal is to keep her focused on him and learning, and ignore me walking out the door. We're not to the point where I can walk out the door without her running to me, but we're making progress.And she's learning new tricks, like dancing (she's almost 6 feet tall when standing on her back legs, so that's fun to watch!) and retrieving specific items.

3. Thundershirt. What's a thundershirt? It's basically a hug without the body. It wraps around the abdomen and velcros together, providing light pressure around the body. I have to say, I didn't think this would really work. So I put it to the test on July 2. There was a fireworks show right down the street from us. In years past, we've had to sedate her when there was a fireworks show nearby. But with the medication she's on, that was not an option this year. We put the shirt on her before the fireworks started.
During the fireworks, she actually laid on the couch, completely uninterested in all the loud noises. But then I started to wonder if it was the drugs or the shirt. So we took the shirt off. She immediately started pacing. Put the shirt back on, and she laid down.

While she's not exactly "cured" (and we know we'll deal with this all of her life), we've not had any more blanket fatalities or injuries. Thanks to everyone for all your comments/suggestions!

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Cranberry Morning said...

This is so interesting to me, for so many people do everything wrong with their dogs! (It's why I wrote a book). :-)

I would suggest that when doing the crate thing, give her bits of treat now and then while she is in the crate, rather than at the end. Otherwise, she thinks she's getting rewarded for getting out. The same thing applies to getting a dog to learn to 'STAY.' Feed little treats periodically while they are staying, then when you want to let her off the stay, just say OKAY and nothing more. My son was trying to teach STAY but did it the opposite way. Of course what the dog was learning was, 'when I break a STAY I get a treat.' wrong approach.

Good luck with everything. Dogs are such wonderful companions, if we could only teach their owners something! lol

Cranberry Morning said...

P.S. I wonder if they make a Thundershirt in size XXXL. Bridger is 124 pounds of tall German Shepherd!

ann said...

it sounds like you are making progress I am happy for you. it is hard to have a unhappy pet no matter what the problem.

Lana said...

I think my cat needs such therapy! She has been a bit naughty of late. Sigh..... if it's not the two legged kids, it's the four legged ones! Good luck and keep up the great work with your dog.