Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pshhh.. Calm. HAH!

Day two I didn't do too much. I was regularly tossing treats down for laying calmly, standing and not whining, sitting calmly, etc. All while just sitting at the laptop. It helps. A little. Day three. I tried a session tonight with Zen. Not sure if I want to look at the footage or just delete it. It was 40 minutes long. The first 10-15 consisted of him barking, whining, offering behaviors, and pacing. There were moments where he would offer a calming signal, or appear to be ignoring me, but each time I treated he started offering behaviors again. This will be a long road. I'm hoping I'm on the right track and that was some extinguishment burst or something. In order to get anything other than demanding behavior, I tried petting him and lots of rewarding of calming signals. (lip licking, soft eyes, etc) It didn't help that Rumor was right outside the bedroom door whining the WHOLE time. Then my husband came looking for me, so that stirred Zen up again. At least I got him to put Rumor outside for the rest of the session. I ended with a rub-down/massage and I feel like Zen needs to go back to the chiropractor. It's been a few weeks and a couple of agility trials and I think his back is tight again. I got the best results just rubbing his neck and shoulder area. Any lower and he was wiggly and restless. Tomorrow I'm going to Houston for a few days and Zen gets to come with. Hopefully I'll have some time to just bond and do some calm walks and possibly a session in my brother's house where I know it will be quiet and distraction free.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Project: Calm Day 1

I promised video. :)

New Dog, New Management, Frustrating Times

We adopted a new dog. Gus, a black-brown mutt-dog of unknown origin. He's as sweet as can be, but three medium sized dogs in a small sized house is a lot.

Zen is a pacer, Rumor is a guarder. Until now we have just managed them, or ignored the bad behavior with no real ill effects. Now I'm on a mission. I may fizzle out because I think these dogs have more willpower than I do, but I want to try. I dream of a life with dogs just lounging around on the floor. hah.

Last night I tried for the first time to reward "calm" in Zen. I basically layed on the floor for 30 minutes and ignored all his attempts to get me to give him treats. He whined, he paced, he ignored me, he layed down "at the ready". We got some good behavior in there, which was rewarded, which sent him into another few minutes of trying to figure out what he did to earn the treat. This will be a long, trying journey, but it will make him a better pet in the long run. If it doesn't kill me first.

I figure, if I document this it might keep me interested, at least it'll keep me honest. Heck, through my trials and tribulations I may help someone else.

My goal is to do one calming session per day. I'll be going back through all of my reactive dog books to get some tips and tricks that may be beneficial, but most of this will be winging it. Both Rumor and Zen have a "mat" behaviour as described in Leslie McDevitt's book "Control Unleashed". Our mat behavious is too demanding for me at this point. They are not relaxing on the mat. So I'm going to try getting a relax without the mat, and slowly transferring it.

Going to go do session one for the day. Depending on how long/boring the video is I may post a little.


Gus, 12-11-12