Sunday, October 31, 2010

Quick update

Nothing much new around here. Crazy weather has gotten in the way of some training sessions, and I still haven't managed to set up my weekly Tisha sessions. I'd better do that before the weather gets really miserable. Two new items: there are new dog parks in the neighborhood! I worked with the Eastside Dog Park coalition for a few years, and we finally won! Very exciting, and also gives me a new, closer place to bring Dottie for controlled training (i.e. we can wander around the outside of the dog park and control distance and practice BAT).

The other thing: Justin berated me for staring at triggers too much and therefore calling attention to them. Interesting idea. Today on our jog I practiced not looking at all at dogs behind fences or people out and about, except in my peripheral vision to keep track. Gustav did not bark and lunge at anyone. On the other hand, I don't really know if he tensed up a lot or not because I was just looking forward. Also, an off leash dog came up near up and instigated a pretty fierce stare-fight but was too intimidated to come all the way up to us. Dottie barked a few times, and Gustav did not bark and lunge at all, he just stood stock still and stared the dog down. Pretty interesting. Then the owner came up and got him and we all went on our way. So, while my dogs were not exactly relaxed and happy, then did not go totally crazy and the other dog was smart enough not to come up and start a fight. All in all, I was pleased with the jog. The only downside of ignoring triggers is that I am losing a training opportunity, in that I usually stop and do look-at-that or a tiny BAT set-up. Do you think Gustav learns anything one way or the other by just staring but moving past without incident? I'm not sure. But at least he didn't have any bark/lunge fests.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I have been SO BUSY. I haven't had a moment to update here. Briefly, I finished Reactive Rover with Gustav, been doing weekly BAT/mat/etc work with Nancy and Vanya (what a find! I'm so glad I finally found a committed dog owner to work with. And we're both helping one another out, I don't feel like I am incurring a huge debt with someone by taking up their time.), and jogging, walking, and so on. I have been incredibly busy with school, but mostly sticking to my one-big-formal-session a week plan plus the usual day-to-day stuff. Now that Reactive Rover is over I plan to set up a weekly or every-other-weekly session with Tisha to continue BAT with Gustav. On the off weeks I can maybe drive Dottie over to the dog park and do some BAT, assuming Justin is home or I get a little farther on my completely stalled separation anxiety treatment with Gustav.

Other big news: we started Gustav on Prozac this week. This news has sort of freaked out or disappointed some friends of mine, but I think they've mulled it over and realized it's not such a crazy decision since they've watched me work with dog for two years and honestly, not a whole lot has changed. In fact, he's still worse than when we first got him (to think: we used to go to the dog park and let strangers pet him and have parties at our house with people out and dogs visiting!!) but perhaps not as bad as his worst. It's really discouraging. Chelse just said that she didn't want to pressure me, but that every time she saw Gustav "prozac" popped into her mind. So why not. We're giving it a 3-month trial. I just can't ignore an option that could make my dog lead a more balanced and happy life.

Okay! Busy busy busy! I have work to do. And dogs to jog. I'll keep you all updated on Gustav's entry into the 21st century of SSRIs. Who knew I'd ever be here? Sigh.