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Some Extinguishing all reactivity plans:
1. Stinky treats for the reactive dog down the road every time we go by. Dog is gonna love to see us coming instead of worrying. I hope.

2. Get out the MM in the yard for beginning Replacement Behavior to fence rushing/barking. LAT and run away to reward so double reward.

More relaxed leash walking around other dogs to and from park today. And only one burst of alert barking at street sounds this morning quickly stopped with a trick request. Just now a mumble from where she lay on the livingroom rug in response to a dog barking outside. Didn't even lift her head.

So, hmmmm she just was needing me to be as alert as she was thinking she had to be because she felt I wasn't on top of the situation enough to keep her safe????



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 6th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
Not trialing today, so I can answer!!!

Or at least comment.

Let's look back a few months can we? Where has your head/heart been? You know. And I'm glad you shared it with us. Your life took a dramatic turn and you NEEDED to be in a place to deal with that,for yourself, for your family. It doesn't mean you neglected your dog. It just means your priority was dealing with this life change, and it was important. Could it be your dog is now coming to a place where she wants you back? And any attention is attention, even if it comes from a place of worry or reaction? She needs her partner back now. And if you're ready, this is a great time to let her know you're listening, and you're back now :)

When she huffs or barks, you gotta let her know you're listening. Tell her you heard it too, (even if you didn't) -- tho, If I don't hear it I generally say "Hmm, I don't hear anything,but I trust you did ;)"

Investigate stuff with her. If you're on an onleash walk and she really needs to check something out, tell her "let's go" and go with her to figure out what that noise or smell was. Good treats but also calm assurance that you'll handle things with her, FOR her. It makes so much difference. Maybe she's telling you these things now because she wants you back.

It's my feeling anyway. She's ready. Maybe you are too. It's going to ease back off gradually and you'll fall back into the simple communication you've enjoyed up until now. She wants that too. I swear.

Edited at 2014-04-06 06:10 pm (UTC)
Apr. 6th, 2014 06:25 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on that conversing with your dog on the issues of the moment. I am with you on it even though I've been told by a CU teacher NOT TO and criticized by an agility instructor for too much verbal input. I think even when they don't understand what you are saying yeah they get everything from the sound if your voice. And conversational when all Stel's bells are going off usually helps. Which I probably could use even more effectively at the start line when she's worried about the dog leaving the ring. Ok good. Another strategy for that!!
I like your interpretation of Stella wanting me back. Could totally be. And I have been on my way back. You are right. Thanks
Apr. 6th, 2014 06:31 pm (UTC)
I'm interested mostly in why/what a CU teacher was wanting when they asked you to not talk to your dog. You're a talker. I've never met you, but you seem naturally a person to verbalize things. When you mask or deny your natural tendencies it handicaps your energy flow and I believe a dog like Stel can feel that. Sure, if you're on an agility course and all the things you're saying, yelling, laughing are distracting your dog (oh boy I've been there!) I would try to curb my verbals to help NOT confuse my dog. But in a regular life situation, on a start line (prior to taking obstacles) WHY would talking with your dog be a bad thing? I wonder? I'd love to know because maybe there's something I'm not seeing. I feel natural conversation is just one of many ways to connect with your dog. Especially one that's having worry issues. What would your silence say? Is the instructor ONLY wanting you to reward taught behaviors? And save your "yes! or Good Girl!" for that? That seems ok. But when I'm on the line with my over excited dog, I hope that my coo-ing to him, or talking to him in a relaxed voice calms the whole situation for him. For a worried dog, your calmness is their life-line. If your calmness manifests itself in a discussion with her, I can't see where that would detract. But I've never been one to poo-poo a learning opportunity.

So yeah, demanding behaviors with a stressed dog is not the talking I would recommend. But letting her know you're aware of her issues, her thoughts and her feelings just can't be bad. Can it?
Apr. 6th, 2014 07:12 pm (UTC)
With the CU instructor it was just a casual comment, she was staying over with us while giving a seminar and she'd been doing some work with us in the yard on Matilda and Stella's relationship... and that part was over and I forget exactly what it was, probably something like me asking Stella if she was ready to go inside because she was standing on the steps or something innocuous like that... and she asked me why I was talking to her like that, "she doesn't understand what you are saying" which has stayed with me. Mainly because I disagree.
I know CU and its effectiveness, the games, is a lot of nonverbal stuff---Its yer choice etc would not have the power it has if you were talking the dog through it

At agility camp last year I was put into the Silvia Trkman category of using your voice to maintain connection with your dog on course... which seemed to be accepted but dissed at the same time with this particular crew... and the instructor who essentially was telling me to give the obstacle verbal and then shut up, said she understood I was trying to keep up Stel's enthusiasm, but no. just no. and so I was quiet in that class and go ahead and carry on at a trial because it does seem to cut through Stel's case of nerves... especially in the weaves...
Apr. 6th, 2014 09:41 pm (UTC)
I DISAGREE TOO!!! (to Stel not understanding what you were saying) OF COURSE she did!!! We talk to our dogs all the time, and through that communication, verbal and visual and even emotional I BELIEVE we create a language. I have to believe this. And I read about it all the time when I read "experts"

So yeah, maybe she was just being off the cuff, or maybe she was tired and cranky or maybe it was something else. But I'm sorry that stuck with you. Because I think YOU are right. She certainly DOES know what you're saying. She does.
Apr. 7th, 2014 04:16 pm (UTC)
I had forgotten that comment about "talking to your dog". I think talking to your dog is a good thing, too.
Apr. 6th, 2014 09:27 pm (UTC)
Full disclosure: I work for her... but I've seen this video and it's really, really good. I like it better then CU. http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/a-workshop-for-reactive-dogs
Apr. 6th, 2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
oh yes, I've heard of her. thanks.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )