Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dog Wisdom - Rocky - A Wrinkle In Time

I need a signal of first response to stress - something the family can pick up on too!

Rocky's entrance on week two was quite different from the previous Thursday, my CGC students still wanted to stay and support this effort. First to learn from the experience, second to have the opportunity to work on skills and friendships. Rocky saw me and wagged his tail. He sat as he came in, we returned to the weaving course and played "follow the trainer." The father now clicking at moments of calm control and was now able to walk in aisles with me coming up to say hello.

We moved to a quiet area 25 feet from my neutral dog families. Rocky's stress level increased and I realized the first sign was a subtle wrinkling on the top of his head. If his head muscles drew tight - we were already to level two. Rocky was showing us his first level reaction by the subtle pulsing. Having access to a quiet signal from the top down was valuable for the family. We worked to create the calm before the brain storm. This time I took Rocky for his walk - 20 feet from the neutral dogs (in a penned area) - the method of walking was the same as the weaves, but without the distraction object bowls. Within three rounds he was watching me and waiting for the click instead of reacting. I was beginning to get a relaxtion response. I handed the lead to the father and we played "follow the trainer" around the same paths, by now the CGC canines were playing in their area and ignoring the activity. We always ended in our safe quiet place - sometimes working on sits, downs and lots of relaxtion clicks and treats.

Mom, asked to handle Rocky and we played the first "follow the trainer" and then she walked alone. Note the first timing of the game is fast and as we work toward relaxtion we mix up the walk timing - slower, normal, fast. By now Rocky is walking quickly 12 feet from the other dogs (behind penned area). We end the stress work and move back to the fun weave game in the back of the training area.

Rocky leaves with no reheasals. We have had 8 outbursts.

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