Posted in canine health, canine wellbeing, dog health, dog training, dogs, motivation, positive mindset, positive psychology, positive thinking, Uncategorized

Jesse , the adorable dog

Over 14 million hits on You Tube and counting. Jesse is adorable. We all want a Jesse and we all watch marvelling at how well trained he is. He loves being busy. He is such a happy dog. Heather , his owner, has trained him with love, patience and a plan. Seems to me to be an excellent way of approaching anything in life – love, patience and a plan. The results are extraordinary and we  all love Jesse.

Posted in canine anxiety, canine health, canine wellbeing, pet harness, South Australia, step-through harness

Snow’s step-through harness

We’ve moved on. My badly abused dog from the RSPCA 2012 is now in a step-through harness and it is working well. In the video she is out in front of me but when I first used the harness she took to walking right next to me without even thinking. We have been through the Thundershirt  which my vet recommended and that was so worth it. It took me nearly a year to get her totally settled in her walking and the Thundershirt certainly contributed in a big way to that. She used to jump, be very nervous and launch herself at cars and trucks which is why I had the chain leash to start with. I did not want her slipping out of her collar at all. The harness matches her leash and there is a good video here about how to put them on. I confess she jumped around like a Mexican jumping bean and I had to coax and talk to her a lot to get it on. She is fearful and suspicious of anything new and she knows now I don’t hurt her or allow her to be hurt. It’s just that she hasn’t had a proper life and so doesn’t know what to do when something new happens other than to be highly nervous ,worried and ridiculously wiggly. We have got through it , though. Each day is easier because walking is high on her list of priorities.

So now, with the step-through harness which she seems to really love, we have really good walks and she is totally happy to have it You can see she is relaxed. Now, in this second year with me I am working on the notion we can just have a nice walk and not have to worry about cars, trucks or anything else. As a by the by, you can see how dry our state is. This is South Australia and it isn’t really into the full swing of summer. We are already dried up and dusty, so we do a mix of pavement and off road walking because those grass seeds can be quite nasty in their paws and coats. She did well to sit while I took the photos!

Posted in canine anxiety, canine health, canine wellbeing, dog training, happy dog, Thundershirt

Thundershirts are go!

I last blogged about the Thundershirt here. We have since had quite a number of regular and very happy walks. My dog has been totally in control and able to just have a nice walk. She has walked to heel , been calm and I realise she has had a chance to process information and so is no longer tormented with the fear and worry of what would be coming at her next. I thought it might be good today to take her for a walk without her Thundershirt. I wanted to know if the change was permanent or just brought about by the Thundershirt. As you can see she was walking quite calmly but was getting the old tendency of pulling out ahead of me. On the way back, as the 4WDs were coming at us on our side of the road , she was changing into that working dog behaviour again. Eying them. Watching them and sizing them up and her muscles were changing and she was getting ready to lie low so she could pounce. It didn’t get that far, but it was all coming back to her. There had been none of that with the Thundershirt. To give you a rough idea , I’d say our walks before the Thundershirt were about 40% good behaviour. With the Thundershirt they were 100%. I had a totally calm dog who was walking perfectly to heel. Today, I’d say it was 80% good behaviour. She was a bit hyper, she was a bit nervous of the noises of cars, she was going to get back into the launching herself at cars. She was able to change, though , if I said something but before she couldn’t. She was able to calm down if I praised her and she was able to walk to heel if I asked. What she was not able to stop was the sizing up of the vehicles and the need to be ready to defend herself/pounce whatever it was in her head. My decision is not to pursue this again for another month. I am just going to put the Thundershirt on her. In a month I’ll try again without it. I had taken it with me today just incase. The fact I felt no need to get it out of my bag and use it tells me she actually did really well. I just need to avoid any difficult behaviour coming back – so Thundershirts are go!
Posted in canine anxiety, canine health, canine wellbeing, Thundershirt

Thundershirts are go!

Success! I got her out on her walk in her Thundershirt last week and we went out again today. In between the weather has been too hot or I have not been home early enough from work. This has taken from since just before Christmas so it’s been a while but so worth it. You can read the other Thundershirt adventures here. The difference was remarkable. We can now practise safe walking. No more stressing over car noises. No more pumping adrenalin. No more launching herself at cars and having to be pulled back. No more anxiety about  being “under attack”. She has always liked to go out for a walk but she has paid a price in exhaustion after and I have had sore arms if she has had to be held firmly or back to stop her from diving into cars. She now hears the cars, looks behind her and then thinks – oh, that’s a car. She walks comfortably and happily and in a really sedate way. The training I have tried to put in place to keep her road safe has obviously stuck and she can use it. She sat for the first car we saw, as you can see in the picture. If she was herding and hunting cars I would ask her to sit, just to calm her a bit. Sometimes she’d go in working dog mode and size the cars up as she lay there. Now she is like a normal dog. She is still my dog. She still needs a bit of leash training but basically she walks at my side now and sits at every curb. The difference when we get home is noticeable. I do not have to make her rest for half an hour to get over the adrenalin surge and full on stress. She now has 10 minutes of wandering and a drink and then usually wants to go into the garden to play. Her new Christmas present was the best thing I could have got her for her health and well being. She is a happy walking doggie now and no longer a danger to herself and others because of her being so easily startled and so jumpy and then the  added complication of being a working dog  breed.
Posted in canine anxiety, canine health, dog training, panicky dog, Thundershirt

Thundershirts are go!

I blogged about the trials and tribulations of actually getting the Thundershirt on my dog here. The velcro noise was very offputting for her and when I was trying to take the coat  off then the ripping velcro was making her very jumpy ,anxious and panicky. I have worked through all of that and been careful to reassure her every step of the way. She’s a dog from the RSPCA who seems to have been very badly abused. Every strange noise has sent her into a spin. I have worked through most of them but I didn’t want her jumping at cars as we walked. The weather is very hot here in summer so I didn’t think wearing the coat on a walk would be a good idea. Since I had to battle the first part of actually getting the coat on her, I have decided the best plan of action is to put the coat on her when we get back from our walk while I still have the leash on her and then say we are having quiet time. Normally she has needed to rest after a walk because she has been so hyper she must have been pumping a lot of adrenalin and so resting has been part of the healing for her. I have found since I put the coat on her after the walk that she is calmer. She rests, she relaxes then she goes about her business in a much calmer fashion for the rest of the day. She was even going to trot off with her coat on to go outside so that was a good sign. It may seem back to front the way this is working, but I am not complaining. I needed to get her less worried about everything. So far so good. When we go walking she has been much better even without the coat. I plan to put it on her when it’s cooler. I think it’s because the shear fact we have had to work through a lot to get the coat on and then worked on it some more for her to wear it, it has been an important step in trusting relationships for her.
Posted in canine anxiety, canine health, happy dog, Thundershirt

Thundershirts are go!

 Day One: Can’t even get the special, very clever,  anti-anxiety coat on my dog…she got even more stressed out than ever. So now it’s a nice biscuit plate for her until I think of Plan B.
 Day Two :So we’ve progressed. She eats the biscuits. lets me drape the special, very clever , anti-anxiety coat over her like a cape, lies down, rolls over and off it comes! The special, very clever , anti-anxiety coat aka biscuit plate Plan B isn’t very good. Looking for Plan C.
Day Three : Plan C had some merit.First play unsolicited game of tug o war hoping like anything she doesn’t tear the special, very clever , anti-anxiety coat. Feed copious amounts of little biscuits on biscuit plate and then by hand to keep occupied. Quickly fasten the front flaps of the the special, very clever , anti-anxiety coat . Feed more little biscuits, pat, praise, get slobbered all over , play bitten and licked ,and, as she plays rollie pollies try and fasten the under flaps…After maybe 10 attempts, lots of licking , jumping around, rolling and pretend arm biting I finally got the flaps together. So then she rolled on her back brought her back feet up to her front feet , let her fat little bellie pop the flaps open and twirled as fast as anything to sit nicely in her Caped Crusader cape with her cute face on and expected more biscuits. Plan D had better be a goodie.
Day Four: Plan D was a winner. Go outside and feed copious amounts of little biscuits by hand to keep occupied. Quickly fasten the front flaps of the special, very clever , anti-anxiety coat . Feed more little biscuits, pat and praise. Let her wander around for a while as the Caped Crusader with her cute face on and feed more biscuits. Fasten the under flaps as best I could and feed more biscuits and bring her indoors. Let her wander around with her new special, very clever , anti-anxiety coat and take Facebook poses.

Now it’s a matter of tweaking the plan and buying more biscuits.