'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Recap of Christmas.

Well... this post is a bit late, but I might be slightly addicted to Skyrim. Might be. And if that were the case, I might be spending all of my time on it. Maybe.

So for six days over Christmas, my friend, Hatter, was here. She's been here once before for a weekend, so I was anticipating being able to move past the 'just deal with the person being here' stage quite quickly. And we did just that. For the first day, we did some simple shaping (go see scary "new" person), and although there was quite a lot of vocalisation and worried stares, she settled easily and didn't freak out too bad.

I forgot to take notes at the end of each day as I'd intended, but over the course of the six days:
- Vocalisations and hard stares grew less frequent, to the point at which during the final few days she barely made a peep unless startled.
- She played fetch with Hatter quite a lot, indoors and outdoors--though didn't bring the ball back to her.
- She nudged her boomer ball to Hatter, several times over the course of several days, so that she would throw the ball again for her to attack.
- She licked the filling out of a hoof that my friend held, rather than taking the hoof away as I'd expected to do (day five?).
- She played tug with Hatter! She regripped it and dropped it a lot, and certainly didn't want to engage in her usual high state of excitement, but it happened, on the final two days.
- For the final three mornings, Lola woke up Hatter with facial licking and nipping (the excited way in which she used to wake up me, and the way in which she still wakes up my mum if I take her in to see her in the morning). The first time she did it was very tentative; and then by the time the final day swung around, my friend informed me that Lola had woken her up several times during the night by licking her face.
- Starting from maybe the third (?) day, Lola licked my friend's hands and arms several times a day.
- On the final two days, Lola (very cautiously) licked Hatter's face. AND she also went up to her to actually initiate (light, non-confrontational) petting. Awesome.

Some things I learned (and in some cases, was reminded of) about Lola's specific reactivity:
- Hands coming toward her are scary; hands that are already petting her are lickable.
- People returning from the bathroom/hallway/getting changed are suddenly a new Threat that needs to be barked at.
- Excitement can very quickly become reactivity: the arrival of a Favoured Person turns someone she is tolerating the presence of into a Threat.
- People that just show up in "her" bed when she doesn't expect them to be there are a horrifying Threat. Similarly, people that get out of "her" bed when she has forgotten they are there (after a night's sleep) are, again, a Threat.

By the way, guys... Happy New Years Eve


Sara said...

Well, you accomplished a lot, and learned a lot!

Happy New Year!

Bailey Be Good! said...

Hope you're enjoying your holiday! Have a very Happy New Year! :)

Woofs & hugs, <3

~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

Ricky the Sheltie said...

I think Lola did great!!! Happy New Year!

An English Shepherd said...

Happy New Year :-)

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