Chisum: Lessons in Reactivity - Page 3

Go Back   Dog Forum > Keeping and Caring for Dogs > Dog Training and Behavior

Chisum: Lessons in Reactivity

This is a discussion on Chisum: Lessons in Reactivity within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I think it's a good idea to have a break in training sessions. It gives Chisum a rest and it gives you a chance to ...

User Tag List

Like Tree76Likes

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-09-2015, 05:07 AM
  #21
Senior Member
 
dibbythedog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: London
Posts: 140
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)

I think it's a good idea to have a break in training sessions. It gives Chisum a rest and it gives you a chance to solidly shore up and reinforce behaviours in situations which you have been working on and move on to new.
leashedForLife likes this.
dibbythedog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2015, 11:41 AM
  #22
Senior Member
 
PoppyKenna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Kansas
Posts: 2,875
Mentioned: 715 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Well, I meant to update weekly but go busy and clearly have not.


I haven't had many opportunities to work on Chisum's reactivity, and I really need to get on that. I'm trying to find the perfect way to go about it - he's not really ready (nor am I) to just go to a regular park, and the lake we usually walk at, while perfectly set up, either is empty or has campers with a bunch of off-leash dogs. I thought about recruiting my friends to work on things but they're not really dog savvy and I'm not sure how willing or beneficial it would be. So I'll keep trying

One of my big focuses now is impulse control. I honestly think that it is one of Chisum's bigger problems - his reactivity is fear based, yes, but there are some situations where the fear is pretty much gone he's just too overstimulated and that causes problems too. He's a very excitable boy! I'm in the process now of going through the sticky on here and taking notes on exercises we can do; then I'll focus on generalizing those. We've done some basic stuff before, but it's hard for him to move past the session and use the skills in the "real world".

Other than that, just obedience work. He's got a really, really got sit and down, but I'm still working on transitioning between the two and making them more solid.

Overall, he's made some improvements and he actually catches onto things really quickly. We've had some instances where I was just sure he'd react to various things (namely, cars) and he was perfectly fine - a happy surprise!
leashedForLife likes this.
PoppyKenna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2015, 07:25 PM
  #23
Senior Member
 
PoppyKenna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Kansas
Posts: 2,875
Mentioned: 715 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Thanksgiving full of ups and downs!

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. We've had an eventful one, for sure.

My brother's girlfriend came, as well as my aunt and uncle. It sleeted terribly, so all were stranded at our house overnight, and will be tonight as well. Chisum loves my brother's girlfriend, but he's only met my aunt and uncle once (they live fairly far away) and it didn't go so well last year.

I tried to take it very slowly when they arrived, starting upstairs in the loft area so he could see them and get treats whenever they moved or made noise. I wanted him to be somewhat familiar of the situation before I moved him out to the guest house, as I figured he'd be spending some time there - then, I thought they were only at our house for lunch. Obviously plans changed.

Anyway, he did pretty well and then my mother took him downstairs. He was doing okay then too, but my uncle stood up to go into the kitchen and he had a massive meltdown. So, to the guest house we went. He stayed there over lunch and then we went back to grab him and try again.

Our house is an old farmhouse with an addition on the back, so we have two living rooms. When I brought Chisum back in the house, armed to the teeth with hot dogs, my mom and aunt were in one, and my uncle and everyone else were in the other - not ideal, but we worked with it. We started by hiding behind the bar in the room where my uncle was, so he could hear but not really see. He then got hot dog whenever my uncle spoke, or whenever he looked in his general direction (even though he couldn't see him), as well as whenever he sniffed the ground or air as he's very scent oriented and I knew he could definitely smell them.

After awhile we were able to get within sight of my uncle, then because Sophie was being kind of a stinker -- she looooooves my uncle and is constantly demanding he play with her -- we went into the other living room. Some minor meltdowns there, but nothing too bad. Then, Chisum wanted to back into the other room so we settled on the couch where he could pretty well see what was going on but could also sit in my lap and feel safe - that's been our homebase for some time

Now Chisum's at the point where he can be in the same room with them, and he can be fine. He gets very nervous when they get up to walk, especially my aunt as she walks with a cane, but I've been able to give treats and just speak to him calmly so far and he doesn't do more than growl. Overall, he's been very good - even better than Sophie, who is constantly barking for attention!

One major frustration I have with him is that there are times he really wants to interact with these strange people, but he can't handle it and I don't want to set him up for failure. He acts like he wants to go over for a sniff, but it's like once he does so his fears that these really are strange people are confirmed, and he loses it again (though he regains himself really quickly!). I'd have them toss - not hand - treats to him but they're not really dog people so I'm just working to keep Chisum feeling safe. Like I said, there are times he growls, even fewer times he starts to bark, and he's started a little shaking a few times, but talking calmly seems to really work, along with having him in my lap. I'd consider putting him somewhere, but he's honestly more stressed out being away and alone, so we're just working with what we've got here.

So, some wins and some losses. He's able to be less than three feet away from them so I'm happy with that. It's progress!
leashedForLife likes this.
PoppyKenna is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Old 11-28-2015, 09:32 AM
  #24
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 316
Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Just a thought, but when I've worked with dogs who are majorly conflicted (which a lot of reactive dogs are..."I want to sniff that SCARY STRANGER BARK BARK BARK!"), I sometimes ask the trigger/decoy person for their hat and gloves. Then I set the hat/gloves on the ground at a point to our left or right (just as far from the scary trigger as my dog is already, but several feet away from us, like two points in an equilateral triangle), and when the dog starts wanting to investigate the people, I redirect that impulse to the clothes. That way, the dog gets to practice satisfying her need to gather information without also putting herself over threshold, and we get to practice "polite greetings" with the clothes (allowing an approach only when the dog is exercising self-control, for instance) instead of clueless people.

Keep up the good work!
SnackRat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2015, 10:53 AM
  #25
Senior Member
 
PoppyKenna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Kansas
Posts: 2,875
Mentioned: 715 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Thanks, that's a good idea!

He sniffed their bags this morning without incident. They weren't present, but as he thinks bags are generally scary AND they smelled funny, it was a small win.

He's at the point now where we can sit on the same sectional couch, or at the dinner table, or even within 2 feet as long as they are sitting or standing still. He knows the LAT game really well, so even when I don't have food he'll look at them and back to me, wanting his treat

If they get up, he gets concerned, sometimes with a low growl but that's it. His biggest triggers seem to be "funny" walking (my aunt with her cane or my uncle when he's playing with Sophie), getting too close (which I am fighting to monitor, he is leashed), if they show up where he didn't expect them to (no surprise there), and if they talk to him when he's too close.

Overall, it's not too bad. It's really easy for me to get overwhelmed and expect too much of him but logically he's doing really well.
PoppyKenna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2016, 08:27 PM
  #26
Senior Member
 
PoppyKenna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Kansas
Posts: 2,875
Mentioned: 715 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Back with another (small) update.

When we were working with a trainer, we were doing BAT. Since the new version came out I gave it a read and so we're working on that with some success. It's still challenging to find those perfect set up situations, but we work with it and he does really well.

My biggest challenge with him right now is anxiety, I think. I don't know if I'm projecting but it's almost like I can feel the anxiety resonating off of him. I tried to explain to my mother once and her question was, "how do you know he's anxious?"...fair question, but one that's hard to answer. I just know if that makes sense. There's a lot of panting, pacing, whining, and just a feeling I get.

Anyway, since he's, IMO, a super anxious dog to start with, it's very, very easy to trigger stack with him. Something as simple as tying him up, even with me 5 feet away working on something where he can totally see me, is enough to put him in a bit of a state and increase his reactive level. So that's a challenge in itself.

Today, I got home from work and we had a visitor outside. Poor Chisum was in a nervous state because he'd been in his room during the day (which makes him anxious) and Sophie was carrying on barking at the stranger because she wanted to go outside and play with him (which stressed Chisum out more).

So, we played some calm LAT through the window and then I leashed him up and we decided to try some BAT stuff outside. Plus, I figured the fresh air would do him good. Thankfully, we have a very large yard that could accommodate us. I'd say we had between 75 - 125 ft between us and the stranger at all times. We started in the front yard while the stranger was up near the barn, and then we moved carefully (keeping good distance) to the barn when the stranger moved closer to the house. This was good because Chisum was able to smell where he'd been.

For the most part, Chisum did really well. I was pretty proud of him. He barked three times (just little barks) and huffed once. That's it. He did a LOT of watching and then disengaging which was awesome. He didn't react to the smell, which I expected him to. Overall, it was pretty great.

He did have some minor setbacks...he reacted to the calves which he tends to do (more of a frustration reaction) and later he reacted pretty intensely to my dad coming down the stairs inside long after the stranger had left (stranger had not gone into the house or I know he would have reacted to the smell). It was very clear that stress levels were high, even though I was very conservative with distance while we were working on BAT stuff and watched his body language very carefully.

So...small win. I really do like the BAT for him and he seems to do well, we just need to do more of it.
leashedForLife likes this.
PoppyKenna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2016, 12:55 PM
  #27
Senior Member
 
PoppyKenna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Kansas
Posts: 2,875
Mentioned: 715 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Okay, I have (some) news!

I have located a vet that, so far, seems great. My old vet wasn't willing to offer any insight on my boy's reactivity or even run bloodwork. There's a thread on it somewhere. In that thread I detail how I met with another vet who claimed to specialize in behavior cases, but wasn't pleased with her at all. She thought he needed medication, but her modification strategies I didn't agree with (if you want to know more, check out the thread).

So I started shopping for a new general vet. I live in a town with a vet school, so there are plenty to choose from. I chose one that had a lot of services to offer, are AAVA accredited, and seem great. They only have 3 stars regarding reviews, but I decided to give them a shot. The vet I've been speaking to has been so, so helpful. We decided to try visits where I CC him to the clinic, and if we were ever ready she'd come out and stand at a distance to work with him.

Short story....after a month we made no progress. Car rides cause him anxiety, town causes him anxiety, so we were set up for a loss before we even arrived.

I called back and let her know, and she offered a home visit (which wouldn't sit well either) so we decided to bring him in, have her sedate him at the car, and then bring him into the clinic for a full exam and bloodwork, after which point we'd discuss anxiety meds.

I have no idea if this is the awesome breakthrough I am hoping it is, but fingers crossed. I do strongly believe he needs a checkup at least and meds too. But we'll see.
leashedForLife likes this.
PoppyKenna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2016, 01:17 PM
  #28
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 161
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Mu current girl is reactive to humans. I use BAT a lot with her. She has been steadily improving, but with reactive dogs, progression doesn't always feel forward moving.

I recommend video taping many sessions with Chisum. With Pip, when I felt she plateaued late last year, I looked at two videos a month apart during the supposed plateau and actually found a vast improvement in her comfort levels. I had only seen "stress" and because I was so close to the problem and watched her slowly trust the world day by day, I didn't see that she had honestly made leaps and bounds regarding her stress-levels outside. She's improved even more now. All R+ methods, too!
leashedForLife likes this.
PipsMom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2016, 02:36 PM
  #29
Senior Member
 
PoppyKenna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Kansas
Posts: 2,875
Mentioned: 715 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by PipsMom View Post
Mu current girl is reactive to humans. I use BAT a lot with her. She has been steadily improving, but with reactive dogs, progression doesn't always feel forward moving.

I recommend video taping many sessions with Chisum. With Pip, when I felt she plateaued late last year, I looked at two videos a month apart during the supposed plateau and actually found a vast improvement in her comfort levels. I had only seen "stress" and because I was so close to the problem and watched her slowly trust the world day by day, I didn't see that she had honestly made leaps and bounds regarding her stress-levels outside. She's improved even more now. All R+ methods, too!
Video taping is a great idea, thanks! We use BAT a lot too and I'm really impressed with the 2.0 version.

I will see what the vet recommends regarding meds. The issue with Chisum is that his anxiety exists on a spectrum from upset to total meltdown, tending toward total meltdown. His list of triggers is also very extensive and sometimes surprising as well as hard to control (he's reactive to strange scents, of all things!).

I'm interested in seeing how his bloods turn out first and go from there.

He came from a hoarding situation where ALL the dogs had fear issues AND I think inbreeding was going on PLUS he was exposed to extreme stress levels from conception, so....I think he has a lot working against him. He's had fear issues since coming home at 8 weeks (many improved, some got worse, new ones popped up).
leashedForLife likes this.
PoppyKenna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2016, 03:27 PM
  #30
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 161
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Poor Chisum. I think medication sounds like it might be a good idea for him, but see what the vet says.

My girl, despite all her fears, has a pretty good temperament underneath it all. She has been getting better. My last dog was a genetic wreck temperament-wise, and we didn't see the improvement with him as with my new girl--but we did see improvement after awhile to the point where people didn't believe he was once reactive (never mind the lengths we went with management). I have a soft spot for fear-reactive dogs.

It does sound like your buddy has a lot going against him. I always recommend record keeping. I like taking videos and putting notes on them. I also have a blog. This thread you have up is a good way of record-keeping as well.
leashedForLife likes this.
PipsMom is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Chisum pictures :) PoppyKenna Dog Pictures and Videos 10 10-07-2016 05:22 PM
Chisum was pretty good today! PoppyKenna Dog Training and Behavior 0 09-29-2014 05:09 PM
What are the first lessons? Autumnwolf Dog Training and Behavior 11 01-14-2014 04:40 PM
Music Lessons HouseIsaZoo Dog Pictures and Videos 11 10-06-2013 05:09 PM


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.