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What the Behaviorist thinks!

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  • What the Behaviorist thinks!

    We had our behaviourist today! It was interesting... Peach was a VERY good girl, walked so nicely on our walk. BUT, while I thought Peach was very nicely mannered and walked on a loose leash and didn't spook at much, the behaviourist thought Peach was over threshold the moment we stepped out the door. She sees ears back, lip licking, horizon scanning constantly, even when she is walking quietly beside me in a loose leash heel. We only saw one dog, which we set her up to react to, just so she could see it. She thinks definitely a fear response. For a long time I thought it was more frustrated greeting, because she CAN play with dogs and is generally dog social when she's off leash, as long as the other dog is also social. Peach reacted from a pretty good distance back, and the behaviourist doesn't think she's ready to start doing "Look at that" with dogs yet, she wants us to continue avoiding dog sightings as much as possible and working on building overall confidence when she's out. She wants me to relax a LOT lol, and be less busy with my hands (apparently I slide my hand up and down the leash a lot, and she thinks Peach is concerned with it), and gave us a few exercises to work on to get us started. Very interesting to have an experienced "eye on the ground"-- a lot of what Peach does I've come to think of as normal for her, but it's good to have a reminder that normal for Peach is not normal for all dogs. We'll be doing more follow up for sure. She's about an hour and a half away, kind of a pain to drive to, but she said she can come to us when she has time in her schedule, and it's looking like there are a couple of dogs and owners I know that are quite interested in having some sessions with this lady as well, so maybe we can coordinate and make it worth her while more to come and do several sessions in one trip into town.

    Other than that, she thought Peach was just perfectly lovely, not nearly as bad as she expected, and she said I was doing a great job with her and that Peach was lucky to have such a good home. So glad we found her. We were talking to our vet about it yesterday and our vet didn't think she knew her, then she was like, "wait, any relation to doctor Margaret?" And I was like "Yes, she IS doctor Margaret!" And our vet was like OHHHH THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING. Hahaha. So far everyone I've talked to about this behaviourist has been very happy to hear we found her. AND our pet insurance company will cover behavioural training-- how cool and progressive is that?! Paws crossed we can get this anxious girl sorted!
    sigpic

    Peach, merle Great Dane
    Born July 7 2014
    Peach & Emily!

  • #2
    Glad you found someone who sounds like a great fit! And wow - that's amazing insurance covers it, too!
    -Lisa (Zoomer's mom)

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    • #3
      Glad to hear things are going well. So cool about insurance. Do you mind me asking what insurance you have?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tmwalsh88 View Post
        Glad to hear things are going well. So cool about insurance. Do you mind me asking what insurance you have?
        We're with Pet Plan (Canada). I really can't say enough good things about it, they have covered *everything* we have submitted, no questions asked. Full inspection and a bunch of tests only to determine she was rapid heat cycling and back in heat? Covered. Full check up, CBC, fecal analysis, urinalysis, EKG and thyroid panel, only to find the dog kept herself chronically dehydrated? Covered. Multiple chiropractic visits for sore back? Covered. But I was really blown away that they would cover behavioural training. I fully expected them to tell me no, but that they would cover meds, but nope!
        sigpic

        Peach, merle Great Dane
        Born July 7 2014
        Peach & Emily!

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        • #5
          Congratulations! That's great news. You really are doing a superior job of helping Peach become the very best dog she can be. It will be great to have some techniques to help her relax on her home grounds.
          sigpicLisa
          Missing Mira (7/15/03-12/17/13)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rootlis View Post
            Congratulations! That's great news. You really are doing a superior job of helping Peach become the very best dog she can be. It will be great to have some techniques to help her relax on her home grounds.
            Thank you, I really appreciate the words of encouragement! She's a great dog, really. She's so worth putting the effort into. The behaviourist was really blown away by what a perfectly lovely dog Peach is-- mild mannered, sweet, affectionate, goofy-- but as soon as she steps out the door she's a different dog. Still mild mannered and pleasant enough to walk with, but I want so much to see her confidence and happiness restored when she's out and about.

            It's going to be tough though! I took her for a 15 minute walk in our neighbourhood, that I thought would be pretty quiet and low stress for her. Well she stopped and had a panic/freeze up attack across the street from a house where a car had just pulled into the driveway. A lady got out of the car, squealed when she she Peach (frozen in fear) standing on the sidewalk. Then she went into her house and I thought oh good, I can work on unfreezing this puppy, and proceeded to throw cookies on the ground like our Lady instructed us to. WELL! Doesn't the lady in her house come back out with a Great Dane, yelling "I have one too!!! See?!?" And I'm like "oh wow that's great but mine is very fearful please don't come over here!!" , shoved a big handful of cookies in Peach's face and booked it outta there. Day one. LOL.
            sigpic

            Peach, merle Great Dane
            Born July 7 2014
            Peach & Emily!

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            • #7
              Emily, have you ever read Bringing Light To Shadow, A dog Trainers Diary by Pamela Dennison? It's a journal of how she took a young human-aggressive border collie rescue to his canine good citizenship over the course of almost 2 years. I have a copy that I probably won't read again and I'd be happy to send it to you if you PM me your street address.
              sigpicLisa
              Missing Mira (7/15/03-12/17/13)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Rootlis View Post
                Emily, have you ever read Bringing Light To Shadow, A dog Trainers Diary by Pamela Dennison? It's a journal of how she took a young human-aggressive border collie rescue to his canine good citizenship over the course of almost 2 years. I have a copy that I probably won't read again and I'd be happy to send it to you if you PM me your street address.
                I haven't, but it sounds really interesting, and I'm reading and watching anything I can get my hands on! Thank you, that is a really kind and generous offer, I'll pm you!!

                I tried something a little different last night, I fed Peach her entire Dinner out on our walk. She really loves her kibble, which is nice, and I basically just fed her a kibble every few steps. Extra when she saw people, or when traffic was loud. We saw one dog a few houses away, so I did the come to front exercise and praised her to the sky for that, then we turned and walked slowly in the other direction. I need to remember that, our behaviourist wants us to walk exaggeratedly slowly away from triggers so Peach doesn't feel like we're running from it. The walk was much better, we were both much more happy and relaxed by the end of it than usual. I might try to do that with one of her meals every day.
                sigpic

                Peach, merle Great Dane
                Born July 7 2014
                Peach & Emily!

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