Archive for October, 2010

Conversions

I finally have my normal life back, it is raining and I don’t even care. I’m not sure when it all started – a couple months ago or so -I have actually lost track of time – we have been going through a conversion at work, big fun. These changes of the great computer software has led to much overtime, 6 day work weeks, going in early, staying late, working short handed and as of last Saturday – was really starting to suck. I’m down for change as long as everything goes smooth and the new system is faster than our current system. Well…… I now see that I have a better chance of getting a well done steak, 2 seconds flat in hell. Enough said!

I was so excited to get my life back that I went to the dentist today and liked it. The husband and I took the dogs for a walk prior to the storm coming in. I was able to get the dogs in for a nail trimming at the vet. It has been a great day. It does not take much to make me happy as you can see.

Since it has been such a happy day I will share with you my relationship with Stella.

I have been looking again for a trainer/behaviorist to correct this very unpleasant behavior that Stella has. Her need to protect me. “Dog, are you kidding?” She is extremely reactive and protective of me and the husband but I am the main problem. The reality is that she is actually very fearful of everything, insecure and really does not want to do this job of protecting but due to some events in her life she had chosen not to move on and we didn’t give her the opportunity to do so.

The husband and I had taken her to a trainer once before and as we found out years later “we” had only been encouraging the reactive behavior. People, never ever pet your dog when it’s being reactive – This DOES NOT CALM THEM DOWN it reinforces the behavior. Never, pet your dog when it is fearful, you only encourage the fearful mindset. The husband and I figured that out years ago with Lena’s issues around fireworks and storms. Lena’s fear today is about 97% better than she was before. We should have applied the same principle to Stella but didn’t. Why, because we became very protective of her and were looking for a different way to correct this now baggage carrying dogs behavior. We screwed up.

My mom had been telling me about a certain behaviorist who has philosophies that the husband and I both agree with and understand. I purchased and read everything I could get my hands on. I was still having issues with her wanting to walk in front of me. That behavior drives me crazy because if I need to protect my dogs from other dogs while walking I need to put them behind me. I knew I was doing something very wrong because she did not get the communication I was sending to her that I wanted her by my side and not in front.

I went through the walking drills/boot camp with corrections etc and she still wanted to be out front and can we talk about soooo not paying attention to me. Well, I finally found the “how to” I was looking for. Placing the collar higher on her very strong neck and only giving her a couple inches of slack we finally had communication. Walking her last night and today, even with the husband present, was a complete 180 from 2 days ago. I also really waited out the dogs excitement today prior to the walk, which also mad a difference. The dogs are simply waited out until they calm down before I do anything with them, no excitement. They have to be calm.

So why is all of this so important, it is what you get in return. I said I took the dogs to vet today, well for the 1st time Stella did not bark/growl at other dogs and people. What was really amazing is that she let “A Man” pet her “A Stranger”. This is huge progress for her. She liked him, this guy had good energy and brought a positive experience to the table that she really needs. He approached her from the side and was not in her face. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve have witnessed, our dog being a dog at the vet of all places. For me this was the cherry on the whip cream when after their clipping, while I was paying the bill, these dogs just sat and waited for me to finish. The Tech could not believe they were not pulling me out the door. Stella even allowed the Tech to pet her – the bad people who cut her nails. I explained that we had been working on the “wait” command. I simply told them to “sit” and “wait” when they started pulling for the door and they did it. Holy Shit!

What a beautiful day!


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