Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pam & Twix, New Gear, Anal Glands

Pam & Twix

Pam of Pam's Dog Academy in San Diego (AKA San Diego Pam) came all the way up to my neck of the woods to visit and have a doggie play day -- as much as Dolce would allow, anyway.  I was very proud of Dolce.  We walked with Twix, we played alongside each other, and he even took a little nap in his travel crate.  I was delighted with the progress we've made.  If Pam and I had gotten together when I first got Dolce and first noticed his reactivity, this would not have even come close to happening.  I was slightly disappointed Dolce didn't get to the point that he could play with Twix, but I got some valuable information about Dolce's reactivity.  He is not only worried about poodles and dogs with long hair, he's worried about males!  Thank goodness for learning opportunities.  Irvine Pam (who owns Lily) joined us later that afternoon, and Dolce was just as comfortable with Lily and Bella as ever.  However, Pam also brought a guest, Bailey, a 4-year old, male peekapom (pekingese x pomeranian).  Dolce reacted pretty badly to introductions with Bailey, even though trusted and beloved Irvine Pam was present.  The greeting streak has ended.

I wanted to thank Pam for a wonderful day together!  I admire her work in the purely positive training world, and hope that our schedules can align long enough for her to be my mentor as I embark on the dog training industry on my own!  I really want to compete with Dolce in dog sports, but taking group classes is unrealistic with his reactivity as it is.  She is an experienced competitor in a variety of venues, and a valuable resource.  I cannot thank her enough.

New Gear

I have lost Dolce's red Halti body harness.  I was relatively pleased with that harness, and am very saddened by its loss.  However, I have heard nothing but good things about the Sens-ation harness, and have ordered Dolce a green one.  We've been using a Halti head collar since watching this video by Dr. Sophia Yin when she worked with Podee, a dog who was dog-aggressive/reactive.  This has helped tremendously, and led to my breakthrough:  Dolce has to get treats until he is no longer worried about the trigger.  This has led to exponential progress in our training/counter-conditioning.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to Dolce's new theme color (which also happens to be my favorite color), green, instead of red, and I'll let you know how he likes it when it gets here!  Red is, as I said when I was little, the most festive color.  I also think it's associated with anger, aggression, etc.  Dogs also can't see red, only blue-green-yellow-black-gray-white.  I'm hoping green will be a new attitude for us both.  I doubt it, but we'll see!  This is along my same thought-processes that when we do finally conquer this reactivity stuff, Dolce might get a new name...

I'm also hoping to really focus on training Dolce to train.  I've been watching Emily Larlham's DVD set called 101 Ways to Think Outside the Box, courtesy of Tawzer Dog's rental program.  I am full of wonderful ideas how to go about motivating Dolce to work for food and toys, find the work itself reinforcing, and fill in our training gaps.  I love that girl!

Anal Glands

I've never had a dog who needed to have their anal glands expressed before.  I noticed a zit-looking growth on Dolce butt the other day, and didn't think much of it.  When it didn't go away, I did some googling, and discovered he probably had swollen (full) anal glands.  We went to the vet today to have that taken care of.  $28 later, he is empty, and it was confirmed his glands were quite full!  That must be SO uncomfortable.  I wonder if this is partially to blame for his less-than-perfect house-training and shy-pooper habits?  Anyway, does anyone know how often I should have this done?  Is there generally a schedule for this sort of thing?

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