Greetings And Happy Holidays!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Leaf Hunter, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. Leaf Hunter Active Member

    Hi everyone. I'm here with my best friend Izzie, a seven month old pup. I joined here looking for ideas on new games to play with my pup and for tips on how to better communicate with my fur-buddy.

    I adopted my puppy when she was eight weeks old during a Petco Adoption Drive. The story I was told was she was was placed in a cardboard box, along with her twin sister, and abandoned in front of a vet's office. The vet contacted a local non-profit rescue group, she spent a week with her foster parents, until I found her and promised her a forever home.

    I've never adopted a puppy before and as my luck would have it she has horrible case of Separation Anxiety and an extreme fear of crates, but that's okay. We're making progress one day at a time and she has her whole life to over come her fears. One advantage of her having SA is that she has one heck of a recall. :)

    I've been watching hours upon hours of video on youtube and elsewhere from DogStarDaily by Dr. Ian Dunbar, KikoPup by Emily Larlham, and Inside Out Dog Training by Jason Ray.

    I signed up to TawzerDog's video rental program and ordered everything by Emily. If anyone here has used TawzerDog.com's DVD rental service and has suggestions on what to rent, I'd love to hear from you!!! I'm still learning which trainers to trust and which to run away from.

    All the dog trainers that I've spoken to (over a dozen so far) in my area seem to prefer old school methods or take the "balanced" approach. However with my pup, I really only want to use positive only methods. Since I can't find any local trainers that I like, I'm also on the lookout for trainers who remote consultations via Skype or Google Chat.

    Never in my wildest dreams would I think I'd need to invest this much time into dog training, but it is what it is and I love my pup. Luckily, training is fun and overall she's a fantastic friend. My biggest problem is not "training her" but rather, it's my understanding what is realistic for her to learn and do.
    Dogster likes this.

  2. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Hi and welcome!! Wow - you're just the kind of person we LOVE to have on the forum!! Congrats on your pup, and kudos to you for your total commitment. I learned something from you, I didn't know Tawzer had a rental program, that's good news! Tawzer does excellent videos, so anything you're getting from them is all good.

    Where are you - maybe someone here can help you find someone locally? There are loads of really talented people on this forum who can help with just everyday 'life' suggestions. I hope you stick around (so many give intro's and are never heard from again) - I think you'll have lots of fun and also have lots to contribute.

    The videos you've been watching are all excellent. If you peruse some threads we've got on here, we have a few discussing some of our favorite books/dvds - take a look and you may find a few more you'd like to pick up. I can go back and try to find that thread, can't remember right off where it is, but will look and post.

    I think several of us found ourselves immersed in dog training because of a 'special dog'. I've had dogs my whole life, always done basics - and now 8 yrs ago, adopted a very reactive German Shepherd and had to find a way to calm those fears and make the world outside a good place for her. You're right - it is what it is, and you have to meet them where they are. The journey with my girl has taught me more about dog training, dog body language, dog relationships, love, trust, myself ... and the list goes on .. than in all the years put together before her. I wouldn't trade this journey for the world. My bet - you'll make the same statement.

    Have fun, and again, welcome!
    Dogster likes this.
  3. Leaf Hunter Active Member

    Thanks. I'm in Southern California, in the Inland Empire area. I'm always on the look out for a good positive trainer. The tricky part for me is finding one who is good at behavior modification and reactivity, especially in the areas of Separation Anxiety.

    One trainers advice on Separation Anxiety sounded good, but just didn't work in my case and she didn't have alternative methods to try. This is why I joined these forums. I'm hoping that if I can't think of a good way to do something, someone else can.

    For example, I was told by a professional trainer to feed my dog early in the morning, wait till she poops and pees, then go on a 45 minute walk, come back and crate her for 2 hours. I was told to do this a few times and this would 'cure it.'

    So I fed her a light meal and waited till she did her business like the trainer suggested. I actually walked her for an hour then played fetch for 30 minutes. When I got back I put her in a the crate and tossed in my sweaty t-shirt and a along a Kong filled with her favorite treats (seen that on TV show), turned on my computer and played relaxing piano music (tip I got from a youtube video). When I came back my pup was all wet (sweaty paws and belly), was sitting in poop, and the neighbors said she barked and cried non-stop for the whole 2 hours and didn't stop until I pulled up in the drive way.

    I tried this about three times and each time was the same so I stopped. Now I drop her off with family when I can't watch her and at night when she should be created I just let her sleep with me in my bed.

    Before I couldn't even leave the room to use the restroom without her freaking out, but I started doing training sessions using the "300 Peck Method" that I just happened to discover randomly through a Google News Alert. With this method I put her in an auto harness, hook her leash to my fence, I then walk one step away, click, and come back. I repeat but do 2 steps, click, and come back. I keep going and anytime she "fails" I start back over from step 1.

    At around 20 steps she would get a panic attack, but she could still see me, so I would just wait it out (usually 30-60 seconds), click when she's calm, and return. In just a few sessions I've been able to go 200 feet away and even hide behind a car out of sight for a good 30 seconds. This in turn helped a lot when I started teaching down-stay in the house.

    I'm working on crate training separately, but the end goal is to not have to use the crate. The only point of the crate is when I leave I don't want her to destroy my carpet. I'm still not at the point where I can leave for more then a minute, but going from instant panic to being able to wait a few minutes is an improvement. I didn't see any improvements with crating and leaving, but I am seeing improvements (albeit tiny baby step improvements) with this 300 peck method.
  4. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Since your situation seems to be so extreme, I'd suggest the help of a Cert Vet Behaviorist (altho different from yours, I had an extreme situation with my boy, and sought the help of a vet behav at the suggestion of my trainer - who's wonderful - and it made all the difference). I'm now on the central coast of Ca, but used to live in LA. I've just attached two links to two Cert Vet Behav in So Cal - looks like both do house calls which would be ideal in your case as they often like to observe the entire situation - not only behavior (and they may not want to see your pup upset, but would like to see living situation, etc). They may even suggest meds while doing behav modification, which would then be reduced as the behavior changes, certainly not a lifetime thing. I'd encourage you to seek their help, as you may see improvement in leaps rather than only the tiniest of steps.

    http://petbehavior.org/

    http://www.vcaspecialtyvets.com/west-los-angeles/departments-doctors/doctors/karen-sueda/10261

    I used to deal with the VCA hospital with which Dr. Sueda is affiliated (the 2nd link), and know they have an excellent reputation for having the best vets on staff!! If I had to choose or recommend just based on that, she'd be my first choice only going on that affiliation - and it looks like she does house-calls to your area. I know she won't be cheap - nor was the one who helped us, but in our case, it was only one visit, lasted a couple hours, and worth every penny. I hope this helps.
    Dogster likes this.
  5. Leaf Hunter Active Member

    Thank you so much! Yeah I figured training wouldn't be cheap, especially if the people truly know what they're doing.
  6. Dogster Honored Member

    Welcome to DTA!!!:) Izzie looks like a cutie!!!!! We'd love to see some more pictures of her!!!

    Shivon also had seperation anxiety and fear of cages/crates. I found that her seperation anxiety got better (and dissappeared later on!) when I stopped putting her in a crate. If she can't get used to the crate, you can try leaving her alone for 5 minutes, and see what she does. You can gradually increase the time, if she behaves by herself.
  7. Gracegeorgina Experienced Member

    Welcome! You should be proud, you have obviously been trying extremely hard to help Izzie feel secure. She is gorgeous!
  8. Leaf Hunter Active Member

    Training overall is going great. She actually knows a lot of commands like Sit, Down, Stand, Wait, Stay, Look at me, Roll over, Catch, Touch an object I'm pointing to, give me paw (left) and other one (right paw), dog pile (jump on my belly when I'm laying down), close the door, drop it, take it, tug, and double high-five. And I'm always working on new tricks to keep her mind busy.

    She will snatch food from kids and does jump up when greeting new people, so those are two things I need to work on.

    I did take her to my vet who suggested I try giving her benadryl, but I'm resisting that for the moment. Truth be told, I don't have 100% confidence in my vet. I may take jackienmutts advice and get a consult from one of those vets. Or at least a vet that has more working knowledge on SA. Plus I've only recently learned about the 300 peck method, so I think it's worth giving it more time before putting her on drugs.

    Last weekend I thought I had a break through moment. I was visiting my family in another state. I noticed my pup was excited to roam around and for the first time wasn't glued to my leg. She was playing with another dog that was the same age and weight as her. Actually it was sort of fighting. The other dog was really bothering her, nipping at her ears and what not, but most importantly it gave me a moment to see if she could be alone without people if she didn't know I wasn't in the house. I waited until she ran outside to potty, then I ran out the side door and waited. She noticed I was gone, started to whimper , but then the other dog started bothering her, which caused her to forget about me, and all of a sudden she was good. I had her alone for five minutes and she didn't have a panic attack.

    I tried it again, but allowed her to see me, hoping maybe just having another dog in the room was enough, but nope. Once she seen me leave it was full on panic attack. At least I have a window. I know what the trigger is so hopefully I can work desensitizing her to me leaving and that will cure it. Right now she doesn't react to me putting on shoes or grabbing my keys, so I'm lucky in that respect. Its only seeing me leave the room that gets a reaction.
  9. jackienmutts Honored Member

    You've really done a lot of training with her - good for you!! As far as her jumping and snatching food from kids, she's still a puppy, so that's to be expected :confused::LOL: but I have no doubt that you'll keep working with her and she'll mature into a lovely young lady.

    A behaviorist could most likely use the fact that she can be distracted by another dog, and find a way to work with that somehow involving you. There's another member, Fickla, who has a dog who went thru pretty severe SA also - she was absent from the forum for quite a while, but has been on lately. We'll try to steer her to you, she may have some ideas for you. She worked really deligently and patiently with her one dog - her comings and goings were 30 secs, then 1 min, then 2 min, then 30 secs - varying, and working up in length of time. If anyone could relate to what you're going thru, it would be her. It seemed she also didn't use a crate, I think she blocked him in the kitchen or someplace, as he also didn't like crates (and she's a trainer).

    Back to the behaviorist - again, my situation was different than yours, but I was at my wit's end with my boy and our trainer suggested I call Dr. Porte (who's in our area up here). We had a long conversation on the phone, then set up a house-call. She came armed with all kinds of suggestions for me - I was almost overwhelmed with all her ideas, some which we implemented right there on the spot. She spent, as I recall, about 2-1/2 hours with us - and it was the best thing I ever did. Our issues didn't end there - far from it. But a solution to our issues began there - and I felt really hopeful when she left. I knew I could call her when she left, but as it turned out, I didn't have to. We had lots of work and exercises to do, but plowed thru. It took time, but I saw progress - some days more than others - but we kept at it, and then things started getting much better, and I knew eventually it was all gonna be ok - and it was. It sounds like you've got a really extreme case - possibly more than you can deal with just trying it alone. I feel for you, because watching a dog panic is just so hard. Your vet suggesting benadryl sounds a bit antiquated (to say the least). If a behaviorist did suggest meds, it may really help your girl during the modification process - most behaviorists don't want dogs on meds forever, they truly only want them to help dogs (or cats, or ?) over a hump while they learn new behaviors/to cope differently while they learn to enjoy their lives.

    So - what kind of dog is Izzie? (besides a cute one) :)
    Dogster likes this.
  10. Leaf Hunter Active Member

    She's a beagle x shepherd mix.

    Funny story though... when I adopted her, the lady running the rescue group told me she thought she was a GSD. After I found this out, I actually became a little scared of her.

    I thought German Shepherds were no different then Pit Bulls and Rotts. I considered them to be dangerous breeds prone to turning on their owners. I know better now, but being scared of her is what convinced me to learn about dogs and enroll in a training class.

    Now I look at her and laugh. How could I ever be scared of her?! Anytime someone walks up to her she wags her tail, shakes her butt, and rolls on her back for belly rubs. Shes one of the most submissive pups I've ever seen and I love her to death.

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