Lead stroking

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JudyN
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Lead stroking

Post by JudyN » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:05 pm

On 'Nightmare Pets SOS' this evening the dog trainer Sarah Fisher recommended 'lead stroking' for an anxious, overexcited, twirling, lunging terrier. It simply involved stroking up and down the lead, with the gentle vibration communicating down the lead to the dog and relaxing him. It certainly seemed to work, but given that the experts managed to fix this dog, an aggressive parrot and a cat who was peeing all over the house and show it all in a half-hour programme, I'm sure it wasn't that straightforward.

Has anyone come across this? Any thoughts on how effective it's likely to be? I'm not sure it would be useful for Jasper - generally, if he's getting worked up I like to have both hands ready to hold on very tightly if he does decide to kick off. It might have been useful for when he used to plant his feet on walks and refuse to budge, but we've come to an agreement on that (he agrees to go where I want because the alternative is standing there all night :wink: ). But I'll give it a try if I get a chance.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Nettle
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Re: Lead stroking

Post by Nettle » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:01 am

I've no knowledge of it and wonder if it might really freak out a fear reactive dog. In the horse world, a gentle vibration of the rein will sometimes bring a horse out of the 'freeze' mindset, but that is a different type of communication. I'll be interested to know if anyone has tried the lead-stroke thing, and what resulted.


I suppose I'll now come across numbers of dogs having their leads stroked, :lol: which is at least better than the woods echoing with 'ssssst' and dogs having their necks poked with stiff fingers, as used to happen.
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Lotsaquestions
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Re: Lead stroking

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:54 am

How weird.

Merlin is sick atm which means he is ultra anxious when he walks up the street and barks at everything. I'll try stroking the lead, but I have a feeling I'll end up looking like a crazy person stroking the lead whilst a fluffy nightmare wakes up the world. :lol:

Like this?

https://youtu.be/bjSZjvViUo0?t=62

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JudyN
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Re: Lead stroking

Post by JudyN » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:38 am

Yes, that looks like what they were doing, LoQ. Poor Merlin - he does seem to pick up a lot of illnesses :(

Sarah Fisher is a Tellington Touch person and I'm sceptical about claims for TT - sure, massage has a lot of benefits, but when you have to massage in a certain direction through a certain number of degrees to get the effect you want... nah. Maybe the lead stroking works more by relaxing the owner by giving them something to do other than pulling on the lead and saying 'No Fido!' :lol:

And to me, a gentle vibration coming along the lead indicates that J has started a subsonic growl and is about to kick off if someone doesn't stop that ruddy dog sniffing his bum VERY soon :lol:
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Re: Lead stroking

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:41 am

Merlin eats anything and everything, on Sunday he licked some cream egg up off the pavement at scent class and we think that upset him. Either that or the filthy lake water he shoved his head into or literally anything else. Getting to the point where a muzzle might be needed, he can find things before I see them even on a lead! Thankfully he lost his taste for balloons and condoms (yes he managed to find ANOTHER condom on the streets... What an area I live in...). He is eating slowly again today, but he's still Mr Sulkypants and keeps rolling over so I can stroke his belly.

I tried the lead stroking, it did nothing but make me look crazy. :lol:

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Nettle
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Re: Lead stroking

Post by Nettle » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:47 am

I do hope Merlin feels better soon.

Having seen the lead stroking, I am a tad sceptical. It wasn't at all what I'd imagined, which was something more gentle. My non-reactive well-adjusted dogs would NOT like that. Certainly would't find it comforting - and it is arguable that the best way to unstress a dog is to move it away from the stressor.

I went on a one-day TT course years ago, and must say I was not impressed. I worked as a physiotherapist for just under 10 years, and to me it was normal massage techniques given airy fairy names. But of course I could just have been missing something important. And I am trying very hard (and not really succeeding) to be open-minded. :lol:


How well I know that subsonic lurcher growl.......
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Re: Lead stroking

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:59 am

Yeah I am not sure on TTouch. I think most dogs enjoy being massaged so in that sense I can see it being relaxing (Merlin for instance will calm down instantly when I massage his back legs) but more than that I'm not sure. Lead stroking just seems silly. :lol:

Thanks Nettle, Merlin is already feeling alot better. Two days of sleeping, he's now eating and was up for a ten min play. He's at the vets tomorrow regardless for his check up and booster, but I'm pretty certain it was something he scavanged. Booked him in with his fav vet who has a sensitive dog herself so I am hoping he doesn't panic too much. Tempted to ask for blood works but when he was in for his neuter the nurses reported he was 'very needle shy' which I assume meant 'full blown panic' so I am not sure how to get it done in a way that won't mentally scar him. Once upon a time he would be happy licking squeezy cheese whilst they did anything, now he gets very worried because of everything he went through. :(

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Re: Lead stroking

Post by JudyN » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:57 pm

Actually the stroking did look more gentle on the programme last night, and it went in both directions. Even so... I thought about trying it today when a terrier insisted on sniffing J's bum in a small wooded area we hardly ever see other dogs in (J on lead, the other dog not) but we're so used to our own way now that the other owners usually wonder why I'm leading this completely happy relaxed dog off the path away from theirs and giving him treats.

I had a session with a TT practitioner who also did zoopharmacology - offering J various herbs and oils with which he could self-medicate according to his needs. 'He'll only drink as much oil as he needs,' she said. 'If he's finished the [exhorbitant] bottles of marigold and comfrey oils he must need more, but he will stop eventually,' she said. Hahahahahaha!!!! He'd probably drink all the Castrol GTX out of a Jumbo Jet given the chance :lol:

LoQ, if the vet tried to get blood out of J I've no doubt he'd try to get blood out of the vet :wink:
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Lead stroking

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:08 pm

JudyN wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:57 pm
LoQ, if the vet tried to get blood out of J I've no doubt he'd try to get blood out of the vet :wink:
Rofl! Maybe he thinks the vet needs a good old blood work up, he's only looking out for his wellbeing!

Merlin is still at the short 'grr' step on the ladder at the moment when he wants the vet to stop poking his leg. His treshold for what he'll tolerate at the vets has definately gotten fairly low and he'll no longer take food whilst on the table :(. He LURVS the irish lady vet who I purposely kept away from his leg so he didn't stop liking her for general things, so maybe he'll let her get away with more. He even let her pull off the scab from his infected neuter wound. He really does not like male vets now. :roll:

Problem with Merlin, and I bet you know exactly what I mean as I bet Jasper is the same, is he panics very quickly and gets into the 'fight or flight' mindset over trivial things. I've been giving him some ear drops lately and he now panics at the smell of the ear drops and hides in the back garden. I've resorted to sneaking the ear drops in whilst he's asleep and pretending it was some random ear drop pixie when he comes running to me for reassurance. His ear is still giving him issues so its another thing the vet will need to check... Dreading it. :shock:

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Re: Lead stroking

Post by JudyN » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:39 pm

Jasper is MUCH more trusting and accepting of a lot of things now, but of course he's much older than Merlin. His problem is that when he does flip, he can turn very aggressive. When he needed ear drops a while back it was a nightmare. But after we'd somehow got through the course, I gave him a couple of weeks to relax, then washed out the bottle and worked on desensitisation - you know the routine, starting off treating him just for seeing the bottle, then holding the bottle near his ear, then lifting his ear flap... it only took a few days, and I was able to put olive oil in his ear without a problem :D

But yeah, he wasn't going to let the vet check his anal glands, that's for sure. And when I had a physio consultation on a dog walk, thinking he'd accept her as a friend and be in an environment he was relaxed in, he still knew she was 'up to something' the moment she touched him. He's just very sensitive to nuances, and very suspicious.

My heart melted the other day - I've been really lax about claw clipping as he can suddenly get snarky. But I sat in front of him the other day with the clippers in my hand and without me asking, he nervously lifted his paw to me. It was like he really wanted to do what I wanted him to do even though he didn't really want to do it.....
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Nettle
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Re: Lead stroking

Post by Nettle » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:44 am

That is such an incredible honour, JudyN. He has been so much work, but if ever you doubt yourself - that's proof it is all worth doing.
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Re: Lead stroking

Post by JudyN » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:45 am

Thank you Nettle :D
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Re: Lead stroking

Post by Lotsaquestions » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:14 am

How did you get Jasper to accept drops going in? I need to give Merlin some just to see if his ear clears up.

The vets went terribly for us. Merlin wouldn't let her check his ears or his heart, so we are hoping his ear is just a small infection and not something stuck ini t. She did manage to empty his anal glands but he was squealing the entire time (he never used to). The injections were fine though.

He didn't get aggressive, and he took food off her and did tricks, but as soon as she got 'equipment' out he went full panic. He hid in the corner, if she came near him he snapped at the equipment. She said maybe we should think about a behaviourist. Never seen him so worried at the vets. He even snapped at the stethoscope which he's accepted many times before happily. :(

Ordered a stethescope and an othoscope. Hopefully I can desensitize him to equipment enough to accept the vet doing it one day. :(

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Re: Lead stroking

Post by JudyN » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:55 am

The poor lad, he must be so scared :( Sometimes it just takes one bad experience to mean they're terrified of the whole situation. A bit like OH and the dentist really, though it's easier to reason with him than a dog. Usually :wink:

As I said, I washed out the ear drop bottle and, on walks (an easier place to give J drops as he expects to be wearing his muzzle) I would show him the bottle, say 'Good boy' and treat him. Once he anticipated the treat when he saw the bottle, I held it over his head, closeish to his ear, where he couldn't see it, said 'Good boy' and treated him. Then I progressed through touching his ear at the same time as holding the bottle, lifting his ear while holding the bottle, and momentarily positioning ear and bottle as if I was going to put drops on. Then I progressed through the tiniest squeeze of the bottle. When I first started this stage I didn't worry about getting the drop in the ear. If he felt it somewhere near the ear and didn't react, that was fine. Also, at this stage, I was very much refining my own technique as at first there could be too many/few drops and my aim was very poor :lol:

Oh, I forgot - the ear touching was also followed up with a good ear rub which of course dogs like anyway if they don't associate it with ear drops, and would help work the drops in in the 'live' situation.

If he needed ear drops now I'd probably take a few steps back at first as the smell/feel of the drops would be different - even if it meant delaying the first 'proper' treatment for a day.

Have you tried natural stress remedies for the vet to see if they take the edge off? I tried this with J once, building up over a few days. Didn't work at all, but you never know, Merlin might be different!
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Re: Lead stroking

Post by JudyN » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:00 am

I do wonder - when something has to be done at the vets, could you get him to accept a muzzle (trained beforehand of course), then you and/or OH simply pick him up and hold him firmly while the vet does what needs to be done? It might get it over with quickly and actually involve less stress for him overall than him panicking and trying to escape. And of course the latter shows him that snapping and trying to escape works, which means he'll do it more in the future. I know it's not positive, but we have to work within the possible and do what has to be done.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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