A first for Sirius

Share your experience and tell us how using positive reinforcement training methods has changed yours and your dogs' lives.

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MPbandmom
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:18 pm

A first for Sirius

Post by MPbandmom » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:24 pm

I admit, my dogs spend way too much time chilling alone in the yard. With my husbad retired and home all day, he feels they need outside time but usually dosen't feel like joining them. Sky loves to be outside. Sirius finds outside very stressful and is usually reluctant to go out without encouragement or trickery.

Over the years, we have employed various stratagies to interrupt fence shouting and chasing behavior. I have thrown treats out of the upstairs window. We have opened the front door and called the dogs inside where they have been given treats. The dogs will now bark at something and then look towards the door to see if someone is going to appear and call them in. Sky will always come in the instant the door is open; Sirius, not so much. Sirius has been yelled at (called strongly in my husbands mind.) There are times we have attempted to round her up and herd her inside. She has progressively gotten better with one exception, dogs and walkers. The instant she catches a glimpse of a dog coming, it is pointless to try to get her attention until the dog is long past.

There are several walkers around, but none seem more regular and hated than "the red girls." I honestly don't know their sex. One is larger than the other and they have longish redish fur. They walk on the sidewalk across the street and they get out twice a day. One day they even took themselves for their walk. I was glad to see that they were back with their people the next day. The other morning when we headed out, the red girls had recently passed by and Sirius jumped Sky when I stopped to close the door. I have been a little more cautious about taking them out together, sometimes walking them one at a time to the van and back to the house. Sky doesn't deserve to be jumped like that and she is perfectly willing to stand her ground. It is behavior I see no reason to risk. Sirius will also redirect to Sky when fence chasing, so I like to get Sky away from her and inside as quickly as possible. Sky seems to have learned this is a good idea.

Tonight the red girls were going by and Sky was shouting at them as she has taken to doing, and Sirius was getting worked up for a good fence run. I ran downstairs and opened the door just as the red girls stopped to take care of business directly across the street from us. I hope it wasn't a response to the rude behavior my two were displaying. I know such behavior from other dogs when we are walking results in my two suddenly having to go.

Sky immediately came inside as usual. The red girls finished and started on their way again and much to my amazement, Sirius turned around mid fence and ran inside too. :shock: :D :D :D Granted, the red girls were temporairly hidden from view by the van, but Sirius has never before come inside until they were long past the house and well out of sight

We headed straight to the kitchen for a jackpot of dehydrated pork roast. That deserved a great big reward and hopefully it will be the start of a trend.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

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Nettle
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Re: A first for Sirius

Post by Nettle » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:57 am

That is so good - and I hope you gave yourself a jackpot reward too! :D
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

Erica
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Location: North Carolina

Re: A first for Sirius

Post by Erica » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:33 am

Great job to both of you! :D
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

MPbandmom
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Re: A first for Sirius

Post by MPbandmom » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:55 pm

It has happened again! I was heading towards the door to go outside and pick up the dogs' dishes after their dinner when I noticed them both head towards the corner of the fence. Obviously something was coming. I opened the door and followed their gaze down the sidewalk and there were the red girls headed our way. They were still 2 or 3 houses away. Both dogs immediately came into the house when called and we went straight to the kitchen for another jackpot.

I do have a little confession though. Since July 4th, I have been giving Sirius meletonin. I had read that it was a good way to ease a dog's fear of fireworks. Well, it didn't really seem to help a whole lot. My husband informed me this was because it needs to build up in the system. He takes meletonin to help him sleep so he has experience with it. I really think it is the meletonin that is finally helping us have these breakthroughs. It isn't a cure all and doesn't stop her from reacting to things or being fearful during thunderstorms, but she seems to recover much more quickly and there is no denying that her level of reactivity is deminishing. I see this as a good thing. I see this as progress in helping her to live a happier less fearful and reactive life. She is such a sweetheart once she feels safe.

So we are heading to the SammyPalooza and a Barn Hunt fun test with two dogs who will have been given the top dosage level of meletonin. Sky for a little over a week because of her dog anxiety and Sirius for all her issues.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

DianeLDL
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Re: A first for Sirius

Post by DianeLDL » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:31 pm

Where did you get the melatonin and is the brand you use for dogs?

We use adult melatonin to help with sleep, but never thought about it for dog anxiety.

Since July 4th, Sandy has been extremely reactive to fireworks and now for the first time to thunder. My husband spent three hours on the couch with Sandy the other night during severe thunderstorm. And across the river from us, they have fireworks displays with waterfront bands.

I know my husband isnt for giving drugs to Sandy who is only 11.5 pounds, but i would like more information on it.

Thanks and good luck with the Barn Hunt and Sammy Palooza. Let us know how it goes. :D

Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

MPbandmom
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Re: A first for Sirius

Post by MPbandmom » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:26 pm

DianeLDL wrote:Where did you get the melatonin and is the brand you use for dogs?

We use adult melatonin to help with sleep, but never thought about it for dog anxiety.

Since July 4th, Sandy has been extremely reactive to fireworks and now for the first time to thunder. My husband spent three hours on the couch with Sandy the other night during severe thunderstorm. And across the river from us, they have fireworks displays with waterfront bands.

I know my husband isnt for giving drugs to Sandy who is only 11.5 pounds, but i would like more information on it.
I don't remember where I saw the article about the meletonin, but it struck me as what should be a reliable source. We buy the meletonin in the vitamin section of our store. The article said to get the 3mg dosage and that it could be given up to 3 times a day. There weren't any parameters about dog size.

Like your husband, I have been wary of giving Sirius anything especially like prespriction medications. We have used some herbal calming tablets when traveling and such. We have tried the Bach Remedies. We have the thundershirt. We do a lot of counter conditioning but always seem to run out of treats before the scary runs out. Sound phobia is a pain to work with because things like thunderstorms, fireworks, and noisy vehicles going past the house are totally out of our control. My husband has often worried that Sirius was going to die from stress with the panting, drooling, trembling, and pacing. Then one of the samoyeds suffered a bout of bloat and almost died last year while on vacation. The bloat was likely because someone had set off fireworks and the dog had subesquently done a lot of heavy panting right after eating a full meal. Bloat is something I definately worry about with Sky because she is deep chested and something that I am aware of as being a possible danger for Sirius. The combination of the bloat story with the article stating that meletonin was perfectly safe to give to the dogs, led me to give it a try.

I was giving her one tablet a day. (again not wanting to overdo things.) Then my husband admitted that he was also giving her some. We aren't totally consistant with it. Sometimes we forget, sometimes dragging the peanut butter out to slather on a pill seems like too much of a pain at the moment. We do try to make certain she gets a full 3 doses when storms are predicted. She still becomes anxious and still does some panting and pacing, but she seems to recover more quickly when the storm is over. Sometimes we combine the meletonin, herbal calming tablets and thundershirt. We certaintly don't have a cure, but it does seem to help. Each dog is different and Sirius is certaintly larger than your dog. You might want to do some more extensive research into it since you are dealing with a small dog.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

DianeLDL
Posts: 832
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Location: USA

Re: A first for Sirius

Post by DianeLDL » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:50 pm

Thanks for the info. I am very wary of giving anything to Sandy as he is only a little over 11pounds.

As you said, and as I saw in the photos, your dogs are pretty good size. But, I would still coordinate with everyone in the house as to how much you are giving, As an RN, for people, I know how different doses are geared to children.

I take 3 mg. myself on occasion for sleep, and I weigh abour 100 pounds.

Sandy is scheduled for his next vet physcial, shots, etc. in November, so i will talk with the vet then. I don't think i would give him anything unless the dose was right for his size.

Sandy doesnt like wearing anything so the thunder-shirt is out, he but does like to sleep with blanket over his head. I have noticed that since my husband's fall down the basement stairs on Thursday night, Sandy has been even more jumpy than usual. The next night, early morning, my husbqnd who gets up early anyway spent two hours with Sandy oh the couch during a direct thunder and lightning show that lit up the night, (I slept through it with ear plugs.) Wish they had ear plugs for dogs. :lol:

Someone mentioned a T-shirt and thought at maybe putting my husband's T-shirt in Sandy's bed might help. I was surprised when i went to take him out an hour ago to find him sleeping on the couch, with his head where my husband sits. So, there may be something to that. :wink:

Thanks again,
Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

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