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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Latest updates on Bella and the summer

It has been a busy summer, so sorry for the delay in posting.
Grace as prairie field assistant to Dr Sheila Sobaski
Bella has continued to progress will with her CALM diet.  She is decreasing in her agitation and reactivity daily.   A big step forward for Bella was when my good friend Sheila and her daughter Grace visited at the end of July.  Normally I have kept Bella at the clinic for the 2-3 days that Sheila is here doing her field work since Bella does not have to know them; they visit once a year.  This time I thought - let's see how it goes. I can always board her if she is not less agitated.  Grace was also a fantastic child for working with Bella.  Grace has gone to training classes as a volunteer to help dogs get used to kids. So Grace immediately understood the need for her to give Bella her food kibble quick after  sits and to follow my instruction on where to walk. There were a few times Bella jumped up suddenly at Grace but she would settle down and take rewards right from Grace's hand.  Grace even had Bella coming, downing, and sitting on command.  I think Bella even allowed Grace to pet her too!
Bella knows Grace has the goodies!

  I did not give Bella any additional medication - just the CALM diet.  I did keep the gentle leader on her with the drag line in the home. This was a good way to redirect Bella and put her in the areas that would give her more space with additional people in the house.  My friend also felt more secure with a barky, jumpy dog  in a head halter to have more control over the mouth.  The gentle leader head halter is not a muzzle and it does not mean Bella is failing to become a better dog.  It is a humane way to have control and safety when there are triggers for reactivity and possible aggression. We use head halters all the time on horses and cattle - it is not any different for your dog. 

This weekend Bella and I walked all around Meadowbrook Park in Urbana.  She was far less reactive to unknown people - many that would look her right in the eye as they walked past.  She would sit calmly and just be curious.  There were a few dogs on leash where she was barking and lunged out at one who did the same to her.  This is the first time between the horrible heat and available time I have had to take her to a busy park for counter conditioning.  She even laid and rested on the outside of the dog park and greeted a dog through the fence well.   So her progress continues.

I also made a few more videos that are posted on my you tube channel linked through my website   Barking like crazy 1 and 2.  I show how to set up a tether, rewards that are handy and use a dragline.  My dad, John Foote was a willing participant to show how to keep things safe and sane while someone is coming in the home with a walker.

I hope you have had a great summer, and please let me know how this information is helping you to know your pet.  I promise to have a post for our cat lovers next month featuring pain management in older cats for good behavior.
Take care!

Thank you Grace for helping Bella become a better dog