Well, our family’s had a lot going on lately so I haven’t posted every day. I’ll give you all a synopsis.
Katy was tethered to the couch for a few days. She had her own water and was fed on the couch. Sometimes she would try to go somewhere else but not often. I don’t think it was too stressful since that’s where she spends most of her time anyhow. We had to take the coffee table out of the room because she kept getting wrapped around it.
With shy dogs, it’s always best to let them set the pace on social interactions. Forcing them sets back any progress made up to that time. Then you have to work back to that spot again. My colleagues have all cautioned me against it. I’m sure there is some finite reason I could document that made me think it was ok with Katy at the time. I’ve been thinking about it for days and I can’t come up with it.
On the evening of 3/31, I picked her up. She pulled away from me when I first tried it, so I stopped and stroked her slowly, talking quietly. She relaxed a little so I tried again. She let me pick her up and hold her. Ever so slightly she leaned into me. That was the turning point. From then on, her facial expressions softened enough that I’m 99% sure she won’t bite me again. I can pick her up and take her outside. I can pick her up and put her on the couch. She leans into me every time. She let me pet her while she was on the leash outside without trying to run away. She never runs away when I approach the couch. I can sit and stroke her any time. Any time she balks I just slow down until she relaxes. The morning of 4/1 I got a small but sustained tail wag while I approached!
I can now walk her on a 6’ leash, too. Calmly, slowly moving at her pace she’ll come with me. I use the cue, “Let’s go.” She will pee and poop on leash. I haven’t asked Burt to walk her but she and I have worked out a system.
She’s loose and dragging the leash unless we have to go out that day. Then she’s walked outside on leash. She’s in her crate when we leave still. The past couple times we’ve left her, it appears she’s tried to get out. So far she’s neither pulling the crate apart not injuring herself in those attempts.
We had a friend and her two dogs visit yesterday. Our friend sat beside Katy without touching her or looking at her & Katy didn’t try to get away. Our 5 dogs, she, and I were sitting in the yard for awhile & Katy kept moving closer to us. The visiting spaniel tried to get Katy to play but Katy ran away from her. However, she did continue to come closer and walk around us. Katy is still trying to get Candy to play but the biggest response she’s gotten is a play bow. Today Molly gave Katy a play bow to try & get her to play but Katy ran away. From Katy’s body language I think they would have played if Molly had run with her.
Katy’s been getting frequent non-contingent reinforcers this week. She gets a treat or a bite of my food with no expectation of earning it in any way. She likes most treats but not all, mac & cheese, Triscuits, hummus, yogurt, ice cream… I also found out I can put a little food in the bottom of a yogurt cup and she’ll clean it out. She still won’t work on a Kong. When she’s loose in the yard and I’m walking around I get squinty eyes and she’ll get about 12’ away from me.
Overall, big movement in the past week.
Katy spent almost all day outside today. She’s not coming to me inside or out. I finally got her to come inside by tossing chicken to all the dogs. Here’s a short video of Katy coming near to get a bite of chicken. Early on she’s doing the beagle version of “airplane ears.” She also got into the “dog” chair today for the first time.
Katy and I did a 3-day Canine Emotional Detox with Diane Garrod. It was tough on her because even a short massage was invasive and she had a lot of trouble relaxing. We had very small break throughs over the 3 days. Then last night it was like someone flipped a switch.
The door was open for hours so the dogs could come and go. I hit my mouse on the table and it made a loud clack. Katy jumped down & scooted outside. Not standing up completely, in between a fast walk & a run. The dogs & I followed her out. She was running around the yard like a normal beagle. I praised her & said Let’s Go (cue for follow me on leash). The dogs & I went inside & she followed.
I left the door open. My dogs & I went out again; she followed us. She was running around like a normal beagle with tail wagging. She followed us back inside again. She was on the couch panting so I petted her & told her what a good girl she was. She was smiling!
This morning she’s still going in and out. No eliminating in the house. She’s spending more time behind the couch, though. When we all go out and I call her, she joins us. So she can stay there while she’s inside, if she wants. She also is spending some time under my table, which is new. It’s mid-evening and I just gave her a ttouch massage on one side of her body, her head, chest, thigh. Then I stroked her very slowly; I took 10 seconds to go the length of her back. I just kept doing it for awhile, she laid down, and I got my first big sigh from her. Then she went to sleep.
Katy is consistently pooping outside, not on the sod. I put her in her room last night so she would get a drink. She doesn’t drink all day. She drank most of the bowl and peed on the sod. I think she’s figured out that she can come out & get on the couch after she eats breakfast. As soon as I take the gate down, she’s up and ready to run out of the crate.
Here are some Q&A from my dog training/behavior colleagues about yesterday’s post.
Q: Why are you using ham? It’s so processed, why not use a less processed meat?
A: It’s what I had & she’ll eat it. I’ll use cooked chicken when it’s gone.
Q: Have you used a Kong for her?
A: She ignores them even with chicken in them. Maybe she’ll work with them later.
Q: Have you just sat in the room with her to get her used to you?
A: I have. Until recently she would avoid looking in my direction and often turn her back to me. I had more success just occasionally showing up and giving her something really tasty to eat. Until recently, I had to leave it in the crate and she would eat it when she was alone.
Q: Can you hand feed her?
A: I have hand fed her but she would only eat enough not to be hungry. She wouldn’t finish a meal. Now she eats her dinner on the couch with me & the other dogs there. I hand feed her or put her food on the couch and hand feed the others a piece at a time.
Q: Is she pregnant?
A: I don’t know. I don’t think she’s spayed but can’t touch her to check. Maybe a trip to the vet is in order. I could take her there in a crate but I don’t think they could examine her. She needs to have her nails trimmed, too…
Every day it gets easier to get her outside. Just now I let the other dogs out & she sat up & watched them go. One day she’ll be going with them. I was able to pet her today while she was outside. Always before she’s moved away from my hand when I go to pet her outside.
This is Burt and Katy on the couch yesterday.