Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue
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.
The past few days we were able to sit beside her in late evening. Last night she spent the whole day behind the couch when she was inside. This evening, she got on the couch with Molly and stayed when Molly left.
She’s regularly going in/out with the other dogs. I go out with all the dogs and say, “Everybody out,” she goes. When they come back in I say, “Everybody in,” and she usually comes with them. The closer she is to the group, the more likely she is to come in. If she ends up by herself, it takes more time. I can stand by the door now and she’ll go through it. Today I left our dogs inside & put cheese and chicken on the patio no closer than about 4’ from me. I sat on the chaise and read while facing away from the food. She came in/out and ate some of it over the course of an hour.
She’s also dragging a leash again. She’s getting to the point that I can take the leash and say, “Let’s go, Katy,” and she’ll come with me. I’ve been leading her to the door then dropping the leash and letting her go outside. Today I led her to a wire crate. She went, I prevented her from leaving and she finally went in. I’m still not comfortable leaving all the dogs out together. This crate is in the middle of the house so she can see what’s going on, instead of being in the bedroom by herself (where she no longer wants to be). I saw no evidence of attempted escape when we got back.
She’s regularly eating her breakfast on the couch now. Dinner she may not eat at all but it’s offered and she has the opportunity. She gets it on the floor behind the couch or on the couch, depending on where she is.
She’s running from me again since I had to put her in the crate. She’s afraid of me again. When we get up, they all go out, she’s eager to come back in because then she gets breakfast. Her ears are up while I fix it. When I come home out three have a big greeting at the door. Katy is bouncing around about 15’ away. She wants to participate but it’s still too much for her. When I am close enough to touch her only long strokes don’t stress her. When I try to do TTouch, she starts to yawn. I’ve been able to pet her once in the past 4 days.
She walked through the middle of the family room instead of going around the edge. She was standing almost completely up. Both firsts.
Yesterday (2/27), for the first time, I dropped Katy’s leash when she got to the screened patio. She initially ran away but then followed the other dogs inside. I’ve been waiting until she was in the kitchen. Last evening I was sitting on the couch & was going to work with touching her but I started sneezing. I ended up just feeding her chicken and leaving. I have been making small circles on her head and moving down her back. I’ve been getting relaxed eyes while doing it. Last night she laid her head down while I was doing it.
Very early this morning she pooped on the sod. It was loose like it had been 2 days ago but less volume and less mucus. She wanted to leave (don’t blame her) so I cleaned it up & she spent the rest of the night on the couch. Now she’s spending all her time on the couch. It’s good that she’s choosing to be with us instead of her crate but she needs to move around. She stands up and walks from one end to the other. Other than the time she’s outside (also not moving much) that’s all the exercise she gets.
Starting Tuesday, Katy’s going to do a Canine Emotional Detox for Fear with Diane Garrod of Canine Transformations Learning Center. Diane has been researching this for quite awhile and almost has a book ready for publishing. I’m not sure how much I can post here, but will share what I can. We did this with Lucy and it helped her anxiety. I think Lucy’s case may be in the book. What her poop looks like is important in this process. This is what it looked like on the 26th.
Katy is panting quite a bit and has hurt her dew claw. She’s going to have to go to the vet. I’ll have to call & try to get her in Monday.
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.