Category Archives: Our Blog
6 years and 7 months ago I met my sweet but super scared blond girl I named Honey. The journey went from her shaking, dropping her head and cowering like I was about to harm her, which never happened. Over time she started to become more trustworthy. However she would shake if I moved suddenly in her direction.
It took almost one full year of treats and positive reenforcement for her to move, and want to be, in the house with my wife and I. After all that time I did not have her permission to pet or touch her, other than a quick drive by pet I would surprise her with every once in a while. I kept asking her if I could pet her and promised her she would like it. It never really happened until today. I got to pet, stroke her as life left her beautiful honey colored body. She passed at home with her adopted family, peacefully with her Home Vet’s help.
I will miss her big brown eyes and the touch of her nose when she would come up behind me mussel punch my leg and beg for a treat or two.
So in the end I hope she loved being petted as much as I did.
See you again sometime Girl. Come home so you can be with the others that have gone before you in the honored place on the bookshelf of love.
Most humans I know hate Mondays. However in this house two dogs love Mondays and so do I.
A few months back we were having a bit of a resource guarding issue, Maggie and Honey. As reported we worked on the problem using BAT along with information gained from the book by Jean Donaldson, “Mine” . My main goal for this year is to have Honey want to be with us, inside, outside all around the place, (if she wanted). I can’t tell if its all the work that is being done to accomplish this or the cold, wet, windy weather here in the Northwest, but maybe its Mondays.
What makes Mondays so special? Mondays are Chicken Liver cooking days for dog food additives for the rest of the week, I definitely need help getting this done, I guess. Here’s a picture of Monday, both girls sitting waiting patiently, the other is of the two helping to clean the cutting board after the fact.
Just as a side note Honey has been, except for short periods of rest and relaxation, in the house for several days now. She has also started to ask to come in. 3:30 this morning was a good example of wanting to return to either the warmth of the place or to check the calendar to see if it happens to be Monday.
I haven’t reported much on Honey’s progress over the summer months because we have been having a great time enjoying the warm sunshiny weather here in the Northwest (finally). Her progress has been amazing to say the least considering where we started 19 months ago.
I want to hijack honey’s blog for one post to relate what happened and what I learned over the last week.
Maggie my old, never a problem, laid back, ACD/Chow mix girl, had what I thought was a stroke Sunday the 11th. She couldn’t walk without falling over, when she did she walked in circles, with a pronounce head tilt to the right, violent vomiting and a glassy eye confused look. Checkbook in hand off to the Veterinarian Hospital we go expecting the worse. The very nice Doctor checked her over and stated she most likely has Geriatric Vestibular Disease so treated her with Dramamine and said she should be fine in 48 or so hours. Dr. Gains also stated Maggie may have some slight side effect from the sudden onset of GVD.
A week has pasted and my old Girl is back to herself except for a head tilt to the right, like a puppy trying to figure out something. I had never heard of GVD it can hit one or two times in dogs and cats, if it happens more than that it could be a inner ear infection or tumor.
Humans can also have the disease, but in us it’s called Old Fart’s Disease, which I have, can’t remember why I went into a room, can’t find my glasses are (when they are hanging on my face) therefore I understand Maggie’s situation very well.
Has anyone else heard of GVD and what have you seen in long term side effects?
Summertime and the living is easy, Fish are jumpin and the Cotton is high, etc. That song played in my head as these two former combatants (resource guarders) lounged together during the required afternoon nap time. After many months of BAT training and along with at least 10 pounds of there favorite treats, I think we made the jump to peace in the family. I no longer need to be in the vicinity when the two are together, even in backyard where Honey protected her kennel area.
Prior to the required nap time the two were in the yard alone taking turns rolling in the new Worm Castings I had just place carefully in the lawn area that needed some attention. Why Worm Castings are such a wonderful thing to roll in I have no clue and don’t really want to know, but they were having fun as I watched them from the window.
Over the last couple weeks we have not had a single guarding issue pop up. I will continue doing the treating etc. to really reinforce this behavior and make sure it’s a new and improved life style.
The latest on stopping Honey’s Clomipramine, all is well. It has been 2 weeks since her last pill with no major bad side effects. She was on 50MG once a day. Without this medication I believe she would have been a real basket case as she would just shake and runoff and disappear. As inquisitive as she was, fear conquered the girl for the most part.
We now have a new and improved Honey. She comes in and out of the house at will when the door is open, spends up to 2 hours inside, comes immediately when called and best of all goes outside to potty (that is a major surprise). In no way am I saying she’s at the top of her game, just that she is making more strides a bit faster and recovers within a minute or so when there is something the may scare her.
All in all, I’m very glad she was on medication but happier now that she is off them.
We are still having good success in pushing Ms. Honey a little, so I’m pushing a little bit more. (I would add some pictures but she doesn’t like her picture taken right now she’s shedding, bad hair day)
After one year of being on Clomipramine I decided to wean her off them slowly and watch for any changes in her. First of all I could not have progressed as we did without using the Clomipramine and I must thank my mentor Debbie of the now famous fearful dogs.com for recommending their use, but now it’s time to possibly stop using them.
The first thing I noticed by cutting her dosage in half is she now eats all her food at one sitting. She would previously eat it all but it would take her about an hour to do so, take a bite walk away, take another bite walk, etc. plus the food dish NEEDED to be in her kennel, not now, gone in 10 minutes and eats all her meals in the kitchen. (big step)
By next week she will be totally off the Meds and hopefully done shedding, since I still can’t brush her, it’s a big issue (she sheds more than a big deciduous tree in the fall). If everything is then as it is now, no other side effects by removing the Meds., I’ll be moving her inside with fingers crossed, at least for one day to see how it goes.
Other than the Lovey-Dovey part of Honey’s new self we really haven’t progressed to the point I was hoping for after this long. So I decided to push a little because Honey recovers fairly fast when she become fearful of something that scares her. (I dropped a shovel on the driveway with a loud crash, she returned within a minute after running off because of it)
The property can be cordoned off by way of a gate into two sections, which works great during winter, dogs can go out to take care of business without getting wet and muddy. That section is under shade, concrete and graveled with direct access inside.
Yesterday, being a no rain day, my Wife and I were sitting under cover in the side yard enjoying a glass of wine with both the gate and the door open. All family members Sid the cat who is the boss, Maggie and Honey were in attendance adding their opinions to our conversation. When all were present and accounted for I closed the gate so Honey had to stay with us all. She handled this new situation by first sitting a few feet from anyone but soon became part of the gathering, ‘course treats helped considerably.
At dinner time we sat down in the normal configuration except this time leaving the door open, Maggie at my wife’s left side, I don’t feed scraps from the table but Maggie gets them from the other person at the table. Sid was still outside watching the activity on the bird feeder from his chair. Honey sitting outside watching Sid watch the bird feeder. Suddenly in walks Ms. Honey sits herself at the table just like its a regular thing and stayed for the entire meal.
I’m now a believer, I guess, in treating from the table. After dinner as we cleaned the table off, she stayed around, not so much helping just hanging out, how cool is that.
Over the last couple months Honey, Maggie and I have been working on Honey’s resource guarding issue. The issue has only manifested it’s self when Maggie needs to walk past Honey’s kennel into the backyard. The three of us have been treating like crazy and it has been working well. The only problem was I needed to be within 20 or so feet of the pass by for Honey to remain calm. I added a que word to the training and at the same time increased the distance, we’re almost up to all I need be is within sight.
I started to write a report yesterday, held it in Draft status then to my total surprise a new revelation showed up this early morning, so trashed the Draft.
A half hour early this morning Honey was sitting at the backdoor, strange, as she normally sleeps in until I wake her. There she sat, fur all combed wearing a big smile, pretty as can be just waiting. All our hard work regarding her issue paid off, I must have caused her to go into heat. She is now in love with Maggie and could care less about guarding anything. All I need do now is to figure out how to keep her loving Maggie after the 20 or so days pass, any suggestions.
Finally the weather is improving here in rain country, we’ve had 29 days out of 30 of downpour. Not much news regarding Honey and her progress except she has been walking around with an umbrella wearing hip boots and frowning at the sky.
For the last 2 weeks there has been nice weather, off and on, enough to get busy again with some serious work with her. She is an amazingly intelligent girl who tries to figure out what it is I would like from her. She may not do what I ask of her, but she has it figured out and will very cautiously start to do whatever it is and may stop but that’s okay too.
The added time with her has created an expert in hand targeting which resulted in targeting anything I ask her to touch. ( I now get to rub her muzzle, yippee)
Sorry for the poor picture, it’s hard to hand target, take a picture then put the camera down and treat from the other hand all at once, but I’m learning.
“Wait” has been added to her vocabulary, she now patiently waits while I treat my other dog then her. “Stand” is a fun trick we’re still working on, I ask her to stand on her rear legs and look for a treat. That was her contribution to the “Hey, let’s do something different” work, she did it first I capitalized on it.
We are continuing to work on her resource guarding, the “wait” command is a big help along with many treats. I am, and proud to say, a “treat vending machine.”
My girl created a new game all by herself, and I’m so happy about the progress.
I reported earlier she started taking treats from my hand, a that was a huge step, inside, outside all around the place. I do make her work for the treats, Hand targeting, and rubbing her fine soft chin as she takes them.
As of three days ago, the new and improved Honey showed her true colors. As some of you know she is currently an outside dog living in the lap of outdoor luxury. Her own covered kennel, insulated Igloo, comfy bedding changed daily, all the food and water she may need and the door to her kennel open 24/7 so she can do whatever dog do when not being watched.
The new Honey now comes to the backdoor sits and waits for my arrival from the recesses of that scary house. If no appearance by me happens, she barks and jumps around wanting for company and talk. She gets it even with the continuing rain and cold, damn I’m wet most of the day. But what the heck, she’s mine now.
The bridge has been crossed, It will be the last winter she is outside. No more cold wet and muddy weather for her, I guarantee it.