Thursday, April 05, 2007

Roxy and the dog (non) whisperer

Last night a dog behaviorist came to our house. or at least thats what he called himself. he's the trainer at the new dog school we're bringing Roxy too. at her first lesson, she tried to rip his eyeballs out of his head, so after class we had to stay. then, she was a peach. i swear she's possessed. anyway he said he's also a dog behaviorist and he gave us his number.

when he came he read a long list of questions off his paper. alot of things we were already doing correctly, according to his paper. he proceeded to her cage to do some exercises. she did OK. he gave us a few new tips but he also didn't have any tips for some of her problems. like when i touch the vacuum cleaner she goes crazy; if she sees people passing on the street she barks all day long. all he said was "ah ja" yeah, ah ja--aaaaaaaand what can we do to stop it?! oh of course! distract her!
derrrrrr i knew that already! hopefully with a "professional" telling Gregory that Roxy needs distraction from those things (including the doorbell!) he'll actually help me now. i asked him about a month ago one weekend to help me desensitize her to the doorbell but he never did it. he told me "OK so when you're vacuuming you're going to have to distract her then" haha! buddy! to told him i cant vacuum and distract all at the same time, that he'll have to help me perform an exercise with her.
the dog "communicator"(?) said she's not a lost cause but it will be alot of work. he told us to expect at least 6 months before it sinks in and then another 10-12 weeks after that before it sticks like glue in her doggy brain.

Gregory and i already found a good distraction tool for her: she loves squeaky things. lucky for us she also loves tearing things up, and had already torn the squeakers out of one of her toys, so now Gregory and will equip ourselves where ever we go with a squeaker in the pocket. i took my squeaker and some treats on a walk today with her, and when she had her nose buried to the ground smelling something particularly interesting and wouldn't listen to come, i squeaked and she came and she got a treat. and after that, as i was sweeping up her confettied toy, when she tried to attack the broom i squeaked and her attention was on me rather than the broom. its working!

now we just need to invited people over to do people exercises with her. the dog guy said to have the people she doesn't know very well treats when shes being calm and good. I'm thinking of asking people along our walk route if we can stand and watch them garden or go about their business for a couple minutes so she can get lots of people "contact" i wouldn't go close to them but she gets angry if someone is moving around in their yard while we're walking by (sometimes) sometimes shes too distracted by the birds to even care what other people are doing. but I'm pretty shy and i feel nervous asking people "hello, my dog is not socialized but i would like her to be, could we watch you for a couple minutes while i try to make her not bark and growl at you?!"yeah right if someone asked me that I'd probably run back inside the house.

1 comment:

iruvroo said...

well sounds like the squeaker is the way to go if thats what she loves. also, sounds like what the dog whisperer says"animal pick up on the humans anxiety and frailties of the owner", you just admitted you are "shy" perhaps anxious about meeting people on your walk??? if you do start asking people to observe them then perhaps you both will benefit, you can work on being shy and she will get better people contact, hummmm hope you both get what you need from your walks.
happy Trails
love ya