Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Update, finally!!

Finally an update!

Things have been busy here at home and updating the blog hasn't been a big priority. But for the first time in weeks, I'm finding myself with a few spare minutes, so here goes!

Bugs is still reacting badly. We've been working with our trainer and at this point we're going to try redirecting energy onto a toy. She is much calmer when she's carrying a special toy. We're also going to try calming treats, which contain herbs instead of pharmaceuticals.

We've switched foods and its made a marked improvement. Not 100%, but better. I was feeding a higher end food that did not have corn, wheat or soy in it - but Bugs was having diarrhea and her behavior was just escalating like crazy. We switched to Eukanuba Large Breed - a food I wouldn't normally choose because it contains corn - and Bugs has calmed down considerably. She also has firmer stools and no more gas.

On my end of it, I've been working with my trainer and her other clients. Working with strange dogs completely changes your perspective! When you're not emotionally attached to the dog, it's much easier to see how your energy affects them, and to change it accordingly. It's also easier to see behavioral issues and the try new things. One dog, Millie, is an incredibly hyper pit/pointer mix. She's very friendly and sweet, but no amount of exercise seems to calm her down. She gets three walks a day, playgroup with other dogs five or more times a day, and a rollerblade session in the evening. Since that isn't helping her, I decided to work her brain alongside her body, and we turned the park into a makeshift agility course. She loved it! She jumped back and forth across a balance beam, and belly-crawled through half-buried tires. Then we played tug with a big stick, and took a quick jog around the park.

She was loose leash walking for the first time ever, and instead of jumping and acting nutty, she went calmly into her crate and took a nap! She just needed a change in her routine to tire her out.

I'm going to try some of this with Bugs too, but I do need to be careful because she's just a puppy and could injure herself with jumping. I thinks he'd do fine at this park though, because the balance beam is only about 12 inches off the ground and is designed for preschoolers. There's no way she'd fit under the tires but I bet we could figure something else out, maybe standing on them and balancing or something.

So that's where we're at, and hopefully with warmer weather we can do even more and burn off her energy and anxiety!