megan_

Exercising Reactive Dogs Thread

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I confess that I'm getting a bit fed up and weary. The heat probably doesn't help I know.

 

Apart from the odd good day, Mal's anxiety has been worsening. Apart from my arms his safe places are no longer safe. Nights are awful. He's barking more and set off by the slightest thing and can't settle.

 

Many tears have been shed.

 

I just want my little man to feel better, you know? And to be able to do simple things like open the windows to let in a cool breeze when the heat is oppressive, cook dinner and do the laundry. Last night I could only prep/cook while holding him in my arms with his calming cap on because Mr PK wasn't home to tag team. And hoping beyond hope that the smoke alarm wouldn't go off (we think we'll take out the batteries and rely on upstairs).

 

I've been thinking about getting a trainer in for additional help but I don't know how much that would help given that I think it's mostly a medication/medical issue. I'm a shit trainer but I do think I make good progress when he's actually in the headspace to learn. It's quite startling the difference between training a sick dog and a slightly healthier one. :(

 

He does have quality of life mainly from eating (lol) and nose work but f me it's exhausting. So exhausting. I'm constantly putting out spot fires.

 

I feel so sad for him. And tired. :cry: 

Edited by Papillon Kisses

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I feel for you PK, I know how exhausting it is to not be able to just do normal things around the house because you have to factor in the dog/s. And you've been doing it a lot longer than i have :hug:

 

Did he have a med change a while back? Could that be making it worse, like what happened with Justice?

 

Tbh I'm not sure that there is a lot of training you could do to help him at the moment, given that his anxiety is so generalised :(

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Yes we added in Amitriptyline early December after three other failed med trials. I'm not sure whether it's making him worse as he was starting to go downhill before that, but it certainly doesn't seem to be making him any better. I feel like after two months we should have an indication.

 

The only thing that helped, initially, was Prozac. I think it probably needs to be upped. He's on a 'half' dose as it is because the full dose makes him worse, but he's gained 400g (10% bw) which I'm struggling to get off him.

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Hello all. Radio silence means we're into a good routine. A recent study has come out that's interesting!

 

“Reactive Dogs and Exercise: Can modifying the daily exercise regime improve behaviour?”

 

LINK

 

Simple summary of the key findings by "Wheres your Sit" a dog training blog

 

 

Quote

 

The dogs in the study were sent on a “doggie” vacation where exercise was significantly reduced. The owners of the dogs were nervous of this at first given that many of the dogs that participated were also described as hyper dogs that required great amounts of exercise.

What was found instead was that with reduced physical exercise (off leash running, long walks, playtime with other dogs, ball and disc play, etc.) and increased soothing touch and mental games the dogs improved significantly in only 6 days! The study goes on to cite work that includes giving dogs a drastic change for a month to see truly improved results in reactivity.

This is important for owners of dogs with arousal and reactivity issues on many fronts as simply tiring the dog out physically isn’t going to get you the results you want.

Here’s a great list of activities you can do with your own dog when reducing high impact or lengthy activity in order to decrease stress in your dog:

  • Sniff games inside and outside
  • Tracking (this is a great sport that Where’s Your Sit offers classes for and is suitable for reactive dogs as we don’t expose the dogs to one another)
  • Trick training
  • Shaping games with a clicker (can also result in your dog knowing even more tricks!)
  • Soothing massage and touch
  • Short on leash walks well away from other dogs, recommended 15-20 min per day and allowing your dog to do a significant amount of sniffing on these outings
  • Interactive feeding and puzzle games

Reactivity and overall stress and anxiety are closely linked. It’s important that your dog is allowed to calm down and “reset” after an incident where they reacted or were startled or injured by another dog.

 

These same calming activities can also be used with over excited or hyper dogs that don’t struggle with reactivity.

 

 

I've noticed dog classes where she gets an opportunity to practice calm sniffing, she is much calmer and better able to focus. I wonder if breeds inclined to sniff are more likely to be calmer overall because of such an instinct for a calming activity like sniffing?

 

She getting better at noseworks :) We have a practical class coming up soon.

 

 

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Yup! I've got the 101 book on the off chance I ever feel like attempting to get the titles :P I've already worked out we could ATD and possibly get the ETD...

 

Currently I am teaching her to rebound off me. As she does everything with enthusiasm and power...it's hurting me a lot more than her lol. Trying to get her to aim for my hips, NOT my stomach.

Edited by Thistle the dog

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Oh my dog, you're brave! I can fully picture her launching herself at you full throttle. :laugh:

 

I printed the trick dog thing off tonight and worked out we could get the novice level, lol.

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On 2/11/2017 at 10:21 PM, Papillon Kisses said:

I confess that I'm getting a bit fed up and weary. The heat probably doesn't help I know.

 

Apart from the odd good day, Mal's anxiety has been worsening. Apart from my arms his safe places are no longer safe. Nights are awful. He's barking more and set off by the slightest thing and can't settle.

 

Many tears have been shed.

 

I just want my little man to feel better, you know? And to be able to do simple things like open the windows to let in a cool breeze when the heat is oppressive, cook dinner and do the laundry. Last night I could only prep/cook while holding him in my arms with his calming cap on because Mr PK wasn't home to tag team. And hoping beyond hope that the smoke alarm wouldn't go off (we think we'll take out the batteries and rely on upstairs).

 

I've been thinking about getting a trainer in for additional help but I don't know how much that would help given that I think it's mostly a medication/medical issue. I'm a shit trainer but I do think I make good progress when he's actually in the headspace to learn. It's quite startling the difference between training a sick dog and a slightly healthier one. :(

 

He does have quality of life mainly from eating (lol) and nose work but f me it's exhausting. So exhausting. I'm constantly putting out spot fires.

 

I feel so sad for him. And tired. :cry: 

Don't come into this thread too often but, obviously, just have. 

Big hugs :heart:

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22 hours ago, Thistle the dog said:

Hello all. Radio silence means we're into a good routine. A recent study has come out that's interesting!

 

“Reactive Dogs and Exercise: Can modifying the daily exercise regime improve behaviour?”

 

LINK

 

Simple summary of the key findings by "Wheres your Sit" a dog training blog

 

 

 

I've noticed dog classes where she gets an opportunity to practice calm sniffing, she is much calmer and better able to focus. I wonder if breeds inclined to sniff are more likely to be calmer overall because of such an instinct for a calming activity like sniffing?

 

She getting better at noseworks :) We have a practical class coming up soon.

 

 

Hey Thistles Mum - long time no see. You've possibly seen this, your (bolded) comment made me think of it. https://denisefenzi.com/2015/08/10/acclimation/
 

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I'm sorry I don't have anything helpful to add PK.

 

Dozer has actually settled right into the new house. He loves racing around the yard having a good sniff.

 

We don't have any concerns about him going through or over the fences even though we haven't had a chance to put extra measures in place with adding shade cloth and bamboo screens (we'll get there).

 

He's even stopped peeking out the windows as much.

 

He now has claimed his spot on the couch in front of the air-conditioning unit and there he stays :rofl:

Papillon Kisses likes this

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