Tuesday, February 9, 2010

feb 8 2010: successes

So many of these posts are about Vanya's challenges. But he's also had tons of successes, so here's a quick list of things that used to trigger a stress reaction and now do not. Thanks to Control Unleashed, DS and CC, and tons of cheezwhiz.
Current Triggers
  • off-leash dog (some)
  • on-leash dog (some)
  • the city
  • person approaching in the city--he's not afraid, but he sure does want to greet them, and if he can't, he sometimes whines and struggles
  • bikes & runners zipping by in the city
  • slowing down when we're driving or turning (are we there yet??)
  • lights reflecting on the cabin skylight
  • 6 people in the tiny cabin eating dinner off the coffee table and then he finishes his bone and people are still eating. At nose height. That's hard. He whines.
OK, he's not always calm. But look at all the things that used to flip him out and no longer do ------

Former Triggers: 
ones in blue elicited fear or hyper-sensitivity
ones in green elicited zoomies/hyper-play/way over excitement
ones in pink elicited being a PESt and screaming for what he wanted
ones in red elicited aggression or guarding
  • baths--oh the screams and dancing away when I first tried
  • someone eating in front of him: FEED ME NOW!!!!he would shriek and launch himself into the diner's lap
  • someone eating upstairs when he had been put downstairs after being a pest and leaving his mat
  • being left alone: now he snoozes, no SA
  • a piece of cloth touching his back (when I first tried to get goose poop off him)
  • booties for the snow, jacket for snow
  • nail clipping
  • bikes & runners going by the farm
  • vans with kids and car seats
  • people trying to get him out of cars 
  • people coming near him when he found a bone
  • people grabbing his collar
  • people pulling him away from stolen chicken feed
  • noises in the woods
  • noises on the street
  • noises in the basement
  • waves on the shore
  • deer, rabbits, chickens, any critters
  • people coming to the farm 
  • people leaving the farm
  • people driving by the farm and not stopping
  • the maillady
  • the UPS guy
  • the FedEx guy not so much
  • spending his first night in our new house
  • snow
  • skis
  • snowmobiles passing him while sking
  • pulling a sled behind him
  • a noisy, goofy little girl
  • people touching his eyes, ears, toes, back
  • Frank hugging him or restraining him
  • anyone leaving: PET ME NOW!
  • anyone coming:  PET ME NOW!
  • anyone petting him: YIPPIE!!!!
  • anyone walking by:  PET ME NOW!
  • anyone playing with him: YIPPIE!!!!
  • the vet
  • tug
  • walks
Ok, a lot of this was just intense excitement at getting out of the shelter and into a new environment. He took a while to settle. 

To work on his overall arousal levels, we did the following:
  • Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol
  • Zen games
  • mat work
  • shaping tiny approximations of the desired calm behavior, especially starting with nose targets (ie, if nail clipping or eye drops were going to freak him out, I started by having him target the clippers or eye dropper)
  • Off Switch games in CU
  • Give me a Break in CU (but I was never sure I really understood those--still trying)
  • Lots of default sit work
  • Freeze tag: an off switch game
  • Nose work: at first just scattering his kibble in the grass, then food puzzle games, eventually home-grown tracking work which we still try to do often
  • wrapping him up tightly at night (not in an anxiety wrap, just in a blanket--what a difference that made with night startles
  • melatonin when he was waking up a lot at night and scanning the ceiling
  • L-theamine now
  • lots of long, slow walks in the woods where he could be off leash and sniff around
  • lots of wandering around in the our fields, orchard and prairie
  • lots of hanging out under the trees reading (well, I read; he chews his bones--he's smart but not that smart)

No comments:

Post a Comment