Saturday, September 17, 2016

First Start

It's been all of four days since I decided to address this problem in earnest; we haven't done much but I feel the need to keep a record of what I have done and what is going on so I know what's working and what isn't.  Hopefully these plan posts will all have the same format....

This week we... 

...started a "Travel Log", recording all of my car rides with Ida, how far we go, average highway speed, weather conditions, whether she's in her thundershirt, etc.  The last four car trips have involved the fan running, radio on, and Ida wearing her thundershirt.  Talking to her seems to help as well. She gets fed treats in the car before the car starts moving and once the ride is done.  Shaking has still happened but is much reduced compared to before.

...played some pre-recorded traffic sounds (busy city street traffic noise and semi-trucks). She looked at my computer curiously for about 10 seconds and then went back to napping.

...started doing "open bar/closed bar" more in earnest.  Someone gave me the idea of throwing the treats on the ground rather than handing them to her one by one, and that seems to be helping.  I haven't increased her range yet (we've only done 3 sessions), but when we work on it, we move out to the edge of her range much faster and with more confidence.

I noticed...

... in reactivity class, she became less stressed by the other dogs when we were actively working on things instead of just letting her focus on the other dogs and how scary they were.  Will do this as confidence building as we move closer and closer to the main road.

This week I plan to...

... continue with open/closed bar desensitization.  I've come up with a few routes that I can use to

... hunt down calming chews but apparently they're just about impossible to find here; some stores didn't have any, and the stores that did carry them were out of stock when I visited.  Realised today that my vet carries some, but they're not open on weekends so that will have to wait until Monday.

...start doing short drives with the highest possible value treat that I can find.  Going to start just with backing down and driving up the driveway, possibly getting out in between, driving in a circle around the cul-de-sac, etc.  SHORT rides.

In the future I'd like to....
... practice basic obedience and tricks in new places where she's even the tiniest bit more reserved than she is at home in order to build general confidence.

... drive with some agility jumps to a nearby field.  (This is dual purpose - working on agility stuff will give her time to recover from the car ride while giving me the opportunity to build confidence in her agility skills).

... try DAP, especially for car-rides.

Alright.  We'll see how this goes....