Evie Update: 3/2/22 It's now been 7 days, today, since I initially picked Evie up at the shelter for her foster 'term' with me... I chatted again with my friend (Cathy) who helps me to hone what I'm trying to do. We talked about the mouthing behavior again, because each time I 'layer in' a new set of protocols, the behavior changes. I've seen this on a lot of fronts, with her. Here's an update on the individual behaviors, but they're all intertwined, so it's sometimes difficult to separate them.
She is slowly getting to the point where she only barks to let me know she needs outside. Of course, sometimes when we get out there, she changes her mind and takes me back to the porch (it's okay, we just come back inside -- she'll learn.)
Yesterday, Evie started training in the house un-tethered in 2 rooms with me and Achmed, so long as her frustration level remained manageable (by 'manageable', I mean that if I tell her 'huh-uh', she stops. She's learning to THINK her way through problems this way -- it's conflict resolution.) I had to tell her 'huh-uh' ONE TIME in relation to the mouthing behavior. This morning, she got a little frustrated with Achmed, and started to mouth him.... I said 'huh-uh' and she stopped, but then redirected it to me... there was no 'thinking about it'; it was reflexive, so she couldn't control it. So I crated her for 10 minutes (time-out), now she's out again and much more calm. We'll be working on this stuff today, as well as the car thing. She LOVES diced ham... I bought a package, and I diced it up for use in the car exercises. Also, I ordered Wysong food for her, along with a supplement, just in case serotonin is playing a part in her frustration level. I always tell people to look at all three fronts when confronting a behavior issue: medical rule-outs, nutritional needs, and behavioral modification... I'm trying to hit it on all fronts. Some dogs (certain breeds are prone to this) have a tough time assimilating the nutrients necessary to produce serotonin, which lowers their available Serotonin (happy hormone) level... making sure that this isn't an issue will help me to know which avenue to take to fashion exercises. Again, it's hitting the problem on all fronts. It doesn't mean she'll need to be on this food for the rest of her life.... it just means that we'll have found a way to lessen her frustration level, if that's the case.
Humans approaching her crate... She now enters readily, but FREAKS OUT if she thinks someone is coming to open the door... she's learning that CALM behavior makes her crate door open (no one even looks in her direction when the MANIAC is in residence). this morning, I walked up the stairs, through the kitchen, and across the Dining Room floor where she was SITTING QUIETLY in her crate.
The no-pull harness came in, I figured out how to use it yesterday (I've never used one of these, but have had several people tell me about them). I LOVE this thing, and it's now in the running for that Special Place in my heart, for pully dogs. She's doing much better, sitting to let me put either the head collar or the no-pull harness on her, because she wants to go for a walk. She may figure out that walks are much more fun when the HUMAN is happy (no pulling), and this will help to get us there.
I noticed yesterday that my hands don't hurt anymore. Woo-Hoo!!
Evie has also developed a fear of my car... I've designed some exercises for that, as well. We'll be starting to work on that today, as well.
3/9/22 Day 14 in my home -- we're starting the third week.