Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Behavior Eval

So, I took Sagan up today to meet Christine at Companion Animal Solutions.  It was nice meeting her and she had lots of nice suggestions about how to deal with Sagan's fear.  Her diagnosis is that he is "conflicted"....curious, but fearful, and that we have been pushing him too far, too fast.  That basically, Sagan has lost faith in us as handlers because we keep putting him in fearful situations.

I appreciated the honest assessment, but I can't help but be struck by the fact that if what we've been doing is wrong, there are going to be a lot of EFFed up dogs in the world.  And here we are, with another project dog, which is *exactly* what we thought we wouldn't be getting, since we know he was socialized well as a pup.  Blah.  I also felt about this appointment the way I felt about Winnie's fear aggression appts.  I felt great while there, and then the enormity of orchestrating all of these situations, and controlling all of the variables REALLY overwhelmed me once I was home.  Where I am going to find strangers (not people he has met) to help me for long enough to do counterconditioning exercises?  I know what I need to do, I'm just not sure how well I'm going to be able to do it.

So, he is on the shy end of the shy/bold spectrum, and is showing fear toward lots of things.  This fear needs to be addressed.  Repeatedly, constantly with treats and clicker.  Wrapping my head around this project.

On a lighter/more fun note, Sagan is totally playing fetch now, and will blow bubbles in the water dish if we stick a piece of cardboard in the water.  Is this considered waterboarding a dog? :-)


  1. I am glad you had a nice visit with Christine. She is very down to earth and smart, to boot!

    Maybe the take-away on this is to just approach the situations you have been working on, but from a slightly different angle? (ie going to Petco do LAT, instead of greetings? or when you go to the park on your low-stress walks, do LATs on purpose when he sees people?) You are both very smart people: smart enough to brainwash a baby BC even!

  2. Yeah, we'll figure something out. For now, I think we are just eliminating hand feeding and trying to stay under threshold (when possible). He is OK with about 70-80% of people, which is better than he used to be, so maybe he is already starting to generalize on his own.