Monday, May 17, 2010

Continuing to Challenge her Label

Tonight was session two of the Performance Dog Conditioning class (and I promise to post about the exercises later this week). Last time we were there, she did a really good job of managing her stress, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that she did really well this week too... but I was. This is largely because she was quite easily aroused this weekend, and mildly reactive while on a hike at the state park yesterday. As a precaution, I gave her some Rescue Remedy, and sprayed her mat with D.A.P. Do these things actually work? Well, I know that Rescue Remedy helps me feel a bit calmer, but whether that's a placebo effect or not, I have no idea.

Anyway, magical supplements or not, she was a great dog! She was much calmer this week. Her mouth stayed much softer, with only one or two instances of sharky treat taking. She was soft through her body, with a loosely wagging tail most of the time. She did need to play Look At That a few times- it took on an almost frantic quality- but she quickly calmed down and returned to her mat once I increased the rate of reinforcement. She also gave a few soft wuffs, but they were in response to another dog in class who was occasionally vocalizing.

There was only one concerning moment. We were sitting next to a little Sheltie. I had Maisy's mat on my left, and the Sheltie was about three feet to my right. I also had Maisy's bag of treats sitting kind of behind me on the right side. At one point, the little Sheltie strayed a bit close to me, and Maisy lunged at him. However, it was a completely silent lunge, and based on the way she moved, I really believe it was more of a resource guarding behavior than a reactive one.

Maisy was also wonderfully affiliative with the instructor, all loose body movements and helicopter tails when the instructor praised Maisy's core strength. I guess Maisy's as proud of her abs as I am!


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

yay Maisy! I look forward to hearing more great news too! I've never used rescue remedy but I have a DAP diffuser for Vito at home. Not sure if it helped or not since I started it the same time I also started doing our SA program. Research shows it's pretty effective though.

Crystal said...

Yeah, I think there's more research for the DAP overall, although from what I've read, it doesn't work for every dog. Last summer, Maisy and I were at a trial and she was an absolute reactive nut... Sara lent us some DAP and she calmed down. A lot. So, that's at least some anecdotal evidence on its behalf.

As for the Rescue Remedy... it calms my ring nerves some, but I have no idea if it helps her or not.

No matter what's working... she was so much calmer this week it was amazing!

M.T. said...

Hooray Maisy!!! Progress is always so heartening! :)