Sunday, June 26, 2011

Recheck with the Veterinary Behaviorist: More Videos

I hope you all don't mind more videos! The difference between the two videos in my last post is so dramatic that I didn't want to detract from them by including extra ones, but I have more that I want to share!

Bike Reactivity
One of Maisy's triggers has always been motion- whether it's a dog running or a bike whizzing past, it's usually unsettling. In the interest of full disclosure, this was one of the areas where we'd made great progress with behavior mod alone. Still, she occasionally had trouble with motion, as this video from last fall indicates:

Since adding medication to the mix, though, she's doing much better with bikes. She's still not entirely comfortable with them (notice how her body stills when she sees them, and how her tail goes up as the pass), but she doesn't feel the need to lunge at them anymore!

Encountering Novel Objects
Maisy has also always struggled with novelty and sudden environmental changes. I was fortunate enough to catch this on tape last fall when we went on our usual walk through the neighborhood only to discover a couch on the side of the road! As you'll see, she's quite cautious to approach the couch, and normal road noises (which she didn't usually find upsetting) caused her to jump.

Compare that to this video I took just a few weeks ago. In it, we encounter a large waste bin in our alley that hadn't been there before. Although she's still cautious, it's much less pronounced than it was with the couch. She approaches, checks it out, and that's that.

Strange/Trigger Dogs
I don't have any good before video, but I have two great videos of Maisy around “trigger dogs.” Maisy was pretty reliably unnerved by large, dark dogs with prick ears- Dobermans, German Shepherds, and Bouviers, for example. In fact, the first dog she ever demonstrated reactivity toward was a Great Dane, so I consider them the ultimate challenge. As it happened, I was going for a walk with a friend, and she had invited another friend with a Great Dane.

It did not end in disaster like I thought it might, although Maisy did lunge at the dog once. It felt horrible at the time, but when I reviewed the video, it didn't seem that bad at all. No barking or growling, and she recovered pretty quickly. In fact, she even laid down about 90 seconds later! She wasn't entirely comfortable (her body is tense, her tail is low, and she's panting mildly), but I still think this is a pretty big deal.

And here's a second video, about 45 minutes later. She's still alert, but more relaxed than in the previous video. She also deserved WAY MORE COOKIES for her behavior here- total mom fail. It was kind of funny, actually, because as we were watching this video at Maisy's appointment, I sighed and said, “I needed to give more cookies,” and Dr. Duxbury kind of laughed and said, “I was just thinking that!”

I am so, so proud of how my little dog is doing. She's improved so much since beginning meds that I can't believe it sometimes. We are now able to do things that I never dreamed possible- hanging out in a group? Unreal. And yet very real. Medication has changed our lives.

1 comment:

Annieke said...

AWESOME! :-D Don't know what else to say. What a great job from both of you!