Day 2 and the Aftermath

16 Apr

So long overdue, but here we go.

Day 2 of the KPA workshop was substantially better than the first. I made a plan and executed it, and both Emma and I were much better off for it.

We got to the space first. I left her in the car while I set up her area with a double-barrier and a crate at a further distance away from everyone else. I took my time bringing her in and did some LAT and simple exercises outside, then by the front door, then just inside the front door, and in slow approximations inside. Then we had a lovely short session with Steve (our instructor) and she was happy to do hand targets with him for treats, and took treats from him (woohoo!). After that I brought her into the workshop room and walked around as everyone set up and played LAT non stop. Unfortunately by this point she was a bit worked up and just wanted to work for food. Fortunately, we went right into working with the dogs so she got to burn off some steam.

I was able to keep her inside her crate with the door open. It worked out well for her, as she felt close to me, not confined, but was able to be guarded from Steve and the other dogs by the barriers.

By about hour 2 or 3 she was fried. She had had too much food over the day and a half, and I think the stress was just getting to her. She started slowing down, muss less enthusiastic about food, and beginning to relax from sheer exhaustion.

Towards the end of the day she actually schlumped off and fell asleep in her crate. She was also finally able to eat her Kong, and I could see how much the licking behavior was helping her to calm down. She was still edgy and barking at dogs here and there, and would give Steve a piece of her mind whenever she caught sight of him. What worried me the most was that by the end of the day she was refusing to take food from anyone but me. I’d like to think it was because she was just so full I was the only person she was willing to eat for, and not that she was so stressed she wasn’t eating. If I need to remind you, she’s eaten cat litter without kitty crunchies, she’s eaten a bag of warming beads, she’s torn my TV off the wall in an attempt to get to an empty bag of treats, and she’s never turned her nose up to anything I’ve ever given her (including whole prey, and a variety of pills and supplements).

Unfortunately, Emma was not able to participate in the assessments at the end of day 2. We needed to do some shaping with an object. I knew she was done when she just sat and looked at me. She’s usually incredibly happy to work and moves non stop (which you can see here) so seeing her just barely able to keep her head up and trying her darnedest to make me happy, my heart burst a little and I approached Steve about it. He was really awesome and a fellow trainee let me work with her dog to complete my assessment.

Needless to say Emma slept the whole way home.

So now that we’re home I have bad news to share. Emma’s brought her newfound reactivity home with her. She’s been barking at dogs we’ve seen on the street, which she’s NEVER done, and she refused food from a stranger we met (I asked him to give her a treat when he stopped to ask me about the pups, which I do all the time). I was hoping she was still full and stressed from the workshop. So Emma’s now on a 2 week shutdown period. Unfortunately, we have some dogs staying with us. Fortunately, they’re letting her alone and she’s sleeping a lot.

And I just have to share that the day after the workshop she pooped seven times.  And five times the day after. Normally she poops once every 2 days. Just to give you an idea of how much she ate!

So I’ve also decided to work with Charlie from here on out. He’s a loud, vocal PITA to work with, but I know he loves workshop environments, can and will work ’til he drops, doesn’t have marked reactivity to dogs, no reactivity to people, and has LOTS of experience under his belt. All I have to say to my fellow trainees is: you’ve been warned!! Now I need to figure out what to do with Emma when we go to the next 3 workshops. I can’t leave her with my mom because Emma’s nervous around her husband, and that’s not a situation I can put her in. I may need to keep her with my friend who also has a dog, but he can be reckless (he likes to walk his dog off leash) and take things lightly, so I’ll need to really drum into him what the rules are with her. I can’t bring her to any daycare center because I don’t trust that they’ll watch her the way she needs to be watched, and I can’t trust they’ll be sensitive to her issues. Tigress will go to my mom.

And just a cute picture of Emma and Tigress.

Our current craziness. Emmas not pictured. She likes to stay out of the dog pile.

6 Responses to “Day 2 and the Aftermath”

  1. Anna April 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    All in all sounds like a productive day two. I can’t relate with much as I have never been in such an environment. Luna has been at tons of shows and hunt tests though and does well after she gets past the whole waiting thing. She never relaxes enough to lay down, though I never provide her with a chance to do so really as we are not there long enough. I do know that she likes to just bark after she’s getting frustrated with something (I know you can relate) or just wants the treat. It would be interesting for sure. I really should take some classes with her added bonus would be her coming home worn out from the mental stimulation. I enjoyed the post, informational for sure. Hope you can find someone to watch Emma.

  2. Kari April 17, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Glad to hear day two went better 🙂


  3. houndstooth4 April 17, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    I’m sorry Emma had such a rough time of things! Hopefully she’ll regain some equilibrium as she gets used to being home again!

  4. Kristine April 18, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    Poor Emma, that really sucks. I’m so sorry it all ended so poorly for the two of you. But I have to congratulate you on making smart decisions and putting your dog’s needs first. She will bounce back I am sure. It’s just a minor setback. *hugs* I’m sorry nothing went as well as you hoped.

  5. Aleksandra April 18, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    i agree with kristine — you gave it your best shot, and in the end you realized that it was too much too fast for emma. i hope the poor lady is back to her sweet self after she recuperates!
    and that last shot of the dog tangle makes my heart quiver. if our chick were in a tangle like that, i don’t think things would go well. kudos to you for being able to manage four dogs in one leash clump!

  6. Lindsay April 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    I think she will be OK on her usual walks and accepting treats from strangers once she is back into her usual routine again. She’s so lucky to have an understanding owner.

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