We had another good training session that included Lucy’s attitude towards Raina. Lucy showed a lot of avoidance, but afterwards when Raina came sniffing around her crate, Lucy growled at her. The only correction Lucy had before was two days ago with only one e-collar on the highest setting. I felt that this wasn’t effective enough as she didn’t seem overly concerned with it. Luckily, I had gone ahead and put two e-collars on Lucy this morning.
She growled at Raina, I pushed the button and nothing seemed to happen. She continued growling, so I said no. When I did, Lucy turned her head and suddenly got the full impact of both collars. There was a yelp of surprise, but the aggression stopped immediately. Raina had walked away, and Lucy had been effectively corrected.
When Raina walked back toward the crate again, Lucy actually got up and went to the opposite end of the crate and curled up so that she could be as far away from Raina as possible. Now I can begin having more and more positive conversations with Lucy.
I was pleasantly surprised today by Lucy. After having a day of correction yesterday and good night’s sleep, this morning as Raina walked passed Lucy’s crate I noticed Lucy turn her head away from Raina and avoid looking at her. This is exactly what I am looking for. After a correction of the right kind – when it comes to dogs who are aggressive towards anything (dogs, people, cats, etc.) – most dogs go into avoidance. Lucy was avoiding Raina. I took this opportunity to work with her and reward her for this decision.
I had my daughter, Raina’s owner, play with Raina in close proximity to Lucy’s crate. I wanted to make sure that Raina was close, but not too close, as to allow Lucy the freedom to make the right choices. Too much too fast can create a lot of pressure and stress that leads to frantic, wrong choices. Unfortunately, with Raina, this is difficult. She is a 14 year old nearly blind dog who is genuinely clueless. We did the best we could. Each
Each time Raina would come close to Lucy’s crate for a high value treat, we would watch and wait for Lucy’s reaction. If there was no growling, or lip curling, and if she seemed to avoid or ignore Raina, she was rewarded with her own high value treat. This is just a beginning though.
We will be adding to this reward system, demanding more from Lucy. Although she was avoiding Raina, and although there was no growling or lip curling, there was still stiffness in her body and a harder look in her eyes. Her rewards are going to be more difficult to access. In the coming days, she will only be rewarded if we see a softening of the eyes and/or body, and building on that.
Because it is the safest way of handling this right now, we are only working with Lucy while she is in the crate. Next week, I hope to move this outdoors where there is a lot of room. Lucy will be on a long leash, attached to the prong collar, and wearing two e-collars while Raina is in the back yard. The goal will be to keep them separated while keeping an eye Lucy and her body language – correcting when necessary, and rewarding for right choices.
As far as obedience goes, Lucy is doing pretty doggone good. Since most occurrences of her acting up are from her crate and toward Raina, we spent some time “setting her up” to try to correct it. At first (before I thought to record), Lucy actually avoided Raina for a couple passes – she wouldn’t even look at her. It didn’t last long at all.
As we continued working with her, it became obvious that my suspicions were correct. If you’ve been keeping up with Lucy’s story, you will remember that I was worried about her e-collar having high enough levels to correct her. It doesn’t. What I have decided to do is to give it a break for the day and try again tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be putting two e-collar on her to see if that has a better affect. If not, there is another collar that I can order with high levels. (This collar only has low to medium levels.)
On the other hand, Lucy has repeatedly shown me that she can make a change after sleeping on the events that have occurred. After a good night’s sleep tonight, she may make better choices tomorrow.
I am seeing a big difference in Lucy and her willingness to obey. Before, if I asked her to sit and wait at the door before letting her outside, and if I didn’t have a leash on her, she would just turn around and walk away – her way of saying no. Now she is very compliant. She sits and waits in her crate for permission to come out, and she sits and waits at the door before coming in or going out. We’re still dealing with her pushiness when it comes to wanting to be pet – especially with my husband.
Lucy has been with us for almost two weeks now. This is when most dogs really start to show me the real them. In the last couple of days, there has been an increase in growling and barking when our little Pomeranian, Raina, walks past Lucy’s crate – especially when Lucy is lying down. This next week will be focused on her attitude towards Raina.
After last night’s incident, today Lucy has been geting very minimal attention. This has led to a small struggle – especially when she is ouside of her crate. When she is outside of the crate, Lucy just wants to be pet and loved. She really insists on it. So in order to avoid that insisting pushiness that she practices, when she is outside of the crate, she spends her time either in the down command or in the place command. Her desire to have somebody pet her and pay attention to her is so strong that it causes her to shiver. This is just her struggling with controlling herself. She has probably had less affection today than she has had since arriving.
Since the snap came as a result of Lucy not wanting to leave the crate, we practiced crate drills. She learned that when I ask her to come out of her crate, that she has to leave. When I ask her to go into the crate, she must do it. Additionally, when she is outside of the crate, the door to her crate is closed. This keeps her from having the freedom to go in at will and having more issues. This is one way that we are working towards a permission-based training relationship.
We took another walk to the end of the driveway today. She did much better. I hope to finish the week out walking to the end of the driveway and begin going to the park next week. Lucy is always noticeably happier after a walk.
I am going to include before and after pictures of Lucy’s ears at the very end of this post. They are doing incredibly well. In fact, I have decided to give her a break as far as spraying them goes. Since I’m no longer spraying them, she is no longer needing to shake her head. This should help the wound on the outside of her ear to heal more quickly too. I will take this time to actually work on her skin and get it to heal up more quickly – I hope.
This morning, Lucy slept in. I got up as usual and let all of the dogs out (except her – she goes out separately when I don’t have time to babysit), rushed to the kitchen to get breakfast ready for my daughter and to get the coffee started. It was at this moment that I realied that I hadn’t even lookedinto Lucy’s crate as I walked by. I immediately realized just how quiet she was being. Not a sound. She hadn’t given me reason to look into her crate. I looked in, and she was sleeping. I finished up what I was doing in the kitchen and took her outside, sprayed her ears and leg with ACV, and waited on her to do her thing. When she came back in, she went right back to her crate, and went right back to sleep with the door open.
When it was time to feed all the dogs, she was still sleeping. I made her breakfast and set it on top of the crate. She slept. I fed the other dogs. She slept. I finally put her breakfast in with her and closed the door. She ate the entire thing. I removed the bowl and left her door open. She went back to sleep.
This could be one or a combination of several things. 1) She is finally relaxing. 2) She is detoxing and is tired. 3) She didn’t sleep well. 4) She is getting into a routine. I really believe that it is 5) All of the above.
Wanna talk about the happiest dog on the planet? Although I’ve only worked on heel with Lucy in the backyard once, with all the mud, I really didn’t want to work back there today. Instead, I took her up the driveway and out to the mailbox and back. She did a great job for this being her first time with so many distractions. She was clearly nervous on our way to the mailbox, but loosened up quite a bit on our way back. There were lots of distractions – chickens, neighbor’s dogs, and Aaron and Israel were outside working on Israel’s car. I found that her e-collar level with distractions is pretty stinking high – in the 60’s. I’m hoping that 100 is actually high enough to correct her for serious infractions – like going after a small dog.
…And I got to test whether 100 is high enough. Tonight, just before heading to bed, I let all of the dogs out to go potty. When it was her turn, she did not want to leave the crate. I finally just reached in (I knew better). My intention was to grab the strap of her collar and give gentle guidance. She didn’t let me get that far. She snapped at me. I am thankful that the e-collar was still on her. I told her no, and turned it all the way up to 100. She did not react like most dogs do to that strength, but she did take it as a correction and came out of her crate. I’m thinking I may have to either get a more powerful collar, or just add a second one to her neck.
We got outside, and sprayed her ears with the peroxide, did some obedience work and let her potty. When we came in, I did some more obedience work with her, and we ran through some crate drills. Now that we have a new crate issue, crate drills will become a daily occurrence. Additionally, she is officially getting any extra affection and freedom taken from her. There will be no more time spent in the office with Aaron, and her day is going to be completely permission based.
I am noticing something interesting with Lucy. When we have done anything with her during the day, she may seem to resist it, but after a good night’s sleep, it’s like it all clicks. There was one two days ago, we had trouble with her barking and whining when she was in the crate – demanding to come out. We refused to let her out until she was calm for a period of time. Yesterday morning and this morning, when I come out of the room and begin my day, she is laying in her crate relaxing. There is no whining, now expectation of leaving, and no demands to leave.
We took some things away from her yesterday. She tried getting on the couch without permission several times. We did not allow it. I put her in down, and she tried getting up several times; I did not allow it. Her favorite thing to do is to get in your face and demand that you pet her. When this happened with anybody in the family, they told her no, and she walked away. In the long run, this is going to help with her bossy, bratty side.
Today we had our first thunderstorm since Lucy arrived. Her owner had told me that she was afraid of them, and that normally she was allowed to sleep at the foot of the bed at those times. She did pretty good during this one. She was in the kennel where she was forced to just lie down and remain calm. The thunder definitely made her take notice, and there was a little panting, but her anxiety passed really pretty quickly. She chose to sleep through the majority of the storm.
In knew Lucy has been whining, barking, and howling after I leave the house, but she is usually in her crate when she does that. Today, I had to take Lucky to the park to work with him. It was a beautiful day, so I opted to leave my dogs out in the yard and let Lucy roam the front of the house with the office door open so that she could get to Aaron if she wanted. As soon as I got to the park, he texted me to let me know that the howling had begun. I was shocked. I asked him if she could get to him, and he said, “She walked to me while howling.” He then called me to tell me the rest of the story. When she got into his office, she sat there whining. He decided to try ignoring her. Eventually she stopped, but then she sat staring at him. He ignored her. She lifted her paw and put it on his arm. He pet her. Haha. When I got home, she was in her crate again, because Aaron couldn’t get any work done.
The more time we spend with her, the more I see that she needs lots of structure. She knows how to push until she gets what she wants. This means she is not going to be getting much of what she wants at all. Instead, she will only be doing the things she wants with permission. Her life is going to be a very strict permission based lifestyle for the next 90 days (if she’s with us that long).
I allowed Lucy to be outside with the other large dogs (Marvel, Shoshi, and Goober) today. She did just fine. We transferred that into the house with everybody in their place. There were zero issues. I will continue this, but it will always be under very close supervision.
Lucy started formal training today with both the prong collar and the e-collar. My intention was to only work on heel and sit, but her pushiness has caused me take it further. Today, the e-collar was incorporated into all commands. We worked on heel. She did wonderfully. She picked up very quickly on the idea of sitting each time we stopped. We worked on sit. I introduced her to place and we began working on distance and duration. Everytime I tried to leave the room, she tried to follow. After about the third time, she finally gave up and just fell asleep in her place.
When she is in her crate and thinks she’s been in there long enough, she stands up and whines or barks. Today she has been corrected with a no, and a stimulation on the prong collar until she lies back down. (A calm body = a calm mind.) She insists the e-collar level be a little high, but there is plenty of room to go higher for the major offenses.
Lucy’s ears and arm continue to heal. Up until yesterday, I was spraying them four times a day with dilluted apple cider vinegar. Yesterday I only sprayed them three times. Today, twice. I’m going to keep it at twice a day for a while (maybe three times for her leg). I can now see into her ear canal without lifting her ear up. It’s amazing how much the swelling has gone down. Her canal still has a “wet” look to it, so I know there is more that needs to happen. Once it seems that has gone away, I will use the vinegar at night, before bed only.
Lexi has a new name. Aaron and I continually catch ourselves calling her Lucy, and when anybody does call her Lexi, all I hear is Roxie. So her new name is Lucy. Since both names are so similar, she is already responding to the new name.
We’re starting to see Lucy’s real feelings towards other dogs. Yesterday, as Raina – our little Pomeranian – walked past Lucy’s crate, Lucy came unglued. She snarled, lunged, growled, and bark. This morning, she barked at Goober, our Malinois mix as he walked past her crate. The one thing that both incidents had in common is the bowl of food that was in Lucy’s crate with her. So far, I’m leaning towards the issue being one of resource guarding.
Lucy’s e-collar is here! Her official formal training starts tomorrow. I will be working on heel, sit, and down. The e-collar will only be used with heel for the first day or two. I am really looking forward to this, and I think she will appreciate it too.
I am see more healing in Lucy’s skin everyday. The skin on her leg is pink again instead of red. The swelling in her ears continues to decrease, and the mucousy stuff is gone. I have decided to go ahead and switch her food now instead of waiting until the bag is empty. I think that is going to help speed up the healing process. I’m going to see if the local humane shelter will take a donation of an open bag of food. If not, I will post on Facebook to see if anybody wants it.
Oh my. Aaron is Lexi’s favorite person… As long as his office door is open she is in and out. Sometimes she stays for a while. As for me…right now she doesn’t love me so much. Probably because I’m the one who does all the things she hates – putting medicine on her wounds, putting her collar on her, making her go back into her crate when it’s time…
Up until now, I have been giving Lexi free run of the front end of the house when I have her out of her crate. I am still rotating dogs so that everybody else is in a different room when she is out. I’m hoping to try introducing her to my other dogs in a week or two. Her e-collar did come in today, but due to other priorities (training Lucky, personal household cleaning and cooking – Fridays are my big household days), I was unable to work with her as far as training goes. Monday will be her first official day of training.
After talking with her previous owner, I decided it was time to go ahead and bathe Lexi. She stinks to high heaven, and with her skin condition (that I’ll explain better in a bit), I thought it was better to let her suffer the colder weather now so that she could heal more quickly, than to wait for warmer weather in her itchy, painful condition. I took her to the back yard and bathed her with a new soap* I had just ordered. (This stuff is amazing. It lathers quickly and well, rinses quickly, smells wonderful, and has health benefits.) After her bath, I sprayed her several times with diluted apple cider vinegar. She was fantastic. She tried to walk away a couple of times when I was rinsing her off, but for the most part, she just patiently stood there and took it. I think it actually made her feel better.
Lexi is still becoming more and more comfortable with us. Today, I have noticed her sleeping well enough that she has actually been dreaming (she is, what I assume to be, running in her sleep). When she had to potty, she actually paced the house and went to Aaron whining asking to go out. I no longer need to walk off of the porch with her into the yard to get her to go potty. And she is happy to see everybody as they come home.
Lexi’s Health Issues:
Lexi has a candida (yeast) buildup. It is showing itself through itchy, dry skin, through patches of built up yeast that have cracked open and becoming weeping wounds, in her swollen, itchy ears, and in her smelly skin. The thing that causes candida is an imbalance of bacteria in her gut. There are two types of bacteria – the bad stuff that causes yeast, and the good stuff that fights off not only the bad bacteria, but also disease.
What causes the imbalance? Ususally diet. Raw diet is always best for dogs, but if that isn’t possible, grain-free, high protein kibble is the best. Do your research. Find out what ingredients should and shouldn’t be in your dogfood.*
I am using a combination of antioxidants, enzymes, and probiotics (1 billion colony) in Lexi’s food.* As soon as she finishes the bag of dog food that was provided from her previous owner, I will be changing her diet to a kibble that is healthier. Topically, I am spraying the itchy places and her ears with 50% diluted unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is anti-fungal and works to kill the fungus that causes yeast infections. After three to four days of using the vinegar, I will work on the wounds themselves and getting them to heal. For that, I will use Ox-e-drops.
I started using the antioxidants, enzymes, and probiotics on day one, and I have to say that there is absolutely healing going on. On day one, there was so much swelling in Lexi’s really bad ear that I couldn’t see into it. Today, not only can I see into it, but I was able to take a picture of the inside of her ear. It’s gross, but with applications of apple cider vinegar, it should clear up pretty quickly. Almost all of the swelling has gone down in Lexi’s other ear. (I wish I had thought to take before pictures of her ears.)