Dear Shannon: Reactive Lizzie

Reactivity - to other dogs, strangers, bikes, skateboards. I've worked with her myself, and tried a couple different trainers and attended a reactive dog class, and she isn't as bad as when we first adopted her. But it seems like I mostly just manage it, and muddle through. If we see another dog while we are out walking, she doesn't bark and lunge (I will cross the street to the other side or step 10 feet off the trail so we aren't too close) but she zeroes in on the other dog with the border collie stare and lays down in the border collie crouch until the other dog passes, then she pulls as hard as she can to get to where the dog has been so she can sniff. She is very reactive to strangers, barking and lunging, but once she gets to know them, she is pretty good with them. I have to warn people to never put their face near hers because that really sets her off.  We have a neighbor that she did not like when we first moved to our house and he started giving her treats whenever he saw her and now she [...]

By |2020-11-04T20:38:05+00:00January 30th, 2017|Dear Shannon|0 Comments

Yorkie Mom

Dear Shannon, My Yorkie is losing her hearing and her eyesight. She barks (and barks and barks…for about 15-20 minutes at a time) at any loud noise or sudden movement. I’ve tried to redirect her attention, show her there is nothing to bark at, tell her to stop barking, beg her to stop barking… I just don’t know what else to do… please help before I lose my mind. Dear Yorkie Mom, Losing hearing and sight is scary for anyone and dogs are no different. Your letter does not name any specific times that she barks but if you can identify any “regular” triggers it can helpful. If you can predict when she will be startled, you can either prevent her from hearing it (move her to another room, distract her, etc.) or you may be able to prevent it from happening (if it is sound that you make). In your letter, you also did not mention how old your Yorkie is. If she is losing her hearing and sight, I am assuming she is getting older. If this is the case, you should also have her examined by a veterinarian to rule out any possible cognitive issues like [...]

By |2020-11-04T20:43:01+00:00May 12th, 2016|Dear Shannon|0 Comments

Fight, Flight or Freeze

When you are scared, how do you respond? If someone tried to steal your car, would you put up a fight, would you speed away or would you freeze? In that moment, you would not be using your “rational”, “thinking” brain, you would be in “survival mode”. You may have the same reaction to a snake, spider, needles, or anything else that you are afraid of. Did you know that dogs will respond in much the same way when they are afraid? Unfortunately, we don’t always recognize when our dogs are having a fearful reaction. The dog that “fights” when it is afraid (growls, barks, lunges) is labeled “aggressive”. The dog that runs away is called “skittish” and the dog that freezes can be called “lazy” or “stubborn”. Once we recognize that these dogs are experiencing fear, we can start looking for what is triggering the reaction. At that point we can work on removing the label and begin truly helping the dog. In many cases, these behaviors can be changed but it is important to remember that these behaviors are a reaction to fear. It is critical that you are patient and use positive, force free techniques to [...]

By |2020-11-04T20:46:30+00:00February 21st, 2015|Blog of the Week, Dear Shannon|0 Comments

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