Likes: Hey what yummy treats and bones are in my toy box?!
Pet-Peeves: Rainy days, Vaccuums, Tow trucks
Favorite Toy: A monkey that says OOOooooh when you squeeze it.
Favorite Food: B-A-N-A-N-A-S! and dingo bones and frosty paws (yogurt treats)
Favorite Walk: Hudson high school- watching baseball games, walking along the Assabett river trail to see all of the bird/wildlife activity
Best Tricks: Countdown to eat, Wave/Shake, Go to Bed, Touch hand, Touch shoe
Arrival Story: Tula was rescued from a Brooklyn NY junkyard. She had a hard time being kenneled and was given a severe behavior rating. Luckily, Bonnie's A Place for Us foster home took her in and I was able to find her through petfinder.com. We've been together since Oct. 07!
Bio: Tula is a reactive dog. Reactivity comes from anxiety and a feeling of uncertainty about something. Reactivity is an information-seeking strategy. A reactive dog will rush tward something or someone that he is uncertain about, barking, lunging, growling and making a big display. People sometimes perceive reactive behavior as aggression, but a reactive dog is not rushing in to do damage; he is attempting to assess the threat level of a given situation. His assessment strategy is intensified because he is panicking as the adrenaline flows through his body.People sometimes perceive reactive behavior as "dominance" because they view a dog that flies at his triggers as a dog that wants to take charge. This is absolutely not the case. Reactive dogs are anxious, and their response is intense because they are freaking out. (Lesley McDevitt, author of Controlled Unleashed).
We are and have been taking Reactive Dog Classes for a year. Emma Parsons, author of Click to Calm is our instructor at Master Peace Dog Training. Tula gets practice being in a controlled setting around other reactive dogs to learn how to focus and manage her reactions. She also gets a little animal massage therapy too. Julie Robitaille of Animal Wellness Massage Therapy has taught the class different massage techniques -which helps her learn relaxation, that people's touch is good, and can then be transferred to other stressful places such as the vets.
The video shows Tula in action in her Reactive Dog (at Gemini Dogs) where she is parallel walking next to other dogs without going over her threshold. This is HUGE for her. Yeah Tula!
Snow Fun - in this morning's walk
1. waking up at 5:30 to enjoy a quiet walk through the neighborhood
2. following cousin's norwood, little pawtracks- he's very smelly
3. seeing a fox, the fox seeing us and grrrrrrrrrring at it (good thing it took off)
4. walking by a black kitty crouched behind a snowbank and not seeing it
5. turning around to see the kitty run away -spinning around on my leash and grrrring at it
5. getting rowdy at snow plows
6. hopping through the big snow drifts, getting my leash wrapped around my leg
7. being so tired I sleep the rest of the day (ah yes)
All the regulars were back for the last class.. Edge, Otis, Jake, Shadow, Roswell and this time he brought his sister, Sarah along too. When I walked in, all the instructors told me how festive I looked in my fancy Xmas bandana. (I do look kind of cute) For some reason, there were a bunch of orange cones lined up and a gate stretching down the middle of the room. Ok, that's distracting when I'm trying to take a look to see who's here today. Who's that new girl next to Roswell? Never seen her before.. did she get that ok'd with Emma? Before you know it, a ruckus of snarking and hackles erupted. Not from me....it was Roswell, Sarah and Otis. Sarah doesn't know you're not suppose to do that... she'll learn.
Emma started class having us walk through those cones first. Easy. I like looking at everyone and back to my mommy for some chicken. Then it got a little harder. The next time, Jake the cairn terrier (who by the way, always takes a poop at class) was on the other side of the gate doing the same thing. Hey.. wait a minute! You can't move. So I stared him down and all of us my mommy stopped, made me focus on her, got some chicken *yum and we finished walking through the cones. Well that didn't seem too bad. Of course, I heard "Tula" your turn again. This time, the cones were shaped in a curve on one side. I was at one end and Roswell was at the other end on the other side. The curve shape helps dogs like me stay calm (or calmer) when another dog is approaching head on. My mommy even speeded up-- why, I want to take my time. How am I suppose to see who's doing what?! Once again, she'd give me chicken. I'll do about anything for Chicken. We weaved through the cones, Roswell weaved through his, but we went too fast for me to really give me a chance to get rowdy. That must of been a good job, the instructors were very proud of me.
Now what's next.. Emma wanted to practice looking at my mommy's eyes without a cue AND in front of everyone (she calls them, distractions). My mommy stood in front of me with her arm out to the side, holding a piece of chicken. I looked at the chicken, looked around the room, looked back at the chicken.... nothing. What else can I do? I know.. look at my mommy's eyes. CLICK. GOT THE CHICKEN! Ok, piece of cake. I mean chicken:)
The other thing we worked on was staying behind. I guess when my mommy stands in front to show me she's in control of the situation. My job is to just sit, stand or lay down and stay behind her. Let's see, I'll choose laying down. I heard,"STAY", CLICK, and she'd reach down to give me.. chicken. Reactive class is fun- I get to see other dogs, learn new things, and best of all, get lots of chicken. Sign me up for the next session!
Ok, we still went to class (which is a good 30 minute drive) even though it was pouring rain. I hate the rain-- why does she insist on making me walk in it. Then she bribes me with a little chicken and I guess that's worth it. When we got there, only 2 other dogs braved the weather. Emma wanted us to practice walking and jumping and exercising on this stuff. Why do I want to jump over a pole? Or weave in and out ? And what's with this ladder thing on the floor? I didn't like that teeter totter board either. Everyone was watching me too... Roswell and Shadow. It's easier for cattle dogs and Australian Shepards to leap over and through everything. For some reason, we also practiced laying down on our sides. It's suppose to help me if the vet wants to x-ray me or something. But, my mommy tricked me by having me lay down on the floor and follow this piece of chicken to my knees. It made me lean back and then she'd say, "where's your belly?". I guess that means she wants me to rub my belly and give me chicken. Hmmm... I can do that. Then, Julie came by - she's always massaging the stuffed dog in class to show my mommy what to do to me. Then I heard the words, superstar...that's right, she called me a SUPERSTAR b/c I look to my mommy to pet me, I let her rub my belly, and massage all the way down my back. Back in the day (when I didn't know any better) it kind of scared me when people would reach down or get so close. Oh, life is so rough now.