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Crossed Wires

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Shadow

Lets GO
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 22, '12 7:16am PST 
I had Shadow in for yet another vet appointment. I really dread those but some of the findings are interesting. Shadow will be spayed shortly, her heart is strong enough.
But this was the interesting part. I noticed right away that the plexiglass sheet on the wall was throwing reflections. I tried to keep Shadow from fixating on it but the vet was delayed and in a few minutes I was losing the fight. When the vet finally came in and had me lift Shadow on to the table it got really bad. She turned on the light and 2 things caught my and Shadows attention. The watch on the vet was old style with a glass face and she wears glasses. The watch was first, the light flashed on it and Shadow tried to snap at it(I had her muzzled). When she realized it was a person she looked up at the vets face and caught a reflection from the glasses. Things went downhill from there.
Shadow cannot cope with reflections or flashing lights. I can redirect for a few minutes but usually just long enough to get her somewhere else. Now I have a dog that a vet has labelled aggressive. The problem with her vision is the issue. She can see but the communication with her brain is delayed so she can't process the information quickly enough to understand. That is why she turns her head, she IS trying to process faster. With actual objects it is just a matter of giving her a few seconds but with a reflection or a flash I don't have a few seconds.
She cannot be the only dog with faulty wiring, and it's high time to stop labelling mentally delayed dogs as aggressive.
They said I couldn't train a deaf dog 20 years ago and I did. And I didn't have the internet or Dogster.
I need ideas, and you guys have come up with some great ones so far. I am thinking blinders like horses use. I can't get rid of reflections and flashes so I need to find a way to explain them or stop her from seeing them.
[notify]
Trigger

*Blackdog*
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 22, '12 7:57am PST 
Has she seen an actual ophthalmologist? Or neurologist?

What leads you to believe this is a neurological disorder as opposed to just a physical or behavioral one?
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Shadow

Lets GO
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 22, '12 8:11am PST 
She has been seen by a specialist, two different ones in fact as well as a veterinary behaviorist. We thought at first that she couldn't see but more in depth testing has show that the visual is there it is the response thats delayed. Its tough to test anything properly as she has very limited ability to cope so sedation is necessary. Her pupils do not dilate normally so there is a possibility that her vision is impaired but if I can keep her calm she does process so the visual is there.
Her touch command works well for a short fix but only works long enough for me to remove.
Trigger you might actually be a good source. What I'm thinking is I need to but the emphasis on her nose instead of her eyes. I basically want to stop her from responding to visual stimilus if that makes sense and teach her to rely on her nose.
[notify]

Trigger

*Blackdog*
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 22, '12 8:23am PST 
She has been seen by a specialist, two different ones in fact as well as a veterinary behaviorist. We thought at first that she couldn't see but more in depth testing has show that the visual is there it is the response thats delayed. Its tough to test anything properly as she has very limited ability to cope so sedation is necessary. Her pupils do not dilate normally so there is a possibility that her vision is impaired but if I can keep her calm she does process so the visual is there.
Her touch command works well for a short fix but only works long enough for me to remove.
Trigger you might actually be a good source. What I'm thinking is I need to but the emphasis on her nose instead of her eyes. I basically want to stop her from responding to visual stimilus if that makes sense and teach her to rely on her nose.

If her response is aggression I hesitate to suggest much. A behaviorist is probably going to be your best bet.

You could *try* to train an alternate response but if this seems to be neurological I'm not sure how successful you'll be, management may be your only way to deal with what she's experiencing.


Not being there and seeing first hand I'm curious what her threshold for light is (if she has one?). You could maybe test what her threshold is with one of those adjustable flashlights - you know the ones where you can twist the face and make the beam wider and less intense, or turn it the other direction to narrow the beam and it'll intensify?

If she goes 0-60 at the widest diameter dimmer beam then I'm not sure how you'd work it. If however her response after the delay isn't as intense as when the beam is narrowed and brighter then you may be able to train her to give her an alternate response. I say may because there is no way to tell how or why her brain is triggering her to jump to aggression. She may have zero control over her reactions.

If that's the case short of medicating her and/or managing her environment I'm not sure you have many options.
[notify]
Shadow

Lets GO
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 22, '12 8:38am PST 
I can't remember all the terminology but basically it takes her brain too long to interpret what she sees. That being the case flashes and reflections are scary because they aren't there long enough for her to get a picture of it. She is muzzled everytime we leave the yard and she will be medicated going forward. Given a choice she would run and hide. Because she can't she flips to fighting. Thats why I don't like her being labelled aggressive. She freezes, she backs away, she tries violently to escape and then she growls and snaps. I will do some experimenting with light and see what I can find out.
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Peekaboo

You can't see- me!
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 22, '12 11:14am PST 
Since the stimuli is light, have you tried using doggie sunglasses with her? That might dim things enough to keep her from reacting. You might also try a "calming cap" based on the same theory.
[notify]
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 23, '12 4:39am PST 
i would definitely try dog sunglasses, but make sure the lenses are polarized, not just colored glass/plastic.
Polarized lens will completely cut most reflective light and should work for her as well.
Good luck!
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Shadow

Lets GO
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 23, '12 7:25am PST 
I have the pet store ordering a calming cap for her and I will check on the sunglasses. Thanks guys.
Trigger I still think putting the focus on her nose will be key to moving forward. If you have any thoughts on this let me know. I found last night that regular flashlight is fine but my emergency flasher scares her, and I already know that if I hold a flashlight beam on her she attacks the flashlight. A laser pointer makes her head explode.
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Rigby

Dingbat
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 24, '12 1:55pm PST 
I would have never thought of sunglasses, but that seems like a great idea considering the issues at hand.

I've often wondered if Rigby's had some sort of neurological damage or impairment given some of her mannerisms and behavioural "quirks"

You've done such a great job with Shadow. She's a very special dog for sure. It's unfortunate that she's labelled as aggressive when it's due to certain settings. frown hug
[notify]
Shadow

Lets GO
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 24, '12 4:04pm PST 
Rigby, thanks.
It just upsets me that the same responses in human would be forgiven but because she's a dog she's aggressive. I hate that I watch her struggle to process and communicate and people just dismiss her attempts. She frantically tries to avoid and escape. This does not indicate aggression it indicates fear. I just wish people would understand. Its not her fault, thats why I want to find solutions.
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