|Barked: Wed Nov 28, '12 2:21pm PST |
|It's great that Bella did so well. I can't recall where you are located so I can't double check the laws for you, so be certain that you know the in training laws. I'm sure you know this already, but it's important to know and follow the laws, and to always maintain control of your pup -- this means leaving if Bella (or you) is having a bad day. Of course, based on how well she did, it really doesn't sound like that'll be a problem.
For the problem with the harness, it sounds to me like it's not properly adjusted. Assuming you have the correct size (which if you're not certain, you can take it back to where you got it and ask for assistance there), you can play around with the fitting to see if you can get it to work a little better. It's hard to say what the problem is without seeing it in person, but I most often see them too loose on dogs. You might also consider that it's just the wrong kind of harness for Bella (it happens), and so you might try a different kind. There's a lot of them on the market. I know Bella is small, but some brands of headcollars might also work for her, such as the Comfort Trainer.
While a harness is a great training tool, you might consider walking her on a non-training harness (one that cannot put pressure on her throat) and using a different method to reinforce her heel. Clicker training and the turning around method are both really great ways to do it. I believe it is Asher who has a really great video for teaching heel with a clicker on her page.
About her itching, I think that whatever flea control method you're using is not adequate. If you're using Frontline (or a related product), you should know that those can decrease in effeciency because the fleas in a specific area can become partially immune to it. Try changing to a different product. For example, if you're using Frontline, switch to Advantage. You might try using one of the pill methods, such as Comfortis. But whatever method you use, make sure that you are using it as directed.
I would recommend that you take her to the vet if you haven't already to confirm that it is in fact a flea allergy. If it were a food allergy, obviously treating for fleas isn't going to help. You might talk to the vet about putting her on Zyrtec, if she's not already. You also need to make sure that she isn't stress scratching, which if she is, you would need to either have her evaluated by a trainer/behaviorist or rethink her becoming a service dog.
One more recommendation is to go to My Itchy Dog. They are a company that specializes in natural treatment for, you guessed it, itchy dogs. The people I know who use their products absolutely rave about them, and they have things for every reason to be itchy.
You mentioned about Bella wearing PJs. While I personally don't think wearing cutesie clothes is appropriate, there are those who will disagree with me. Just be prepared to have more access challenges because of it -- or maybe not. Who knows. One thing I would recommend is K9 Top Coat's bodysuit instead of PJs. It's lightweight and looks more professional. If someone asks why she is wearing one, you could always say it's to reduce allergens or something to that effect.
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