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Burrito Wrangling #25

Burrito Wrangling Update # 25: So the vet behaviorist visit was brilliant. Very informative and worth every cent. We had a ~2 hour consult with both dogs together, where we discussed all of Murph's problem behaviors, their triggers and methods for management. We got a binder with extensive notes about each subject and a step by step training protocol that we will implement with the dogs at all times. I have to send her weekly reports of our progress and we've scheduled a follow up appointment at the end of March. Only +R methods were recommended, as all other methods are not considered relevant or useful to vets and scientists that study behavior. Considering the nature of our neighborhood (loads of off leash dogs) Dr. Haug said that I should not walk Murphy anymore. For exercise, she liked the idea of getting the Burritos into weight pulling and setting up an agility course in the back yard. She also said that I should be very wary and careful at the dog park (with Mila) because lots of dogs develop reactive behaviors from unpleasant interactions with jerkface anti-hippo dogs (Mila was actually bitten two days ago by some sort of large shepherd mix, and a few weeks ago by a mean greyhound ). Murph's getting a new balance of medication and an anti-anxiety med to give as needed (e.g., thunderstorms). Our first order of business is to work on "down" with Murph and teach both of them some manners (anti-jumping, personal space etc). The most important skill I'll be teaching them is calmness using operant counter-conditioning. I'll get into this in a different post, but it effectively teaches them to do a different behavior when stressed instead of freaking out. We practiced some body blocking techniques with a fake stuffed dog (Murph went ballistic) and I got some help learning how to control his space (I'm small so it's a challenge) and with the timing of treat delivery. We covered a LOT and I'll update you all as I work on each specific thing. Overall it was amazing and I would 100% recommend the cost if your dog shows even mild behavioral issues. #burritowrangling It was also really nice to hear that all of Kara's (Train Without Pain) training suggestions were dead on!

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