Been out for the count with headaches, and Nobu has been down for a week or so with vomiting and diarrhea after ingesting quite a large quantity of lavender garden fertilizer bitten open courtesy of master Sherlock. After days of cleaning lakes of greyish foul poop and vomit from the couch, the futon, the hallways upstairs and downstairs, the sitting room floors and then some, two visits to the vet for an IV drip and meds, finally everyone slowly back to normal...meanwhile, Sherlock has made it to the throne of thrones, the armchair, which Claire has abandoned in the heat in favor of the cooler wooden floor.
I'm so pleased with my new book, Fired Up Frantic and Freaked Out by Laura VanArendonk Baugh, which seems to be written especially with Sherlock in mind, and is, as the author says, "a guideline for practical application, a sort of follow-along-at-home resource" for "dogs which are basically over-aroused for one reason or another - aggression, fear, fear-aggression, joy, or just plain over-stimulated".
"Inside the agitated dog, emotion and stress (whether good or bad) have taken over and are inhibiting some cognitive functions of the brain." The book aims to "teach the dog how to interrupt and manage his own arousal". Excellent, and of course always with positive delicious non-invasive no-walloping methods.
I haven't started from scratch which requires a mat, and I have to go buy one from the 100 yen shop, BUT, I realized that I had to get between Sherlock and the door, the moment he goes crazy, and reel back to begin in the kitchen where he's calm and able to sit. He's pretty proficient at sit, so I back down the hall from the kitchen toward the door, stopping every few paces for a relaxed moment of sit which he will offer himself as I hold up a treat, click for good and then slowly, gently, calmly, move closer to the door again, stopping on the doormat. There I just turn my back to him and then face him again, clicking for staying in the sit, then turn and a hand on the leash and back to face him, then touch my walkies waist pouch. Tiny steps, then calmly clip on my pouch, slip on sandals for extra speed, and again, after we've put on his leash, I again back down the stairwell between him and the gate, finally offering a tiny wee walkie together to the local park as the biggest reward for being able to control his urge to bark wildly. If he's alone with me it works a dream :)
Unfortunately with the happy energy of three dogs it goes a little haywire, so I'm going to keep working on it throughout the day just him and me over the next few weeks. Best book in the world!
Photos by Lelantos