Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Some things with Honey...

Ok so we came home and she's been awesome. Still a dog but she's been just awesome in just about everything she does. As the weather has warmed up, here in IN, we have started to have the weather fluctuations and of course the spring storms that come with it. Welllll, having come from NC with her puppy walkers, I know now that Honey maybe had to endure 3-4 storms a year there. Hmmm, we have 3-4 storms every few weeks here throughout the spring with the way the temps go up and down so quickly.

So give that, we had our first storm of the season and I'd gone to be sick with a cold/bug that was going through the house. Mike was still up and said that Honey had began to pace, pant, and then dove under the desk beneath his feet when there was a loud crack of thunder and was shaking all over. Shortly after, she had disappeared. She had come to the bedroom, waking me up by nudging me with her cold nose. I rolled over and she was trembling in fear and panting heavily. I stroked her head and had just gotten out the words it's ok, and there was a loud crack of thunder and lightening strike. I swear, I've never seen a dog jump straight up in the air as high as she did, from a straight standing position. She went straight up and landed on top of me, absolutely shaking uncontrollably. So at this point, I knew I was getting up, a 65lb dog on top of me, wasn't exactly easy sleeping you know. I got up and put her on leash and sat with her on the floor and as the storm slowly subsided, she continued to shake and pant for a good 45 minutes, curled up between my outstretched legs on the floor.

With how scared she was, I called the school and was waiting still for a response from someone, when we had our next storm, about 4-5 days after the first one. This time I was awake and coherent and I put her on leash and grabbed her bean bag bed and put her at a down stay. I'd also talked on the GDF list about it, and had received a handful of suggestions, such as doing the down stay, but being lenient with correction, playing a game with her to distract her and so forth. So I got her at a down stay and praised her for staying put. She did a lot better this time around and while she got up a couple of times and wanted to pace, she stayed where she was.

Then I received the call from Mike D. about this and he explained that I'd done the right thing, to keep it up and that with time, she'll probably get to where even though she doesn't like the storm, she'll be calm in it and it won't be a big deal. Which has been the case, as we've had a couple more since, where she'll pant and come lay right on top of my feet, but she's content to lay quietly for me. So thankfully we've worked through most of the things with the T storms.

However, now a new thing has popped up. The night before meeting with Honey's PW's, Mike and I had a date night, and we went to a Linen's N Things to pick up a bridal shower gift. Since the heat wave had hit here Everyone was running their AC units. We were back towards the back of the store at the registry kiosk, and the AC unit kicked in and it was loud and up at the ceiling. Honey immediately started panting, got antsy, wasn't concentrating on her work and while I was able to get her through the store, I corrected her several times as she was bumping me into things and into Mike as well, until I had him follow us. We walked up towards the front and has to pass the doors coming in, which work to go out too. The registers were to the right and she refused to go right to the registers. The AC unit was still going and she took me to the doors, I told her no, I corrected her and tried to get her to do an about, to go back the way she'd brought me. Next thing I know, she drug me out the doors since they were automatic and out to the sidewalk. I stayed out there as Mike paid for the stuff and at that point, I was tired of battling with her, so let it go.

Well, then we went somewhere else, I cannot remember where it was now, where she started in again, though not as bad this time. She didn't drag me around as much, but it AC unit wasn't as loud. I stayed on top of her and she worked for me, but she was still not concentrating well. Then last Saturday, we went to a Pizza King and was sitting in a booth. Again, one of those places that has the drop ceilings and all the duct work up above and a loud AC unit blowing air. She jumped up from laying down and wouldn't settle down under the table. I corrected her and told her down, which she refused to do, Corrected her again, giving a light snap on the leash and then she went down, but did so with her head between my legs, which then I realized she was shaking uncontrollably and what was happening, that the AC unit was running and I now heard it.

It's weird, as she was fine on the plane home, which is pretty much seems to me to be the same sound as what I'm hearing when the AC units run that is giving us issues. We are able to work through it, but I'm fighting her hard on it and she obviously doesn't trust me enough yet , since we are a new team, for me to say it's OK and settle down. I'm not real sure how to work her through this in a store, because it is affecting her work while guiding me and wasn't sure what the best way to work through it would be. I'm really having to stay on top of her and watching her instead of looking forward.

So I called the school yesterday and got a call back from Mike D. and he had several things to work on and try. Basically he thought that I should go back to the Linen's N Things where it started and start by walking back and forth in front of the store. He said he fully expected her to balk at going into the store and just to work on going back and forth 4-5 times. Then when she seems ok with that to work on going up to the doors and then turning around and walking away.

Once we get though that w/o fear, then to continue to do this into the store and work our way further and further back. He suggested trying to do it on a day that I didn't think the AC would be running to start out with for her to realize that ok, I'm here and nothing bad has happened. He did say too that correcting her when I did in the store probably wasn't the best thing, as I was correcting her for her response to her fear.

He explained that when we encounter a situation like this, if at all possible, realizing during a meal isn't the best time, but if at a store, to let her lead the way out of the store and remove her from the situation that she's afraid of. Then come back and work our way back into it. Allowing her to remove herself from the fear to calm down, instead of working herself more and more into a frenzy because of the fear, and then come back and re-approach the fear and hopefully working through the fear.

Sooooo, that being said, I brought up the trip to Disney too, asking if he thought we'd have issues with it being at a different location, would I probably have to do this with each location that we encountered the overhead AC units like this. He said he thought going back to the place where it started- the Linen's N Things, would probably help immensely, but also said that we needed to work through this and if we haven't worked through it and working smoothly by three weeks before the trip, that he would highly recommend leaving her at home. He said if you guys haven't been able to work through this and you take her down there, you are going to ruin your vacation, and you'll be stressed, she'll be stressed and no one will have any fun. :( Totally NOT what I wanted to hear.

I'll be honest, it really is a scary thought to go anywhere without her now. I didn't think I'd be saying that so soon, but she is such a part of me now, it truly is almost scary to think of going somewhere, especially a crowded and busy place like Disney.

So I'm a little on the worried side with this and trying to figure out how to get down there and work her on this and without interference from kids... and praying we get this worked out by July....

Anything else though, doesn't even phase her.... Kids screaming, gong through all this and so forth,. even our own AC/heater blower kicking on and off... Well see how things turn out for disney...

Ok, Im falling asleep here, so mabye I won't get those other things down to this. So Good NIght All!!!

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