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Monday, July 22, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

I spent some time in the meadow flowers with Hachi this week.
He is such a sweetie when we spend our special time outside together.

We played the game of me tossing him treats to snarf out of the air. He hadn't learned that trick yet. My camera told me why - he closed his eyes as the treat came toward him.

It was so cool to see him learn how to do it within one photo session. He stopped closing his eyes and started tracking the treat instead.

Then, for the first time in his life, he snarfed his a treat out of the air.

In addition to the silly trick of snarfing treats, Hachi continued improving when he saw strangers when out and about.

He did well with R outdoors when wearing his muzzle. They took nice walks side-by-side and interacted nicely. However, he did not do well with interacting with R inside the house. Hachi was always wearing his muzzle during these interactions so there was no physical harm done. However, my spirits were damaged by these skirmishes.

Like so many other people coping with a damaged dog, our weeks will not always be filled with rainbows and unicorns. We will keep trying to figure out how to better rehabilitate Hachi. Despite his issues, he can be a heart-melting sweetie.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Yay for you for snarfing treats, Hachi!

  2. I laughed hard and long at the closed eyes. that is why I can't play softball and could not in school, always closed my eyes. I was not as smart as Hachi, I never did learn to keep my eyes open. he is so handsome and smart.. wild clapping on the snarfed treat. good dog Hachi

  3. What a wonderful snarf capture! We hope this week is filled with more baby steps forward!

  4. What a great series of pictures watching Hachi learn to catch a treat. We are keeping our paws crossed for all of you that one day Hachi and R can live together in harmony.

  5. Your photos captured the snarf lesson perfectly! Obi can snatch even wildly mis-aimed treats. Rowan ducks away. I bet she closes her eyes, then doesn't like to be hit in the face.

    Could you share the behavioral modification methods you're using to help Hachi interact well indoors with R?

    As you say, it's a long haul, and too often feels like one step forward, two steps back. I well remember with Habi the frustration that she was her own worst enemy. But over time, she was able (with meds and behavioral mod) to relax and not feel like she had to defend herself from all conceivable threats. As you know, we did NOT have the intra-house dog-dog aggression that Hachi exhibits, so you're dealing with a more difficult and even more emotionally fraught situation.

    Glad that outdoors is working, and that Hachi's getting more comfortable with seeing other people. You ARE making progress, and baby steps are to be celebrated. My hope is that he becomes less reactive to other things, he will become less aggressive to R. With all the work you're putting in, I have confidence in the first part. The second remains to be seen, and your priority in keeping R and Shyla safe is IMHO correct.

    One day (hour, minute) at a time. Celebrate the baby steps. They do add up.

    Big hugs from hot Boise!

    Chris from Boise

    1. Hi Chris - We started with counterconditioning Hachi to R appearing about 20' away. R would appear (on leash), and Hachi would get treats for as long as he was in sight. R would disappear, and the treats stopped. Next, we changed that to engage/disengage when R appeared. Hachi needed to look at R and then look away to get a treat. Now, we've added the muzzle for some of the engage/disengage work.

      We are a little confused. Hachi is completely fine when R is visible on the other side of his ex pen and no training is underway. He seems fine without the muzzle when both are on leashes inside the house. Most recently, the muzzle has been added to the equation and things are not fine. It's hard to tease apart the various factors. Hachi's meds have been increased - could they be adding stress and aggression? Is the muzzle adding stress and aggression? Or, is Hachi's maturation adding aggression? My guess right now is the muzzle is increasing his aggression, which just stinks because I've worked for many months trying to get us to the point that it can help with the dogs being together.

      Does that answer your question? You are right about the inter-pet aggression being the single worst factor. It's the factor that can make me feel like it is hopeless... but I still hold out a glimmer of hope and I'm trying to be patient.

    2. Yes, thanks. So many strands to tease out. Patience is really, really hard to maintain. We stand with you no matter which way this goes.

  6. Awww, so adorable and so photogenic. Great actions shots.

    Sorry about the muzzle that is needed so often. So disheartening. I know you're doing everything in your power.

    Have a fabulous day and week. Scritches to the pups. ♥

  7. I would be closing my eyes,too!

  8. Great job, Hachi!!! You picked that up in no time. Love seeing the treat coming at you and your eyes closed. We love the great action shots that you shared. Have a wonderful day and have fun.
    World of Animals

  9. I am still hopeful that time will conquer that bit of the Hachi challenge. He sure is a cutie.

  10. time, that might seem to creep so slowly, is surely showing Hachi can be so calm and happy, I am sure it will all get better, you work so hard with each one over their problems, this hurdle will hopefully get knocked down and all will be well.

  11. WTG Hachi I give that catch an A+++++++++++++. Hachi you are such an eager learner I do hope and pray
    that before long you can be with R w/o you muzzle. You and Shyla do ok right?
    Hugs Cecilia

    1. Yes, Shyla and Hachi do okay. Shyla avoids him indoors but they play with huge enthusiasm when outdoors.

  12. Hari OM
    Keep holding onto these positives, they really will help to balance those darker moments. YAM xx

  13. I can imagine how hard it is to see backsliding - if that's even the right word - but I hope the improvement will continue and you will again have peace in your land.

  14. The good moments help you survive the bad ones. Keep on working with him. It will happen eventually.

  15. I wonder if it is territorial with Hachi. Seems to be inside. Is he trying to be top dog? Looks like he'll be muzzled for awhile, but there are worse things. Keep workin' on it.

  16. Smart dog! And marvelous photos of his learning path.

    It sounds like things are improving gradually, even with a step back every so often. Your love and caring for this boy is so evident.

  17. Hi Hachi, I have to keep remembering to keep my eyes open, too, to catch treats. It's kinda scary to see something flying at your face. xox Xena

  18. Oh Hachi, I, too, cannot catch a treatie hardly evers!!! And I keeps my eyes open! BOL!!!! At least you are gettin' betters. Sorry R and Hachi are havin' troubles inside. I have troubles with doggies if they gets in my space, butts are more okay with some distance and lots of room. Anyhu, I am sure you have had lots of pawfessional advice that will help you figure out how to let everyone live their best life. I gots confidence!
    Ruby ♥

  19. He is a quick learner, that's for sure! If only it could be so easy for him to learn some of the things you need him to. At least you are making progress, and we hope you can focus on that most of the time. ♥
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  20. Good job Hachi for learning to catch that treat!
    Bit by bit,, I am hoping things get better for Hachi and R.

  21. I love it when simple tricks like treat snarfy show progress. It's always a crap shoot with a couple of same sex pets in the house-When I brought another OES male home who was also a rescue, we had similar encounters. Hopefully H will positively respond to all the love and training you are providing him. Don't give up-he's very worth it.


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