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Monday, September 16, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

This week was so much better for Hachi. We've returned to a routine that he knows and is comfortable with. We met with his behavioral vet. Over the next few weeks, we'll slowly adjust his meds - adding another short acting anti-anxiety drug and increasing his Prozac.

To be perfectly honest, I am getting a little tired of the "slow and gradual" approach but I understand why we must do it. Any drug that affects his brain can have paradoxical effects that are the opposite of what we are aiming for. So, slow and steady is the safest approach. I am trying to remain patient.

From when we first met Hachi, he's been leery of water. That's the complete opposite of our Labs who adore swimming like nothing else. During the first swimming outing that Hachi participated in, he got very carried away with the Labraduo's enthusiasm for leaping into the water. As Shyla took a leap, Hachi momentarily lost his mind and followed her.

He did an amazingly high leap.

He landed in the water, and he swam back to shore with Shyla watching over him. He swam more smoothly than any of our previous puppies on their first swims.
The problem was that he scared himself badly. The water must have totally shocked him. After that, he was terrified of the water. He never jumped into the water, swam, or even waded again all summer long! I feel badly for the little guy - he is so prone to fear that he can cannot enjoy a cool swim.

I've become completely convinced that 99% of his issues are caused by fear. He is afraid of so many things - and he often deals with his fear by behaving aggressively toward the Duo. We saw many examples of that while we were in the high mountains. If, for example, a stranger went by us who behaved in a way that scared Hachi, he responded with a cheap snarl at one of the other dogs. Seeing that time and time again told me that addressing his fears may solve his other issues.

I really hope that we can help him with his fear.


  1. omg he can even walk on the water... wow!!!

  2. what a fantastic leap, so sorry it fed his fears...

  3. Hari Om
    ...though to be fair, not every dog is a water dog. My angel Jade was the latter. Even puddles were to be avoided at all times. Who knew how deep those suckers might be??! True, your boy does have a fair few issues, it seems, but being in water may not actually be one of them. He just prefers to have all four paws on the Lord's firm earth!!! (I know a fair few humans who fall into that bracket too.) YAM xx
    ...that sounded preachy - not meant to be. xxxoooxxx

  4. We sure hope those fears can lessen so that sweet boy can find his happy.

  5. Poor boy. I hope, with time and medication, he'll find a way to overcome his fears.

  6. Our Little Bit hated to swim. She would, but she hated the water. We have a boat and I lost count of how many times she fell in. She would swing to the bank and climb out. Some dogs just don't care for the water.

    Bless you for all the hard work you do to help Hachi cope.

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

  7. Shyla you are the Ester Williams of the K9 world...such good form!
    Oh Hachi...bless your heart...sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith well done.
    Hugs cecilia

  8. Hachi, no matter how big your fears are, you are SO loved.Maybe a tiny paddling pool will help you with what scares you about water, and if your feet can be on the bottom it might be all OK for you. Shyla will be there to hold your hand all the way.

  9. We're glad to here Hachi had a good week. It's too bad he scared himself by leaping into the water. When you look at how far Shyla has come you know Hachi has a chance too. To be honest having two dogs that need such special handling can be draining on the humans involved so I understand how you feel.

  10. You did it with Shyla's fears, I know you can do it with Hachi! All it takes is some time, patience and understanding. can be a lot of fun! We are rooting you on KB!!

  11. Slow and steady is frustrating; but it is the way to go. At eight, when excited, but frustrated, Roxy will snarl and attack one of the other dogs. However, she will respond to a sharp NO. It seems to be an instant reaction. Hope to see Hachi loving water in the future.

  12. At least dealing with fears is something you have some experience with. We're glad you had a better week. Hachi does sound a lot like Luke. Luke liked swimming at first, but then for no apparent reason he decided he didn't. I don't really know what happened, it wasn't obvious like it was with poor Hachi. They are very sensitive souls, that's for sure. Hang in there!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  13. You did a fantastic leap but your face doesn't look too happy, Hachi. We bet, with time and patience and training (easier said than done) you're going to come around.

  14. I know the road you are on, very well. I've traveled it with more than one dog, and I never knew where the journey was going to take us - But despite the not so good days, you keep going because of your love and dedication. I truly admire you for pushing forward and not letting go of that hope. Some days, it's all you have. It can be a lonely time - But I hope knowing that there ARE many like me cheering you and Hachi on, and hoping for your success will get you through those times.

  15. He must have had some major trauma in those early weeks of his life that have made him so fearful. Hopefully he will get better with time. Patience and going slow is very hard, but pays off.

  16. Fear is a horrible condition for both dogs and peeps. We've got our paws crossed slow and patient help him overcome some of his.

  17. Paws crossed for you and Hachi. As they say, slow and steady!
    Mabel & Hilda

  18. Poor guy. Lee won't swim either and she is a fearful dog.

  19. I loved your sentence "Hachi momentarily lost his mind and ...". Alas, the results were not good.

    Fear is such a powerful emotion. Really glad you're using meds to help him stabilize enough that counter-conditioning has a chance. Hang in there - the 'slow and steady' approach is very hard to maintain. You're in an ultra-marathon. As you well know, one itty-bitty baby step at a time - celebrate the forward steps and don't beat yourself up about the backward leaps.

    Sending best wishes to you all -
    Chris from Boise


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