Autumn is truly upon us, and we have only a little bit longer before our first real snow.
Autumn always brings a sense of urgency that we'd better seize its short days before winter takes over.
For that reason, we've been getting out to enjoy it, and Hachi has been
going places where there are other people on the trails. That's a novelty for him because our home trails are empty.
Over the course of each outing, he's gotten slightly less afraid of strangers with repetition but it's sad to see how
scared he is. His head swivels from side to side hypervigilantly watching for incoming people. He might bark like a big tough dog when he sees a stranger but it's totally based
in fear. If we move him far enough away from a stranger, he can calm down. We do our engage/disengage game, where he looks at the stranger (the "engage" part) and then at us ("disengage") for a treat.
I am now completely convinced that his fear isn't being sufficiently treated by meds yet. The adjustments to his meds must happen so slowly that it's taking a long time to get where we need to be. I don't think that our behavior modification training will help much until he's less anxious.
The amazing thing is how fast he recovers from each episode of fear over seeing strangers. I took this photo of him shortly after two off-leash dogs had galloped straight up to us as Hachi and I wandered around well away from the trails (he was on-leash). It was undoubtedly scary for him but he calmed down pretty quickly.
He and I have a tradition of a sweet morning greeting. Hachi is so excited to see me when he comes out of his crate, wiggling his whole body up against me asking for pats. If I stop patting, he leans into me and wiggles again. It's such an uplifting way to start my day. I love our little guy.
All I can say is to remember how you once dispared in similar fashion for darling Shyla... the future has every reason to be bright for handsome Hachi! YAM xx
i enjoy that same morning greeting from Big Boy, and each time we leave and come home we get that same greeting Hachi gives you in the morning. it hurts my heart he is so fearful of people.ReplyDelete
So sad that he's so fearful. I haven't read back in your posts but assume he was mistreated at one point in his life. Between the conditioning and the meds, I hope he comes to realize that you're there for him, and be less fearful.ReplyDelete
He was born on city streets. His mom had to care for a litter out there on her own. Then, all of them were rescued. They were transported hundreds of miles to a rescue near us. All of that probably means that Hachi felt terrible stress as his brain was developing. It's know that too much cortisol (stress hormone) during brain development leads to extreme anxiety later. We didn't know all of that when we adopted him.Delete
Can you work with his anxiety with herbs or something like composure by Vetriscience? Dogs Naturally magazine has a great article that you might find helpful.ReplyDelete
Thanks! We have a behavioral vet for Hachi due to his really extreme anxiety. I will ask her if she thinks that it's okay to add in those herbs.Delete
Not many people would be willing to continue to work this long with such a difficult dog, especially one that upset the peaceful routine you enjoyed. I do hope the hard work pays off for you and the pack.ReplyDelete
I think that it will pay off, eventually. I remember how long it took for Shyla to relax, and that helps me keep hope for Hachi.Delete
You're going to get there, Hachi, because you have peeps that work hard with you and they adore you. The Aspen's golden leaves again the blue sky is just stunning!ReplyDelete
Awww, Hachi is most photogenic. I know you're working very hard on this fear issues and with time I think you'll get him through this.ReplyDelete
Autumn is amazing in your neck of the woods.
Have a fabulous day and week. Scritches to the pups. ♥
What beautiful blue skies and golden aspen.ReplyDelete
Maybe the meds are at least helping Hachi recover quicker.
Sweet Hachi, we're sending purrs and prayers and POTP for no more anxiety for you lovely pup!ReplyDelete
He is so sure of your love, and I am equally sure that in time his stress and anxiety will go away. XXX Enjoy your last days of warmer weather before the real cold arrives.ReplyDelete
Those wiggle moments are a great way to start any day. Keep up the good work with this boy-he's totally worth it.ReplyDelete
He is such a handsome guy. We're sure there'll be a time when you can say 'do you remember when Hachi was so fearful?'.....ReplyDelete
He and Luke have so much in common. The fears, the quick recovery, the sweetness and lovableness. A family that won't give up on them. ♥ReplyDelete
Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets
You are doing amazing with himReplyDelete
Hachi is so fortunate that you are the ones who adopted him.ReplyDelete
He's a good boy. What happened to him in his past is causing his difficulties, but keep on working on it. He will get better.ReplyDelete
Yes, Hachi is so handsome and such a purrfect face!ReplyDelete
I totally feel your pain when you're talking about how the set backs are upsetting. I feel that way, too when I work with my dogs. Every incident, no matter how small, I take personally. It's so hard when you're dealing with behavioral issues. I can't tell you how many times I spent the night up crying and worrying that Phoenix would never be okay.ReplyDelete
One piece of advice my training mentor gave me was to focus on the recovery versus the reaction. Like you said, Hachi recovers quickly, which is awesome and does show that the meds are working, just probably not as much as you hoped. (((hugs)))
Hachi is such a cutie. We have our paws crossed that he will get better in time. We know it won't be easy but eventually we sure hope he gets better.ReplyDelete
I suspect your behavioral modification techniques are, in fact, working. The rapid recovery is a testament to both the meds and the behavioral mod work. If it's any consolation, I think you're progressing twice as fast as Habi and I did. As you know from Shyla and from the last several months of Life With Hachi: it's a roller-coaster. Celebrate those recoveries. You're doing well with your pup.ReplyDelete
Chris from Boise