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Monday, December 30, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

It is the time of year when I go through my photos from the past year to pick out favorites. Because we've had a snowy week, I picked out a few snow-filled ones of Hachi that I love to share in this post. The first one with Hachi wearing a purple sweater is making me giggle. That sweater is tiny compared to Hachi's current size. In fact, we gave it to our favorite dog trainer to gift it to another puppy who needs one.

Hachi had a great week. He had tons of fun playing with his sister every evening. They both adore chasing and wrestling with each other.
In fact, playing has been a theme. Hachi and I are taking a course on rehabilitative play. It's a program to help stressed dogs live more calmly and more light-heartedly. I did it with Shyla years ago. It was a long and slow process but I thought that it really helped her.

Hachi has learned to play far faster than Shyla did, probably because Hachi is really still a puppy in many ways. We play for short periods (10-15 min) several times a day. He's come to expect and happily anticipate our play sessions. The general idea is that we will eventually be able to go to a stressful environment (someplace with people around) and we'll play. Because play reduces stress hormones, he should be able to handle the stressors if they appear as he is playing.

As you can perhaps imagine, it will take a lot of practice before we'll be playing on the grass in a park with strangers around. Among other things, we need some warm weather to melt all the snow, and Hachi and I need to keep practicing our play. So, we are taking it a tiny step at a time with a great teacher advising us.

I am feeling hopeful that all the various things that we are doing (play, counterconditioning, and meds) will help Hachi be a less fearful dog. We are already seeing signs of that as he gets along well with so many people and dogs who he sees regularly on the trails near our house.
(Look at the size of Puppy Hachi's front paw!)

A really important aspect of all of these rehab activities is that our bond with Hachi grows. That's good for him and it's good for us. The bond is growing deeper and stronger every week.

17 comments:

  1. The expression on your face in that first photo is priceless, Hachi☺ You are such a handsome boy and with the most perfect and loving family.

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  2. You are doing such great things with Hachi. Play is so important. Luke gets restless and bored in the evenings sometimes, and he'll start whining. We break out some toys (or he'll go get his own) and after just a few minutes of playing he settles down for the rest of the night.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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  3. Hari OM
    I am certain 2020 is going to be a ripper year for you and Hachi! YAM xx

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  4. each of these photos has lightened my heart! I laughed at the expression on his face in the purple sweater. awesome shots of your beautiful boy

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  5. That first image is still my favorite! What a face.

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  6. Hachi BOL that last photo you came equipped with your own set of snowshoes.
    I love the magenta sweater too
    Hugs Cecilia

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  7. Who needs snow shoes when you've got paws that big! We hope you appreciate your selfless, loving Mom, Hachi. Happy New year from Lucy and Xena and Amy

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  8. Awww, so precious. I love your actions shots.

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

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  9. Is that a course that is online, or in person. Mom would love to take a course like that. It's great to see them playing and having so much fun together.

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    1. It's online - A Fenzi Course by Amy Cook. I think that it's offered again in April (starting April 1) - we may take it again when we have better weather for sitting outside near Hachi's triggers.

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  10. What great shots! Love how happy he is looking!

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  11. We love seeing that Hachi romp with such glee! My, he sure has some big paws!!!

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  12. It's good to hear Hachi is doing well. We love seeing him so happy in these pictures.

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  13. Hachi looks like the happiest dog in the world, or the Joker. I can't tell which.

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  14. We love hearing that Hachi is doing so good!!! They look so happy
    hugs
    Mabel & Hilda

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