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Monday, December 9, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

A good week! No bad outbursts, and Hachi even made it through a day of having a couple of workers in the house all day. He played nicely with Shyla every evening, and he had no outbursts at R.

Yes, a good week.

Perhaps we are getting our heads above water.

I've been working on counterconditioning with Hachi, primarily focusing on his fear of things touching his body. Back in October, I started introducing him to a winter coat by pairing the appearance of the coat with treats. I'd show him the coat, and I'd give him treats the entire time that it was within sight. I gradually lifted the coat higher, like I'd do if I were about to put it over his shoulders. Then, very very gradually, I let the coat touch him.  Eventually, I draped it over his torso. And now, 10 weeks later, I can put the coat on Hachi and close the velcro tabs that keep it on.  He does not look at all scared when I do it. You can judge in the video.

I made a video so that you can see the process. I led off with counterconditioning to a harness that he's afraid of - I started counterconditioning to that just 3 days ago. The process with the harness is exactly how I started working on the coat 10 weeks ago so it helps you see how far we've come with the coat. So that you can see where that simple work is going, I next show you our work today with the coat. That included him wearing it outdoors and playing with it on.

Now that someone taught me how to countercondition with emphasis on the details of the process - I see how well it works. It takes a lot of patience but it's worth it.


  1. oh this two photos are super!!! love the video how amazing to see how he looks at you... super!!!

  2. Good boy, Hachi! Aren't coats just the bestest when it's cold out! Those first 2 pictures look like you are drowning in your beautiful snow☺

  3. so happy you had a Hachi good week and he looks so sweet in his coat. your videos teach us so much. and in all that snow he sure needs the coat.... I can't belive you are out in the snow with no big coat. I am freezing watching you

  4. What a great week and I loved the video. Oh the patience you have to have to do things the right way. Well done.

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

  5. Hachi is lucky to have someone as patient as you are with him. I'm so glad to see he is making such good progress.

  6. Thank you! That was really interesting!

    Here's hoping that Hachi continues to make great progress.

  7. Your patience certainly paid off. Hachi clearly does not mind wearing the coat. Especially important with your cold weather. Another success for both of you.

  8. Way to go Hachi! We're happy to hear you had a good week and have learned that wearing a coat isn't so bad.

  9. Hachi and KB can you hear me squealing with jubilation? Bless both your hearts...time and TLC.
    OMDs Hachi stay by the phone I'm pretty sure Dog Fancy magazine will be calling you to do a cover very soon.
    That a perfect color coat for your furs.
    Angel Madi loved string toys in her younger years.
    Hugs Cecilia

  10. What a wonderful job you are doing with him and how fun to watch his progress!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. That's one pawsome process! Well done. Can't believe the depth of snow you have!😲

  12. You have the patience of a saint. And the results are proof that what you are doing works. Kudo's on the great job you are doing with Hachi. I bet this seemed like an early Christmas present.

  13. Good for you Hachi, we're all proud of you. Maybe all of that snow romping is helping calm the attitude too.

  14. Wow, that problem on top of all the other things, you really do have your hands full, but you and Hatchi are doing great.

    1. I do know from working with Shyla that there can be a "cascade effect" (my term) where each scary thing gets easier to countercondition - it's sort of like they start to be less worried in general so they can relearn that scary things are okay faster. I predict that learning that the harness is okay will be faster than the coat was. That is what makes this all seem possible.

  15. Great job by both of you! That success has to feel so good! ♥
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  16. Lots of work and trial play and there he is, all coated up and happy.

  17. Hooray for Hachi. You have done a great job with him

  18. OMD, that is FABulous!!! I growl at Ma when she puts the coat on me ~ butts after it's on, I don't care. Butts I gots to let her know I don't likes it ☺.
    I gots to give you guys a WHOOOT WHOOOOOT!
    Ruby ♥

  19. Hari OM

  20. Hachi seems to have embraced the deep snow after all :)
    I've never seen a toy-on-a-string used for dogs - is that something you came up with? Hachi is acting very cat-like!
    I've done similar desensitizing (may not be the right term) with horses, and gosh, taking a little time and patience to fix something is SO worthwhile! Everybody is happier. Go Hachi!

  21. You and Hachi are doing great! Thanks for sharing the "how" of counter-conditioning - excellent video. Love the first photo!

    Chris from Boise

  22. Great video!! Thanks for sharing on the counter conditioning technique
    Mabel & Hilda


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