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Monday, March 2, 2020

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi is doing fabulously well with his brother and sister. He seems so relaxed around them, and he even watches R blindly blunder into the side of his ex pen without reacting at all. There were days in our past when his reaction would have been ferocious. Seeing him becoming so much "softer" toward his siblings is wonderful.
Playing with Shyla

We have run into a new issue. It started a few weeks ago when I was clipping Hachi's nails with the help of the Runner. Surprisingly, nail clipping has always been okay with Hachi. And it got even better after I spent time making him really happy about me touching his paws by pairing each paw touch with yummy treats. 

Then, about three weeks ago, we settled in for what we thought would be routine nail clipping. But it wasn't. Suddenly, Hachi was very tense about it, to the point that he made a growling sound and reached toward my hand with his mouth. He went no further than that but his message was clear. I hoped that it was a fluke but it wasn't. It happened again this weekend. So, we muzzled Hachi for nail clipping. He actually calmed down nicely over the course of the clipping.

Then, another handling issue came up. We needed to weigh Hachi. Just like the Runner has done countless times since we met Hachi, he picked up Hachi to step on the scale with him. Uh oh - Hachi again acted very upset about it. We muzzled Hachi to weigh him just to be safe.

The big question is whether this is a bad side effect of the higher dose of Paxil that he started about a month ago or a lingering effect of his annual vet exam that scared him so much a few weeks ago. That exam involved Hachi being handled so it is analogous. We will talk with his behavioral vet tomorrow to figure out how to proceed.
Chasing Shyla
Regardless of which thing was the precipitating factor, I know that our future holds lots and lots of counterconditioning to help Hachi be okay with being handled. We have re-started it already (I did a lot of it when he was younger), and I hope that we can make a difference.

If so many other things weren't going super well, I'd be really discouraged. Instead, I feel as if we'll figure out how to handle this hurdle with the main goal being to help Hachi not be so afraid.

No matter what, he's our dog and we are his humans. It's a deep bond.


  1. Quite a roller coaster ride with Hachi, but it does sound like the underlying direction of travel is right. Best of luck with resolving this latest handling issue. Cheers, Gail.

  2. Hari OM
    I do rather think it would be the recent vet visit that has unravelled things a little - and am fully confident that you will overcome this, too. He's such a handsome boy!!! YAM xx

  3. I am voting on the vet being the cause, but who knows what goes on in their minds.. I am so happy Hachi has the two of you to work with him. bob always weighed our dogs like that, but now with bob's age and Big's weight we can't. we have to wait on the vet scales.

  4. I suspect it was the visit to the vet. Regardless of what it is, I'm sure he'll soon come around again. He's lucky to be with you.

  5. We're glad to hear all the positive things that are going well for Hachi and hope you can re-condition him to feel good about the other things too.

  6. We know you'll get to the bottom of this - all for love♥
    Love your photos, Hachi!

  7. Hachi...darlin' you must have had a momentary...flashback from your life B4 Mom and Runner.
    Love conquers all
    Hugs cecilia

  8. whatever he went through must have been so traumatic at the time as to be seared into his memory.
    it seems that it just becomes almost reflexive then. like soldiers with PTSD (above like Cecilia says.)
    it's almost as if you have a little past warrior in your life. the war's over now. but not for Hachi.
    your love and courage and wonderful patience will see him through it. look how far you've come! xo

  9. Mom is all over this and is always doing what is best for you.

    Have a woof woof day. My best to your smart mom. ♥

  10. it is so good to hear that Hachi has mellowed with respect to R - that must make you all very pleased. We bet the two situations you mentioned are related to that vet visit. Knowing how well you work with Hachi, we are sure you will be able to help him get beyond his fear.

  11. Ditto to Tammy j's words. If only they could tell us in words. Your patience and love will prevail over all the set backs and challenges.

  12. We have some behavioral issues with the furs but they are smaller. Still Very difficult to handle when unhappy. We hope you can work things out

  13. Hachi and Arty have a lot in common when it comes to handling(Albeit Arty is much smaller). Arty actually seems more comfortable wearing his muzzle.

    1. Isn't that interesting? Hachi also seemed like he relaxed when I put on the muzzle.

  14. The improvement with R has to be the best news. The other stuff can probably be helped with patience and treats.

  15. We hope this is just a minor blip but know your counter-conditioning training will go great lengths with helping Hachi be ok with these ordinary rituals. Good luck.

  16. It's so hard when we don't know what triggers certain behaviors! I'm sure you'll work through it with Hachi.
    That last shot of him is awesome!

  17. Hopefully this new behavior is indeed resulting from the vet visit. If so, it will resolve in time by itself. If not, I know you will find a way to manage it. Best of luck.

  18. So many ups and downs! I remember there was a time I could clip Luke's nails. Then all of the sudden one day he wanted nothing to do with it. He doesn't growl or try to bite, but he jumps and runs away and it's impossible to get him to hold still. Sometimes I wonder what clicks with these dogs. Luke develops new things to dislike all the time. It's a never ending challenge, isn't it? But we love them so in spite of it!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  19. Hachi is very fortunate to have come to live with you and the Runner. You work with him, while also working on your understanding of him. You seek professional help to ensure you fully understand him. And you don't give up. You will love him always. I've had difficult dogs too and I have loved them as much as those more mellow, but you always go that extra step and it's a beautiful thing to watch and read about.

  20. Hmmm, I wonder if the new med and dosage makes his tummy sore so the handling hurts, it could be that simple since everything else is going well.

  21. With dogs, you fix one thing and another always pops up. Hopefully the issues are from the medication, but you will work through them.

  22. You have the patience of a Saint! Hachi is so very lucky to have you as his human!

  23. We sure love Hachi, we're sending purrs and prayers your way!

  24. For a guess I would say the bad vet visit is the culprit.

  25. Oh Hachi, I don't likes my nails clipped eithers! Ma takes me to the vettie to have them do it. She tried the counter conditioning, butts she sucks at it! BOL! Seriously though, I just feel more comfortable with the vettie doing it than Ma. She cut my quick! I wasn't happy at all. Anyhu, I thinks you and the vettie can suss it out, and gets him okays with the handling. then you can tell Ma ☺
    Ruby ♥


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